13 September 2021

KWV extends a hearty congratulations to its Chief Viticulturist, Marco Ventrella. In his renowned South African Special Report 2021, UK Master of Wine (MW) Tim Atkin, awarded Marco as “Viticulturist of the Year”. During his live Instagram broadcast of this year’s Special Report, Atkin was full of praise for Marco’s personality, and passion: “He is a viticulturist who enjoys making wine, but he is also a viticulturist who enjoys drinking wine (and) I really enjoy having a few glasses of wine with him. He is funny, he is intelligent, he’s a great guy.”

This year marks the 9th edition of this leading English critic’s review of South Africa’s wine scene, which reveals the best of the country’s wines and professionals in his “Special Report”.

Atkin is one of the wine world’s most recognised and respected wine critics, and as such, his yearly publication is highly anticipated by the winemaking industry. This year, he tasted 1783 wines from 311 producers a tasting journey that truly inspired this UK wine critic: “What (South Africa) has achieved, not just since 1994, but in the nine years that I have been writing this report is truly remarkable. No other wine industry has made such strides, no other wine industry possesses such energy or excitement,” he said.

The height of anticipation is reserved for Atkin’s “Podium” list, in which he reveals the winemakers, wines and industry professionals who in his opinion are at the very top of their game. It is therefore an incredible honour for Marco to be recognised in this list of South Africa’s very best, and KWV is immensely proud to celebrate this formidable viticulturist’s achievement.

Marco was appointed Chief Viticulturist at KWV in November 2010. Marco and his team oversee the planting, planning and vineyard management of approximately 420 different vineyards, roughly equating to 1200 hectares of vines. Says KWV CEO, Boyce Lloyd: “Marco is a masterful conduit between vineyard and our cellars. He has longstanding, and respected, relationships with growers, a vital component of successful vineyard management. A true ‘vine whisperer’, Marco is known in South Africa for his innate ability to grasp and navigate the challenges and opportunities of specific vineyard pockets across the Cape Winelands. Thanks to Marco, KWV’s wines are a true reflection of their origin, and we celebrate his remarkable achievement.”

A flabbergasted Marco, speaking shortly after Tim Atkin’s announcement said: “I am in shock. It is extraordinarily humbling. This thing we do in wine is the greatest team sport ever. I can only do with producers and farm workers who do. With viticulture team members and wine makers who do. With a whole company of people who do and in doing allow me to do my small part. My thanks as well to Tim for all our interactions, and of course all the laughs!”

In addition to Marco’s “Podium” inclusion, KWV is also very proud to share that a number of its wines collected ‘Medals of Excellence”, or a score of 90 or more out of a possible 100. Leading the line-up is The Mentors Chenin Blanc 2020 and The Mentors Grenache Blanc 2020, both with a score of 93. The Mentors Orchestra 2019, The Mentors Perold 2019, The Mentors Cabernet Franc 2019 and The Mentors Canvas 2019 all achieved a rating of 92. The Mentors Pinotage 2019 and The Mentors Petit Verdot 2019 were rated 91.

KWV’s Cathedral Cellar portfolio makes up the balance of medals with its Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay 2020, Cathedral Cellar Sauvignon Blanc 2020 and Cathedral Cellar Triptych 2018 scored an impressive 90 points.

KWV’s Chief Winemaker, Justin Corrans, commented: “Today, KWV couldn’t be prouder. Tim Atkin’s knowledge and in-depth analysis of South Africa’s wines are invaluable. His findings, ratings and praise of KWV in his latest special report indicate KWV’s commitment from grower to vineyard to cellar. We are so proud of our colleague Marco, and exceptionally proud of the whole winemaking team.”


KWV’s full results are listed below:

The Mentors Chenin Blanc2020Paarl93
The Mentors Grenache Blanc2020Coastal93
The Mentors Orchestra2019Western Cape92
The Mentors Perold2019Coastal92
The Mentors Cabernet Franc2019Stellenbosch92
The Mentors Canvas2019Coastal92
The Mentors Pinotage2019Stellenbosch91
The Mentors Petit Verdot2019Stellenbosch91
Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay2020Western Cape90
Cathedral Cellar Sauvignon Blanc2020Western Cape90
Cathedral Cellar Triptych2018Western Cape90