Earlier this year, Windmeul Cellars — the legendary wine cellar and landmark along the R44 outside Paarl — celebrated its 75th anniversary with a grand dinner in the winery’s cellar. The event was a festive occasion. Not only did it celebrate it’s 75th birthday, but only a few days prior, Windmeul was named South Africa’s top co-operative cellar for 2019 by English wine writer Tim Atkin (MW).
Guest speaker at the event, Distell’s managing director Richard Rushton expressed his enthusiasm for the South African wine industry in general.
He emphasised the role organisations, like the government, must fulfil in the South African business sphere. On Distell’s long-standing relationship with Windmeul, Rushton said the following: “I would like to acknowledge the 75 years of Windmeul’s heritage built over time; its testing character and skills, which has led to the company’s resilience. These are qualities we should all possess especially if we are to succeed in the South Africa of today.”
Distell also presented a beautiful framed mirror to the board and management of Windmeul.
Windmeul Cellar started 75 years ago with 25 members and 1 700 tons of grapes. The first cellar was built in 1945 for R15 000. The first harvest was completed in 1946. Today, there are 32 board members and the cellar presses 13 500 tons on an annual basis.
Since 1964, there have been only three head winemakers at the helm, which is also an indication of the stability of management and quality of wines produced here. Berhard Luttig was at the helm for 30 years, before Hein Koegelenberg took over from him in 1994. Hein made wine with Berhard for 10 years. Danie Marais, the current head winemaker has been with the business for 20 years.
Another highlights of the festive dinner was the announcement of Windmeull’s best Vineyard and Producer of the Year.
The trophy for the 2019 Producer of the Year was awarded to Albert and Deon Kotze of Otterkuil Farming, while the winner of the Vineyard Block of the Year was given to Eduard Malan from the farm Middelpos in Wellington.
Over the years, Windmeul has proven itself as an outstanding Chenin Blanc producer. This was once again proven with the double gold Veritas award it received for the 2019 vintage. Windmeul has also featured in the Absa Top 10 Pinotage winning wines for several years.