Trophies at IWSC reaffirm Stellenbosch’s icon status

Trophies at IWSC reaffirm Stellenbosch’s icon status

The excellence of Stellenbosch wine has again been highlighted on the global stage following the announcement of winners at one of the world’s leading championships. Entrenching the region as the country’s most awarded and outstanding wine region, the two main trophies at this year’s International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) were not only claimed by South African wineries, but from Stellenbosch too.

At the awards ceremony held just days ago in London, Kanonkop received the trophy for Red Wine Producer of the Year and Jordan, the trophy for White Wine Producer of the Year.

“The significance of these achievements for Stellenbosch as a region cannot be emphasized enough,” says Stellenbosch Wine Routes Chairman Mike Ratcliffe. “Beyond having highest density of exceptional and consistently awarded premium wines in South Africa, the 51-year-old Stellenbosch Wine Routes paved the way for the creation of the country’s wine tourism, an industry that contributes R7.2bn to GDP per year.

“As these and a raft of recent awards have again demonstrated, Stellenbosch is without doubt, the South African wine region,” he says.

This year alone has underscored its globally recognised reputation for top-quality wine, with Stellenbosch wineries featuring in every major local competition. “Stellenbosch has reaffirmed its position as the Cape’s pre-eminent region, as the source of a third of my top-scoring wines…,” declared Tim Atkin MW, in the 10th edition of his respected South African Report, released last month.

Astoundingly, six wines from five Stellenbosch producers were among this year’s Chenin Blanc Top 10. Chosen from 137 entries, they were Kaapzicht Wine Estate Kliprug Chenin Blanc 2021; Rascallion Devonian Chenin Blanc 2021; Spier Wines Seaward Chenin Blanc 2021; Stellenbosch Vineyards Bushvine Chenin Blanc 2021; Stellenrust Wine Estate Stellenbosch Manor Fermented Chenin Blanc 2020; and Stellenrust Wine Estate Old Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2021.

In addition, Stellenrust has featured on every Top Ten list since the inception of the challenge in 2014, making this its ninth consecutive win. This is the eighth time Spier has appeared.

At the 2022 Perold Absa Cape Blend, half of the total six winners were from Stellenbosch. They were the Beyerskloof Faith Cape Blend 2019; Kaapzicht’s Steytler Vision 2020; and, Spier Creative Block 8 2017.

As for Stellenbosch’s Cap Classiques, they shone too, at this year’s Amorim Cap Classique Awards. Stellenbosch Wine Route member Louisvale collected Double Gold for its Brut NV in the category of Blanc de Blancs while Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rosé 2020 and Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Satin Nectar Rosé 2020 each claimed Gold in their respective categories.

Furthermore, it was Stellenbosch’s Jeff Grier of Villiera, who was recognised for the major role he has played in developing the Cap Classique category in South Africa. He received the competition’s Frans Malan Legacy Trophy.

The most recent achievements at the IWSC crown another exceptional year for the region. The IWSC boasts the most highly qualified group of international judges of any wine and spirit competition in the world.   

Being no stranger to international recognition, Kanonkop won its title after the winery received 12 medals for its wines at this year’s edition.

“We have a long relationship with this major international wine competition, including winning the coveted trophy for Best Winemaker four times,” Kanonkop co-owner Johann Krige said. “Red Wine Producer of the Year adds to this consistent showing. It proves that Kanonkop remains perennially true to making great red wine from a farm with the terroir that allows us to offer individually recognisable wines of excellence and site-specific class and identity.”

Jordan was one of five producers shortlisted for the accolade together with wineries from France, New Zealand, and Germany. In addition, it is a four-time winner of the Chardonnay Trophy, as well as the Blended Red Wine Trophy and has also previously received the Trophy for the South African Wine Producer of the Year.

“We hold the IWSC competition in high regard as one of the best international wine competitions and so we are thrilled to have received this coveted trophy for the best white wine of the competition,” said  Gary Jordan, co-owner of the eponymous winery. “Cool hillside slopes within sight of the sea, an understanding of our ancient soils and a dedicated team working closely together ensures that the best estate-grown Stellenbosch grapes are brought into the Jordan cellar.”

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