Ian Naudé’s winemaking career was a matter of happenstance. His father’s dairy farm included some vineyards, and to put them to use he began as an apprentice winemaker. It was not long before he consecrated his career to winemaking, managing, despite South Africa’s stigma of apartheid, to secure positions throughout the world’s viticulture areas. For a decade, he worked harvests in France, Germany, Italy, Israel, and the United States, including a few years in Sonoma with Robert Young and in the Columbia Valley with Hogue Cellars. Taking advantage of opposing seasons, he returned periodically to work harvests in South Africa.
In the mid 1990s, he joined Savanah Wines near Paarl under the respected Nico Vermeulen. In 1998 he was appointed winemaker at Linton Park Winery near Wellington, the former historic Slangrivier estate established in 1699, which had changed hands in 1995. It was there Naudé hit his stride and put Linton Park wines on the map. In 2001 he did the same for Dornier Winery in Stellenbosch, putting both the structurally dramatic winery and wines together from inception. Dornier’s flagship Donatus blends cast Naudé’s passion and skill in blending into the limelight. This and his reputation for effectively launching new winery projects led him to set out on his own winery, Adoro Wines.