Veritas victors reveal secrets to success

Friday, 26 October, 2012
Two giants on the South African winescape dominated the medal harvest during this year’s Veritas Awards
KWV came out tops for the second consecutive year with five double gold medals for their wines, followed closely by Nederburg with four double golds.  Six other South African wine cellars did exceptionally well in their quest for double gold medals and secured, together with KWV and Nederburg, almost half of the 58 double gold medals awarded.

KWV‘s wide offering of wines and brandies enable them to put forward a variety of quality products for SA’s most reputable wine and brandy competition and this year they were rewarded with the five double gold and seven gold medals, as well as two double golds for their brandy entries.  “It is challenging from a winemaking point of view to maintain quality across such a diverse range,” says Richard Rowe, chief wine maker at KWV.  “It is important to ensure we produce wines and brandies of the appropriate style. To this end we taste regularly, particularly international wines, with emphasis on challenging the styles we produce and to explore styles which we would not normally consider.”

The coveted Veritas double gold sticker will adorn the following KWV stars: The Mentors Pinotage 2010, The Mentor Shiraz 2010, 1933 White Jerepigo Limited Edition, 1969 Hanepoot Jerepigo and a non-vintage Classic Collection Cape Tawny. “I am a great believer in wine competitions and believe they fulfil an important role in realizing wine quality potential, evolving styles, and generally improving wine quality,” says Rowe.

Nederburg came in close second with no less than 4 double gold medals and an astonishing 12 gold medals.  This year’s wines worthy of double gold status: the Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve NLH 2010, a Private Bin Edelkeur Chenin Blanc NLH 2008, a Private Bin Edelkeur Chenin Blanc 2004 and the Private Bin R181 Merlot 2007.

“We enter wines that reflect our diversity of offerings, from limited-edition micro- cuveés and collector’s items to those for more regular enjoyment, across the stylistic spectrum to show that we apply the same level of attention to whatever we make,” says Razvan Macici, cellar master at Nederburg, regarding their process of entering their wines for Veritas.  “Although we don’t make wines simply to win awards but to please wine lovers; we are naturally delighted to earn the affirmation for our quality via a Veritas medal.

“A Veritas double gold helps set the industry standards of excellence and raises the bar for the other wines who aspire to be world class,” says Gary Jordan, owner of the Jordan Wine Estate outside Stellenbosch that bagged a trio of double gold medals for their Nine Yards Chardonnay 2011, the Jordan Chardonnay 2010 and the Cobblers Hill 2008. “When one looks at the Veritas results, Jordan Wine Estate was the highest rated wine estate (according to the legal definition of the term) and the honour of three Veritas double gold medals affirms that our decision to no longer buy in grapes was a sound one.”

Five other wineries each received two double gold medals:

Boplaas Family Vineyards has become synonym with exceptional port.  A case in point is the duo of double gold medals for the 2009 Cape Vintage Reserve and the 2010 Cape Vintage Reserve and an additional 3 gold medals.  “These wines/ports were crafted according to traditional Portuguese methods and with Portuguese cultivars,” says Margaux Nel, Boplaas wine maker.  “Our dedication to the style, the pursuit of perfection, and using the correct cultivar and artisanal methods to produce a Cape Port that will last decades have given Boplaas the edge where it comes to the production of port.”

The climate and unique terroir of SA’s highest altitude cellar, Cederberg Private Cellar, evidently give their red wines a competitive edge.  Double gold medals for their Five Generations Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 and the Shiraz 2010 are two welcome feathers in cellar master Dawid Nieuwoudt’s cap. “Our soils consist of mainly red slate and decomposed gravel which produces red grapes of distinct concentration,” he says. “The cooler climate allows our grapes to ripen slowly and evenly and the red grapes hang up to 18 days longer with the last harvest taking place more or less mid-April every year.” They also earned two gold medals.

Stellenbosch based Guardian Peak won two double golds for their Guardian Peak Lapa Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 and the Guardian Peak SMG 2010 and one gold medal. “The Guardian Peak Lapa Cabernet Sauvignon is our flagship,” says Philip van Staden, wine maker.  “While it shows elegant accessibility, it is also powerful with great structure. The Guardian Peak SMG is a blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Grenache where the different components of the wine show excellent finesse in their integration.”

Simonsig won two double golds for a red as well as a white wine in their range of more than 20 wines. “The success of our Redhill Pinotage 2009 and the Sunbird Sauvignon Blanc 2012 is based on hard work, dedication and above all team work,” says wine maker Debbie Thompson. No less than 7 gold medals augment their 2012 achievement.

According to Francois van Niekerk, wine maker at the Windmeul Cellar, the recipe for their success, embodied in the double gold medals for their Reserve Pinotage 2011 and the Sauvignon Blanc 2012, is the focused attention that each cultivar receives – both in the vineyard and the cellar – at exactly the opportune time. Two gold medals complement their winnings.

In the category for brandy it was KWV and Van Ryn’s that earned the most double gold medals from amongst 33 standard, vintage and pot still entries.

“We are very pleased to have won 2 double gold and 2 gold medals, as well as 2 silver and a bronze medal for the seven brandies we entered,” says Pieter de Bod, Manager: Spirits at KWV. “The two double gold winners, the 15 and 20 year olds, are completely new blends and we’ve added some innovation in creating these superb brandies. They are very soft on the palate but still have the nice flavours of the old distillates.”

Van Ryn’s Distillery Manager, Marlene Bester, admits that it is an immense honour to receive acknowledgement for their outstanding brandies in South Africa. “Our brandies are internationally recognised, but Veritas gives us an opportunity to highlight their excellence at home,” she says. Brandy lovers should be on the lookout for the Van Ryn’s 10 and 15 year old brandies to taste double gold status. They also won two gold medals for other entries.

For the full results visit the website where a search facility can provide you with Veritas results since the inception of the competition more than 20 years ago.   Alternatively you can contact Elsabé Ferreira at tel 021 863 1599 or email  

Caption to the image

Back L to r: Philip van Staden (Guardian Peak) David Nieuwoudt (Cederberg) Francois van Niekerk (Windmeul) Charles Hopkins (SANWSA chairperson) Wilhelm Pienaar (Nederburg) Brendan Butler (Jordan) Front L to r: Richard Rowe (KWV) Margaux Nel (Boplaas) Francois Malan (Simonsig)


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The Victors
The Victors

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