Kanonkop Estate in Stellenbosch won the Outstanding Wine Producer Trophy at this year’s International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). This is the first time this prestigious trophy has been awarded and was presented to coincide with this year’s 50th anniversary of the IWSC, the world’s leading wine and spirits show that annually attracts 5 500 entries from some 50 countries. The IWSC awards for 2019 were announced at a ceremony in the Guildhall in London on 28 November.
At previous IWSC events, Kanonkop has won the coveted Winemaker of the Year Trophy four times: in 1991 under cellarmaster Beyers Truter and under current winemaker Abrie Beeslaar in 2008, 2015 and 2017.
The IWSC Outstanding Wine Producer Trophy awards this year’s top winemaker as well as the winery that has achieved consistently in the show’s illustrious 50 year history.
“In recognition of the 50 years of the IWSC, this year we are awarding this prestigious trophy to a producer who has not only achieved this year, but consistently throughout the competition’s history,” said IWSC head of tastings Pip Mortimer.
Besides the Trophy for IWSC Outstanding Producer, Kanonkop this year also won the competition’s coveted Warren Winiarski Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon with the Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.
Johann Krige, proprietor of Kanonkop Estate, said that being judged as Outstanding Producer in the history of the IWSC is recognition of Kanonkop’s aim of making world-class wines expressing the unique soils, climate and topography of Stellenbosch’s Simonsberg.
“We have managed to do this in a relatively short period of time – when the IWSC was founded in 1969 Kanonkop was not even making bottled estate wine yet,” says Krige.
“This award for Outstanding Producer at the prestigious IWSC is recognition for those whose vision saw the bottling of Kanonkop’s first estate wine in 1973, namely my grand-father and Kanonkop founder Paul Sauer, my father Jannie Krige and Jan Boland Coetzee, the winemaker who oversaw those first Kanonkop bottlings.
“This legacy of commitment to superior quality and the vision to be seen as a recognised international producer alongside the best wineries from the world’s best regions has been perpetuated by winemakers Beyers Truter and Abrie Beeslaar, both of whom were recognised world’s best winemaker at the IWSC and who are responsible for Kanonkop’s track-record at this most significant of all the world’s wine competitions.”
Krige said Kanonkop’s consistent success at the IWSC can be attributed to the whole team working in Kanonkop’s cellar and vineyards, as well as the people who ensure that the wines receive international attention in the market-place. “Nothing would be possible, however, without the nature Kanonkop has been blessed with. It is the soil types, aspect, and climate that give us outstanding grapes with which to make wines that have by now developed a unique identity in terms of flavour profile, ageability and reputation.”
Having this special IWSC Trophy for Outstanding Producer awarded to Kanonkop will hopefully assist in improving the image of South African wine in the global arena.
“Despite a wine industry with a history that stretches back to 1659 and the undisputed quality of our country’s wines, South Africa struggles to develop an image of premium quality in the international marketplace,” said Krige. “Therefore accolades such as this from the International Wine and Spirit Competition are particularly significant, as it shows the world that as far as quality and identity go, our country’s wines can compete with – and trump – the best from France, Spain, Italy, Australia and the US. It is a tremendous honour accepting this international award on behalf of Kanonkop and the South African wine industry.”