Nederburg's Hannes van Rensburg earns major industry award

Sunday, 2 December, 2012
Group manager of Nederburg Wine Farms, Hannes van Rensburg, has been honoured by the South African Society for Enology and Viticulture (SASEV). An industry veteran of almost 40 years, he has been awarded SASEV's highly prestigious Medal of Merit for 2012 for his exceptional contribution to the country's wine industry, as well as the organisation itself.
SASEV is an internationally respected industry body that provides a forum for the exchange of leading scientific research and information amongst all South African wine and grape producers.

Van Rensburg has been active in advancing local viticultural best practice, environmentally sustainable vineyard management policies and conservation of indigenous habitat in and among the vineyards. He was closely involved in the establishment of South Africa's internationally praised Integrated Production of Wine (IPW), the set of sustainability principles launched in 1998 and adopted by virtually all growers today. Nederburg formed part of the pilot programme developed ahead of the IPW industry-wide roll-out.

Under his management, Nederburg also earned its Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) membership, with the winery's own farms, as well as a farm of a major supplier audited to earn the certification. He has overseen the introduction of many lesser-known grape varietals to Nederburg's vineyards, as well as viticultural techniques to accommodate climate change, such as controlling the ambient temperatures around grape bunches.

A former SASEV president, he was instrumental in arranging SASEV's first international congress in 1995. He is also a past recipient of the Bordeaux Vigneron's honorary Order of the Knight for his role in building awareness of Cape viticulture amongst French vignerons.

He remains an active member of various industry organisations and serves as an examiner to Cape Winemaster (CWM) students and sometimes runs refresher courses in viticulture for them.

Van Rensburg, a founder member and past chairman of the Western Cape Viticultural Discussion Group, is currently the chairman of both the Winetech Plant Protection Committee and the Vine Improvement Board, as well as a director of Plant SA.

He is also a registered member of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.

Previously a researcher at Nietvoorbij, he joined Nederburg as a viticulturist in 1978. During his tenure, he has seen the winery accelerate its prize-winning reputation, with current cellar master Razvan Macici amassing a trove of awards since taking up his position in 2001.  This year, Macici took the title of Diners Club Winemaker of the Year, while the winery was ranked the most successful South African Wine Producer at the International Wine & Sprit Competition in London.