The Kakamas team – Stefan Steenkamp, George Kruger, Johan Ehlers of Agri Expo, Marco Pentz and Ockert Vermeulen.

Hosting this year’s SA National Young Wine Show and winning a national trophy with its signature grape, were especially gratifying for Orange River Cellars, writes Sandile Mkhwanazi.

When the winner of the National Champion trophy for the best natural sweet wine was announced, the warehouse of Renosterkop Citrus Farm at Augrabies resounded with applause – much of the noise coming from the half a dozen tables occupied by Orange River Cellars.

The Kakamas production unit’s Colombard/white Muscadel blend took what is regarded as a competitive category by storm.

For Koos Visser, the marketing manager of Orange River Cellars, this affirmed Colombard as the signature grape variety of the region. The other component of the blend should also not be spurned. Visser mentioned that, in its fortified form, the Muscadel has also received numerous accolades in local and international competitions. “The home team was definitely a favourite to win this category. We were confident of taking the silverware with this blend,” he said.


For Visser the key aspect that led to winning this trophy, was the viticultural practices employed by their various producers. ”We have five production units, namely Kakamas, Keimoes, Upington, Grootdrink and Groblershoop. Each region has a dedicated viticulturist who ensures that regional producers apply viticultural practices that would produce high quality at sufficient yields,” he said.

The winning wine expressed the Northern Cape’s potential to produce quality wines with grape varieties like Colombard and Muscadel. While Colombard, in particular, is seen as a high-yielding, easy-drinking wine, the quality has picked up significantly and can be produced there at very competitive prices.


Orange River Cellars (OWK) also scooped four gold medals at the China Wine and Spirits awards. Their red wines performed exceptionally well in the competition, even though the region is best known for whites. The winery’s Lyra Vega 2012 Red Blend, 2013 Ruby Cabernet, 2014 Shiraz and 2013 Pinotage were the winners. This recognition, Visser commented, bodes well for the OWK in a tough, but promising marketplace.

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