With another major accolade having recently come its way at the annual Mundus Vini International Wine Awards in Germany, the Old Road Wine Co. (ORWC) from Franschhoek is rapidly becoming the best performing young winery in South Africa. At this year’s Mundus Vini, Old Road Wine Co. delivered the Best South African White Wine with its gold-medal winning Anemos Chenin Blanc 2018.
Almost 3 000 wines from all over the world were awarded medals at the 28th Mundus Vini International Wine Awards in Neustadt, Germany. Some 7 300 wines from 39 wine-growing countries of the world were tasted by a select panel of judges over 20 days.
Old Road Wine Co. is a collaboration between Tim Hutchinson, executive chairman of DGB, and private partners. The winery was formed in 2019 to ensure vineyards in the Franschhoek Valley are protected for future generations to continue the region’s legacy of winemaking and viticulture, as well as to source grapes from a selection of the finest vineyard growers in the Cape in order to make superlative terroir-driven wines.
The Anemos Chenin Blanc is one of the wines from Old Road Wine Co. and is made from old vineyards growing in Durbanville and Stellenbosch which were planted in 1983 and 1988 respectively.
Andrew Harris, marketing manager for the Old Road Wine Co., says the superb performance of the winery’s Anemos Chenin Blanc 2018 at Mundus Vini is another highlight in the short history of Old Road.
“The strong showing of ORWC’s wines over the past few years has, to my mind, exceeded everyone’s expectations,” says Harris. “We have received awards, trophies and international ratings seldom seen for a fledgling wine brand. This can be attributed to the vision of ORWC’s founders and the way they have given our winemaker Ryan Puttick the freedom to make incredible wines from magical sites of terroir.”
Since its first wine releases in 2018, ORWC has raked in an enviable list of awards and ratings which have led to this “Best in Show” Award at Mundis Vini. Amongst these are:
- 94pt rating by the Wine Advocate for the 12 Mile Limited Release Syrah 2017
- National Champion at the Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards with Pepper Wind Syrah 2017, as well as Top Shiraz on Show from a vineyard in Franschhoek
- 94pt rating in Tim Atkin South African Report for Grand Mère Single Vineyard Semillon 2017 from the La Colline Vineyard in Franschhoek which was planted in 1936
- Michelangelo Double Gold for Grand Mère Single Vineyard Semillon 2017 (WO Franschhoek)
- Michelangelo Double Gold for Pepper Wind Syrah 2017 (WO Franschhoek)
- 93pts in Tim Atkin South African Report for Stone Trail Chenin Blanc 2018 (WO Franschhoek)
- Michelangelo Double Gold for Juliette Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (WO Elgin)
- Mundus Vini Gold for Juliette Sauvignon Blanc 2018 and 2019 (WO Elgin)
Puttick, who has been at the helm of ORWC’s winemaking since the beginning, says the list of accolades and awards is deemed important on two fronts.
“This recognition has obviously helped get the message out to our local and international markets that ORWC might be a new, young winery, but that we are settled enough to be able to deliver the goods in terms of wine quality – and our Franschhoek vineyards are delivering the goods” he says. “These awards and the valued recognition from wine critics have helped Old Road Wine Co. to, as they say, hit the ground running – with the competition in the wine world rife and South Africa making the best wines in its history, new wineries can struggle to get out of the blocks. By garnering this fantastic local and international recognition for our wines, ORWC’s profile has – marketing wise – been given a tremendous boost.”
The other aspect about medals, awards and high-ratings is that they act as an important indicator of one’s ethos and progress in terms of wine quality and stylistic endeavour.
“There are so many great wines out there and for a winery committed to quality – such as Old Road Wine Co. – it is vital that we find ways to be measured alongside our peers,” he says. “And here the recognition we received has been most valuable. Our commitment to partnering with the right growers and their vineyards helps us express characteristics of terroir, and a true sense of place has been vindicated by the way the wines have been received by critics, wine judges and the wine-enjoying public.”
Puttick says the Old Road Wine Co. approach to winemaking is indeed akin to following a road that is old, tried and tested. “First up are the vineyards and here we have made a point of going off the beaten track to find growers with parcels of fruit expressing the relative varieties in a unique way. The winemaking is strictly minimum intervention aimed at preserving – at all costs – the signature of site-specific terroir. These include older barrels, traditional clay amphorae and a truly hand-crafted approach.”
According to Puttick, Old Road Wine Co. also places a strong emphasis on positioning Franschhoek as one of South Africa’s leading quality wine regions as well as preserving the town and region’s rich wine heritage that goes back to 1688 when the French Huguenots arrived.
“The wines in our Single Vineyard Range – Pepper Wind Syrah, Stone Trail Chenin Blanc and Grand Mère Semillon – all originate from Franschhoek vineyards,” says Puttick. “They underscore the unique terroir of this fantastic region ranging from mountain slopes to alluvial soils, with the cooling breezes that make for a wonderful temperate climate. And with the entire Old Road Wine Co. range made right here in Franschhoek adjacent to our inviting hospitality area, we are glad to be a leading part of a new era of Franschhoek’s wine offering.
“And we have the medals to prove it!”
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