Veritas Living Legends Awards 2023

A landmark Veritas evening for Benguela Cove and KWV
October 14, 2023
Entries now open for Best New Wine Writer in SA
October 23, 2023
A landmark Veritas evening for Benguela Cove and KWV
October 14, 2023
Entries now open for Best New Wine Writer in SA
October 23, 2023

Veritas Living Legends Awards 2023

The tradition of annually honouring a handful of industry leaders was continued at this year’s 33rd Veritas Awards ceremony, known for many years as the Oscars of the Wine Industry, on Friday 13 October. This award, instituted by the Veritas Awards in 2009, serves as recognition for exemplary service to the industry over the years – acknowledging their commitment and paying homage to them for remarkable achievements. 

Thereby, six luminaries received the 2023 Legends Scroll of Honour for their dedication to and enthusiasm and passion for the domestic wine and brandy industries. 

GARY BAUMGARTEN 

Gary was born in Cape Town and attended Paul Roos Gymnasium before studying at the University of Stellenbosch, where he obtained his BSc in Agriculture (Oenology and Viticulture) in 1979.

He joined KWV in Paarl where he spent 15 years in various capacities including that of chief chemist and manager of quality control and product development.

Gary spent his next 16 years at Graham Beck Wines as general manager. Graham Beck Wines comprised two cellars, four farms, two cellarmasters and one single-minded and highly aspirational brand name.

In 2011 he was appointed as managing director of Anthonij Rupert Wines with its four cellars, seven farms and six brands, where he played a major role in assisting the company to achieve success locally and internationally. He retired last year and decided to keep on sharing his knowledge and experience in the industry by starting a consulting business on best practice in the vineyard and in winemaking procedures.

During his 43 years in the industry, he served as a member of several Wine and Spirits Board work groups concerning wine-related aspects and spirits products, as well as chairperson of the Winetech Winemaking & Technology Committee and as member of the Oenology Winetech Committee in the South African Wine Industry. He was chairperson of Robertson Wine Valley, chairperson of Cape Negociants, Exco Member of Salba and a member of the Wine and Spirits Board.

He has judged on the SA Young Wine Show and Veritas panels for many years, as well as at overseas shows.

He is a member of the South African Viticultural and Oenology Society and the South African Chemical Institute.

Although semi-retired, he is still very active with wine tastings, outdoor activities and, obviously, his golf.

GERT BOERSSEN 

Gert originates from Caledon, where he matriculates in 1968 and, following a year in military service, he studies at the University of Stellenbosch. He obtains his BSc agricultural degree in viticulture and winemaking in 1973.

His first post was as researcher at the Nietvoorbij Research Institute outside Stellenbosch before joining Boland Cellar in Paarl in 1977 as winemaker. Three years later he moves on to Nuwehoop Cellar in Rawsonville as cellar manager.

Gert accepts service at Wellington Wine Cellar 1982 as cellarmaster, where plays a pivotal role during the next 30 years in developing the cellar’s quality wines. He makes a considerable contribution in 2011 when becoming head winemaker with the merging of Wellington Wynboere and Wamakersvallei Cellar and soon afterwards also Bovlei Cellar. He was instrumental in getting the cellar members together to collaborate, and so also the various staff members at the cellar.

Gert retired in 2014 after serving for some years as production manager of Wellington Wines. He settles on his farm at Napier.

JOHAN EHLERS 

Johan, Free State born from the Sasolburg area, studied BSc Agric at the University of Stellenbosch after his military service.

After 12 years at the former Rural Foundation, he is appointed as marketing manager at the Cape of Good hope Agricultural Society in 1996. The marketing name for the Society, Agri-Expo, is established in the same year. Johan serves Agri-Expo for 26 years until the end of 2022. During this period, he acts as chief executive officer and succeeds in establishing the Agri-Expo marketing brand on national and international platforms.

Johan played a leading role in establishing the South African Cheese Festival, which among others, received the award as Best Exhibition in Africa” six times. He established the partnership between Veritas-awarded wines and the SA Cheese Festival and the Veritas brand becomes synonymous with the SA Cheese Festival.

Under his banner the Qualité Mark of quality is built out to an established brand for South African Dairy products and these quality products are introduced to the public together with Veritas wines over many years at the well-known Veritas public tastings annually.

In the late 1990s, Johan facilitates, on behalf of the Agri-Expo Board, the first financial awards to the then cultivar work groups established by the SANWSA to assist them with administrative costs and the presentation of technical seminars. This was the preamble to the established cultivar associations.

Together with the Agri-Expo Board, Johan entrusted the presentation and judging of the SA Young Wine Show to the SANWSA and contributed to the fact that the Society is still in a valuable partnership with the SANWSA and the industry as the Young Wines Show’s owner after so many years.

At international level Johan was a trustee on the board of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth and often delivered addresses for them overseas.

Johan has for 21 years – from 2001 – acted as Board Member for the SA National Wine Show Association, including three years on the executive committee.

CHRIS ROUX

Chris matriculated from De Villiers Graaff High School in Villiersdorp, followed by his military training.

He started his journey in the wine world at KWV where he was appointed in the legal administration department in 1967. Two years later, he moves on to Monis in Paarl and becomes a trainee winemaker under the guidance of wine legend Hans Losch.

In 1970 he is appointed as winemaker at Wamakersvallei Wine Cellar (today Wellington Wines) and at the age of 28 he is appointed as the cellar manager, one of the youngest cellar managers in the industry at the time. Here he makes his mark boldly and builds out the cellar and its quality wines over the 33 years at the reins here.

Following his retirement, he did not at all become idle and further expressed his knowledge and energy as winemaker of Ashanti and Mont du Toit Estates for ten years.

In 1995 Chris becomes a founding member of the Pinotage Association and serves on the executive. In 2005 he receives an honorary membership certificate for his contribution to establish and develop the Association. The Paarl wine region had shortly before presented him with a scroll for 34 years’ service to promote the quality of SA wines.

He was a founder and chairperson of the Wellington Wine Route in 1993 and becomes a founder and executive member of Paarl Bottling Company shortly afterwards.

Chris was a regular and dedicated judge at the wine competitions SA Young Wine, Veritas and Absa Top Ten over the years.

He was an Absa Top Ten Award winner four times and achieved three Double Gold Veritas awards in 2002 for the La Cave Pinotage, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. To crown it all, he clinched the trophy for the Best Cabernet Sauvignon at the London International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2002 with the La Cave Cabernet Sauvignon.

JACQUES ROUX 

Jacques started his wine career in 1978 as a marketing trainee at Stellenbosch Farmers Winery under the management of Jürgen Burmeister, Dick Coleshaw and Richard Cleal – all three very stimulating and thought-provoking personalities that set him up to pursue his career in marketing.

He was instructed to relaunch the famous Tassenberg or “Tassies” in its original livery and, with a 1938 Ford panel van that was branded with Tassenberg, it was his first success story. Many more would follow.

He left SFW in 1988 to join an advertising agency, but soon realised that he had to get “back to wine” with brands like Bellingham and Culemborg Wines. Here he started to work with another wine legend and rugby hero, oom John Gainsford, export manager for Union Wine who taught him so much about people, sales, relationships and goodwill.

Jacques joined the Graham Beck Wines team as Marketing Manager with Pieter Ferreira and Charles Hopkins in the early 1990s where he played a major role to market these quality wines around the world. He spent the next six to eight years introducing the Graham Beck Brut overseas – at wine shows and international trade shows and listing wines like Railroad Red and Waterside White.

When DGB acquired Boschendal in 2005, he joined Tim Hutchinson and team as the wine marketing director for DGB. Jacques was instrumental to revive the Boschendal brand to its former glory.

Jacques also played a role in the broader wine environment. He was chairperson of the Franschhoek Vignerons and instrumental in merging the hospitality side with the winemakers to form a very strong tourism body. He was on the Board of WOSA for a four-year term in the early 2000. He was also on the panel that wrote the specifications for the Cape Blend category of the Pinotage Association and the judging convenor for a number of Cape Blend competitions. He also judged at Veritas and other competitions.

He retired from DGB in 2021 after 43 fantastic years in the South African wine industry.

JOHAN WIESE 

Johan is born and bred from Vredendal in the Olifants River area. After matric he moves to Stellenbosch and obtains a BSc degree in viticulture and winemaking in 1976

His first post is at Nietvoorbij Research Institute as skilled worker in weed killer experimentation and pruning. Two years later he is appointed at KWV in viticultural extension service, initially serving Paarl, Swartland and Olifants River.

In 1989, Johan and another four producers establish the Voor Groenberg-Nursery in Wellington to supply the wine, table and raisin grape industries countrywide, as well as numerous clients in foreign countries. In this period, he also consults for several wine farms in South Africa and overseas.

Moreover, Johan also conveys his knowledge and experience over a broader front at various organisations in viticulture and vineyard plant material, as well as the spreading of viticultural knowledge to the wider industry and in research.

Since 2021 he has still been involved with virus-free wine and citrus plant material production and consults at several wine farms.

 

ENDS

 

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