Kanonkop in Awards Spectacle …
It was a record breaking night for top South African wine estate, Kanonkop, at the IWSC awards banquet held at the Guildhall on 17th November 2008. Not only did Kanonkop scoop the Trophy for the Best Blended Red Wine for the Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2003, but they also picked up South African Wine Producer of the Year and, the most coveted award of the night, the International Winemaker of the Year. Kanonkop is the ONLY winery ever to have won the Best Blended Wine of the Year THREE times. Kanonkop is also the only winery ever to have won the South African Producer of the Year TWICE.
Stunned Kanonkop winemaker, Abrie Beeslaar, confessed that he was still shaking as he returned from collecting his 3rd award of the night. As luck would have it, ex- Kanonkop winemaker Beyers Truter was at the same table and was the first to warmly congratulate his friend and ex-colleague. Johann Krige of Kanonkop Estate had flown over from South Africa especially to be at the awards ceremony and said that he was ‘absolutely delighted and very, very proud’ as he congratulated both winemakers heartily. Simon Halliday of Raisin Social, who represent both Kanonkop and Beyerskloof in the UK was at the prestigious event and commentated that: “it is an amazing achievement and a superb result. It is recognition that Kanonkop Estate of one of the top wineries in the world. I’ve been working with Kanonkop for over two decades and we are great friends as well as partners and it is a tremendous night for us all”” Beyers Truter was at the awards dinner to collect a Gold medal and Trophy of his own for his Beyers Truter Pinotage for the Tesco Finest range. Beyers Truter joined Kanonkop as winemaker in 1980 and left in 2003 to form his own venture, Beyerskloof (now the world biggest selling Pinotage), but they retain close links of friendship and mutual respect. Kanonkop have won a great many awards over the years, but 2008 has dealt them a truly remarkable haul.
Kanonkop Estate is a highly acclaimed Stellenbosch Estate, renowned for its red wines and has been described as South Africa’s equivalent of a ‘Premier Cru’. The Pinotage vines are retained as bush vines to provide maximum ripeness and assist with regulating the crop. Most of these vines are more than 50 years old. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc have been trellised into a five strand hedge. Except for a small portion of the estate where the soil is slightly sandy, no irrigation is done. Fermentation takes place in traditional open concrete fermenters, but with a slight difference, in that the tanks are wide and shallow rather than high and deep. This process ensures maximum skin contact. The name Kanonkop is derived from a kopje (hillock), from which a cannon was fired in the 17th Century, to alert farmers in outlying areas that sailing ships plying the waters between Europe and the Far East had entered Table Bay for a stopover at Cape Town.