SA Brandy takes to the stage at Veritas

Veritas Awards – Spier does it again
October 8, 2010
Veritas Top Achievers disclose their secrets
November 7, 2010
Veritas Awards – Spier does it again
October 8, 2010
Veritas Top Achievers disclose their secrets
November 7, 2010

SA Brandy takes to the stage at Veritas

Not only brandies received accolades – trailblazers of the brandy industry Jos le Roux, Buks Venter and Danie Grundling were amongst this year’s Living Legends, honoured for their pioneering contribution to the industry.

A total of 40 brandies entered the inaugural event, competing in the categories of standard, vintage and pot still. Leading the medal winners, Van Ryn brandy cellar claimed double gold for its Van Ryn’s 20 Year Old Collectors Reserve and Van Ryn’s 12 Year Old Distillers Reserve; and, two gold awards for the Van Ryn’s 15 Year Old Fine Cask Reserve and Van Ryn’s 10 Year Old Vintage.

Double gold and gold medal winners were KWV (double gold for KWV 20 Year Old Potstill Brandy and gold for Laborie Alambic Brandy 5 Year and Imoya VSOP); Oude Meester (double gold for Oude Meester Reserve 12 Year Old and gold for Oude Meester Demant and Oude Meester VSOB Brandy); Klipdrift (double gold for Klipdrift Gold OVM and gold for Klipdrift Export Brandy); Nederburg (gold for Solera Brandy); and, Collison’s (gold for Collison’s White Gold).

The medal breakdown among brandies alone comprises: 5 double gold, 9 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze – a remarkable performance considering that 50% of the winners achieved gold and double gold.

Judging panel chairman Dave Hughes, an industry veteran who is himself a distiller, said he was very impressed by the number of entries. “The range and style of brandy was tremendous and of a very high standard.”

“I believe we lead the world in the development taking place in brandy production. There is world class quality in all the categories – not only the aged products are great, the blends are especially encouraging in that they are of just such a high quality,” Hughes said.

The panel making the debut of South African brandy at the 2010 Veritas Awards comprised an esteemed gathering of international and local brandy specialists who congregated to judge the noble spirit’s merits for coveted Veritas accolades. Hailing from South Africa, with vast international expertise are Distell Primary Production director Johan Venter, who among others is a member of the brandy evaluating committee of the Wine & Spirit Board; KWV chief brandy master Kobus Gelderblom; Cape Wine Master Dr Andy Roediger; Cape Wine Master Dr Winnie Bowman, a biomedical scientist ; and, Distell Group General Manager for Spirits Production, Brink Liebenberg. International juror and cognac specialist Denis Lahouratate, cellarmaster at the House of Bisquit Cognac added his vast expertise and skill to complete the team.

“I was impressed by the standard of South Africa’s brandies in comparison to those I’ve tasted from other countries,” said Lahouratate. “It was a great experience for me.”

“The South African wine and brandy industries share a proud history built up over more than 350 years,” declared Duimpie Bayly, chairman of the SA National Wine Show Association, custodian of Veritas. “That brandy, a noble product of the grape, now forms part of Veritas is a natural extension of this link,” he said.

“We are very happy with the stellar performance of South African brandies in its debut year at Veritas,” said South African Brandy Foundation chairman Riaan Marais. “Veritas provides our country’s brandies with a major local platform to show its mettle, together with a new avenue to advocate the consistent outstanding quality of South African brandy.”

Living Legends
Jos le Roux, Buks Venter and Danie Grundling are the stalwarts of the South African brandy industry honoured as Living Legends at this year’s Veritas awards evening:

Jos le Roux
The first encounter Jos, who hails from Robertson, had with brandy was as a junior research assistant while working for the Department of Agriculture at Elsenburg. But it was only later, after studies including a masters degree in chemistry from the University of Stellenbosch, that his involvement grew in leaps and bounds first at Nietvoorbij, where he undertook research on column distillation, and later at the then Distillers Corporation, where he worked until his retirement in 1990 as head of spirits production. In this time, he was involved in groundbreaking work in the re-use of brandy barrels in the maturation process, which garnered international interest. On his watch, brands such as Flight of the Fish Eagle were launched and Oude Meester and Klipdrift were substantially expanded. He has made many friends through his work as a consultant to the industry, here and abroad; as a lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch and a presenter and examiner on brandy production at the Cape Wine Master courses.

Buks Venter
Buks completed a BSc in Viticulture, Viniculture and Chemistry at the University of Stellenbosch before launching a career as a brandy specialist with KWV. Climbing the ranks, he was later appointed to the company’s senior management team. During this time he published cutting edge research on brandy ageing processes and developed 20 international brandies for KWV of which three were singled out for recognition as the best in the world. Widely travelled and experienced, Venter – then manager of production development at KWV – became a consultant in 1998, undertaking a number of projects for among others GT Ferreira and Barrydale wine cellar. In 2005 he established a company to develop industrial bio-fuel plants for installation locally and in other countries.

Danie Grundling�
Danie is a fifth generation farmer who learnt the art of traditional distilling at an early age from his father, Dys, on the family farm outside Oudtshoorn, Sandkoppies – home of Grundheim wines. It’s in the same old Woudberg copper pot used by his father Dys that Grundheim Natural Potstill brandy is now distilled by Danie’s son, Dys jnr. Danie is a champion distiller with numerous awards and medals adding to his status as a legendary distiller of the Little Karoo, a brandy pioneer and master story-teller.

The complete results of the Veritas 2010 competition can be located at, or via the Veritas link on the South African Brandy Foundation website,


Notes to editors:
Members of the public will now have the opportunity to taste the brandies and wines that won double gold and gold at the 2010 Veritas competition. A number of events will be hosted in coming weeks giving a rare opportunity for wine and brandy lovers to taste the countrty’s best. In Cape Town, a tasting event takes place at the Southern Sun Cape Sun hotel on Tuesday October 19. In Johannesburg, it takes place at the Sandton Conference Centre on October 26. In Durban, the tasting is to be held on November 4 at the head office of Deloitte in Umhlanga. Tickets for the events in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban can be purchased through Computicket while reservations for the other events may be made with respective organisers. For full information about times, venues and ticket prices, visit

Issued for the South African Brandy Foundation by Errieda du Toit PR.
Contact:         Ian du Toit or Errieda du Toit
Tel:                021 – 913 2248
Cell: 082 547 6153 (Ian) / 082 921 3842 (Errieda)
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South African Brandy Foundation:
Contact:         Ielanda Koen, general manager
Tel: 021 – 809 7617
Cell:             082 468 6486