SA Needs International Recognition more than Ever – Johann de Wet

De Wetshof Estate, South Africa’s pioneering Chardonnay producer in the chalk-rich Robertson wine valley, confirmed its reputation for continuously making excellent wines from this variety with two Gold medals at the Decanter World Awards held in London. The Gold medals went to the De Wetshof Lesca 2020 – labelled ‘Finesse’ in South Africa – and to the estate’s icon Bateleur Chardonnay 2018, made from a single vineyard planted at De Wetshof in 1987.

Johann de Wet

The Decanter World Wine Awards was judged by over 170 expert international judges who scrutinised the 18 000 wines entered from 56 countries. Judging took place last month at Canary Wharf in London at the offices of Decanter magazine, with the awards announced this week.

The Decanter Gold medal is the third major accolade bestowed on De Wetshof’s Lesca (Finesse) Chardonnay from the 2020 vintage. Earlier this year the same wine took a Gold medal at the Chardonnay du Monde, the world’s leading competition devoted to Chardonnay and was also named in the Top 10 wines at this year’s Du Monde. This was followed with another Gold at the Mundus Vini Competition in Germany, also regarded as one of the wine world’s major wine shows renowned for selecting wines of revered excellence through a thorough judging process.

Johann de Wet, CEO of De Wetshof, said this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards were of special significance for De Wetshof and other South African producers due to effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s industry.

“The banning of wine sales, which was first imposed by the authorities last year and is still a regular occurrence, has had producers more than ever realising the importance of international sales as the local trade has been decimated,” says De Wet.

“With exports of Cape wines allowed to go ahead, fortunately, it is paramount to increase our exposure to global markets, especially for wines in the premium sector and to get South Africa out of its image as a primarily bulk-wine exporter. Therefore international accolades, such at Gold medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards where  our country is afforded the opportunity of being compared to wines from around the world and to show the quality we are able of, are of major importance to elevate the image of Brand South African wine.”

De Wetshof vineyards.

About the winning wines, the De Wetshof Lesca (Finesse) 2020 is one of the five wines in De Wetshof’s offering. Lightly wooded, it has garnered a reputation for a terroir-expressing minerality with delectable notes of citrus and a fresh mouthfeel.

The Bateleur Chardonnay has a reputation as one of South Africa’s icon Chardonnays focussed on showcasing the unique limestone and shale terroir of the specific site on which the Bateleur vineyard was planted 34 years ago at the birth of the country’s Chardonnay industry.

“We are extremely grateful for this recognition at the Decanter World Wine Awards, and hope that this helps in elevating the profile of South African Chardonnay, which I believe is one of our country’s finest categories,” says De Wet.

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