Photo caption: [BACK] CWG protégés Mosima Mbelebele, Shanice du Preez and CWG member Alex Starey. [FRONT] CWG member Richard Kershaw (MW), Erika Obermeyer and CWG chair Gordon Newton Johnson.
The Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) ends 2021 on a high note by welcoming Alex Starey, Erika Obermeyer and Richard Kershaw as new guild members and Shanice du Preez and Mosima Mabelebele to the protégé programme.
The admission of these winemakers to the guild and dynamic young winemakers entering the protégé programme underlines the guild’s single-minded vision of winemaking excellence, credibility and meaningful transformation within the South African wine industry. The CWG is one of the global wine industry’s leaders in this field.
Alex Starey has been the winemaker and viticulturist at Keermont Vineyards in Stellenbosch for the past 16 years. He is constantly striving for excellence and his wines are revered both locally and abroad for its outstanding quality.
“I have always held the CWG in the highest esteem and to be given the opportunity to become a member is a huge honour which I am thrilled to accept. I am so grateful to my family, the team at Keermont Vineyards and the guild members who had the faith to vote for me.
Without all of these people, this would not be possible. I look forward to learning from the members of the guild and will do my best to contribute positively.” he says.
Erika Obermeyer is based in Stellenbosch where she makes award-winning wines under her own label, Erika Obermeyer Wines. Erika’s 20 years’ experience dedicated to making outstanding wines, most recently with her namesake brand, has resulted in her wines constantly receiving critical acclaim across the globe.
“It’s a huge honour and privilege to join the CWG. The passion for winemaking excellence, the camaraderie, sharing of knowledge and always being at the forefront of innovation within the guild is something I look forward to being part of.
It plays a significant role in the development of the South African wine industry, I am excited to get involved with the work the guild is doing with its protégé programme,” Erika comments.
Richard Kershaw is the only Master of Wine who is active as a winemaker in South Africa. His immense knowledge of international wines is reflected in his own wine, consistent in quality year on year.
“As an international MW, I’ve been privileged to work with winemakers around the world, but I chose to make South Africa my ‘winemaking’ home It is a great honour to join the CWG, whose purpose it is to set a benchmark for SA wines.
Also, to build a community intent on creating better practices for our country’s wine industry, as well as supporting protégés who are so vital in contributing to the future of winemaking in South Africa.” Kershaw adds.
Both protégés were selected from dozens of graduates who applied to join the CWG protégé programme. They share a desire of becoming successful winemakers with a hands-on approach, supporting their cellar teams and teaching future generations of winemakers.
Mosima Mabelebele is from Mokopane in Limpopo and has just completed her BSc Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University. She will spend the first year of her three-year internship at Hartenberg, with CWG Member Carl Schultz as her mentor.
“I am a curious individual and this provides an ideal learning environment. One day I would like to be a great winemaker, supporting and teaching the craft to other young and passionate winemakers.” says Mabelebele.
Shanice du Preez is from Bothasig in Cape Town and has just graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BSc Viticulture and Oenology. She will spend the first year of her three-year internship at Kanonkop under the mentorship of Abrie Beeslaar.
“My ideal job as a winemaker is to be as hands on as possible. I want to work alongside my cellar team and create the most delicate and beautifully crafted wines. I want my team to be happy as I believe optimism leads to success and this will reflect in the wine being produced.” says du Preez.
This year also sees Gordon Newton Johnson take over the reins as CWG chair from Andrea Mullineux who served with great distinction, steering the CWG through extremely challenging times for the South African wine industry over the past two years.
“It is an immense privilege to be trusted with guiding the guild in its journey over the next couple of years with my much admired friends and colleagues. Andrea’s exceptional and resolute leadership over an incredibly strenuous period has ensured that we continue to make broad strides to the betterment of the wine industry,” Gordon states.
“By broadening the ascendant dynamism in our industry, persisting with our understanding of these magnificent landscapes from which we make our wines, and nurturing the diverse talent that this country has to offer, South African wines are boundless in their contribution to excellence and relevance in the world of wine. I hope and undertake for the guild to play a meaningful part in that.”
Newton Johnson will be joined by Samantha O’Keefe as vice-chair, JD Pretorius as treasurer, Morné Vrey as cellar master and Carl Schultz who oversees the CWG’s strategy and procedure portfolio.