SA winemaker named world’s best

Abrie Beeslaar, of Kanonkop, South Africa’s renowned wine estate in Stellenbosch, was crowned as the International Winemaker of the Year during the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) gala award ceremony in London earlier this week.

It’s the second time Beeslaar has won the title, having also done so in 2008. The IWSC is the world’s leading wine and spirits competition, with more than 5 500 products entered annually by some 50 countries.

Kanonkop was also named the South African Producer of the Year and won “Best Pinotage” for the Kanonkop Pinotage 2012.

“I was quite gutted by the Springboks’ failure to win this year’s Rugby World Cup, so to be able to restore some respect for South Africa, albeit on the international wine scene, helped to mend the wounds somewhat,” Beeslaar told Drinksfeed.com.

“To be named the world’s winemaker of the year for the second time is something you never expect or hardly contemplate in your wildest dreams, so the award hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

“I do know that the success can be attributed to the whole team that works in Kanonkop’s cellar and vineyards, as well as the people who ensure that our wines receive international attention. Nothing would be possible, however, without the nature Kanonkop has been blessed with. It is the soil types, aspect, and climate that give me outstanding grapes with which to make wine.”

Beeslaar hopes that these awards will help South Africa reach its potential to be seen as one of the world’s premier wine countries.

“Despite a wine industry with a history that stretches back to 1659 and the quality of our wines, South Africa struggles to maintain an image of premium quality in the international marketplace,” said Beeslaar.

“Therefore accolades such as this one from the International Wine and Spirit Competition is particularly significant, as it shows the world that as far as quality and identity go, our country’s wines can compete with, and even trump, the best from France, Italy, Australia and the US.”

Three other South African estates also won individual awards with Paul Cluver Ferricrete 2014 winning Best Riesling, Jordan Nine Yards 2013 winning Best Chardonnay and Ken Forrester The FMC 2013 the  Best Chenin Blanc.