18 November 2020

“It is such a big honour; I am almost at a loss for words.” This was what an elated Izele van Blerk, The Mentors winemaker at KWV, said when it was announced that her team had secured the coveted Veritas Vertex Award for The Mentors Orchestra 2018 at the annual Veritas Awards this weekend. This spectacular Bordeaux-style red blend is the first red wine to be announced as this competition’s overall champion wine, from almost 1 300 entries received In a momentous conclusion to a particularly challenging year, the Veritas Wine Awards also announced KWV as the country’s top achieving cellar.

The Veritas Awards is the longest running wine and brandy competition in SA. This year, entries were judged by South Africa’s top wine judges and critics. Veritas is largely driven by consumer preferences, with judges valuing drinkability, wine structure and maturing ability when scrutinising wines. The selection process for Double Gold winners is especially rigorous.

This year, altogether 70 Double Gold and 128 Gold medals were awarded.

KWV led the way with three Double Gold (in addition to 10 Gold) – for Laborie Brut Cap Classique NV, KWV The Mentors Orchestra (Western Cape) 2018 and KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2010 – taking more than any other cellar, which solidified KWV’s victory as Top Achiever in the category for ten entries or more. KWV also received two Double Gold awards for its KWV 10 Years Potstill Brandy and KWV 15 Years Alambic Blend Potstill Brandy.

Although this year’s Veritas announcements were made at a scaled-down awards function under strict Covid-19 protocols at the Polo Club at Val de Vie Estate in Paarl, organisers noted the “new sense of excitement and trust in the future of the awarded wines and brandies.”

“To be 2020’s Top Achieving Cellar is an incredible achievement and honour bestowed on KWV. We know the South African industry is making some of the best wines in history and for KWV to be recognised in this manner is indeed a very proud moment, and especially welcome at the end of this very challenging year,” said KWV CEO, Boyce Lloyd.

KWV’s Chief Winemaker, Justin Corrans reiterated this sentiment: “The wine team is elated by this spectacular news from Veritas. This achievement shows our dedication to our consumers, who we always place first. To be named Top Achieving Cellar is a massive compliment and we thank the organisers.”

Van Blerk was at the ceremony to receive the hand-crafted Veritas Vertex glass trophy. An emotional Van Blerk said: “It is the biggest honour that can be bestowed on a winemaker, but this honour does not happen in isolation. It’s genuine hard work with a dedicated team, from production to marketing. It is being critical of every vat we taste. It is taking note of every celebration, every drop of sweat and every teardrop during harvest, it is 24 hours of daily hard work, consistency and attention to detail. It is our lazer focus on making the wines even better – it is all of this, and I am so happy today to say that all our persistence has paid off.”

“More than anything, it comes down to team work, I work with an amazing team in the cellar, and a marketing team that believes in the brand. It is ten years of hard work, and this has been a tough year, but this award makes it all worth it,” van Blerk added, “our focus as a team will be to remain humble, and to give energy to our passion – if you lose passion or humility then you lose the game.”

KWV’s award-winning wines can be bought online via KWV Emporium on KWVemporium.co.za.