KWV rules at Veritas AwardsOctober 9, 2015
Veritas Young wine writerDecember 8, 2015
The customary tradition of annually honouring a handful of industry leaders took place at this year’s 25th Veritas Awards Ceremony on Friday, 9th October. Five luminaries whose dedication, enthusiasm and passion for the local wine and brandy industries were nominated to receive the 2015 Living Legends scroll of honour.
This award is about recognition of, and giving back to, those who have served this industry over the years; to acknowledge their commitment and pay homage to the marks they have undoubtedly made. Veritas chooses to honour these legends by means of this special award so as to thank them for their invaluable contribution towards growing and promoting the industry.
This year, five people were nominated at the Awards ceremony: Cassie du Plessis, Jos le Roux, Bill Gallagher, Michael Green and Jan Scannell.
Cassie du Plessis has, in his 15 years as Editor of Wynland and Communications Manager of VinPro, not only immortalised roleplayers of the wine industry and its stories, but has also played a proactive role in promoting the image of the industry in the eyes of the public. Added to that, he has brought matters of importance to the attention of key industry personnel. Du Plessis hails from Port Elizabeth, where he completed both his matric and a BA degree. After a period as journalist for the Oosterlig and Eastern Province Herald, he headed the Argus Group’s Eastern Cape branch and later established a news office in the Tygerberg vicinity. In 1984 he was appointed by KWV as their head Media Officer and in 1998 as Editor of the (then) Wynboer magazine, which was published under the auspices of KWV. The first edition published under his editorship appeared in May of that year. From there, the magazine has grown and developed according to his unique, informal style and a large step was taken to change the title of the magazine to WynLand in the year 2000, so as to be more representative of the entire wine industry. With the establishment of VinPro in 2003, the WynLand team, under the leadership of Du Plessis, became part of this new organisation – with fresh challenges and focus. He played a huge role in promoting the image of VinPro within the industry, government and the public until his retirement in 2013. A storyteller of heart and soul, he shared more than 80 of his comic experiences through the Cheers vi’ Eers back-page column.
Dr Bill Gallagher is one of South Africa’s iconic figures when it comes to the food and beverage industry; his experience spans over five decades at the highest level. Group Food & Beverage Director for Africa’s leading hotel chain Southern Sun now Tsogo Sun, Gallagher was responsible for the food and beverage development of many of the company’s outstanding properties. He is a certified Master Chef from Westminster College in London also holds an honorary doctorate in Culinary Arts from the Johnson and Wales University in Miami, USA. Gallagher served as President of the South African Chefs Association for 20 years and was elected President of the World Association of Chefs Societies (90 countries, 10 million members) to serve a term of 4 years: 1996 to 2000. During this time he travelled the world over to promote South African Cuisine and Wines. He was instrumental in the first apprenticeship scheme for young chefs. His involvement with the food and beverage industry has seen him bring to South Africa a host of international culinary celebrities, highlighting the role that food and beverage can play in tourism within Southern Africa. His passion for food and wine has inspired many events over the years with top chefs and wine makers sharing their knowledge. He was the mastermind behind the outstanding culinary feast of three course luncheons served for more than 1,600 guests at the Nederburg Auction for many years. Gallagher is still actively involved with a number of projects, not least of all as joint convener of the World Chefs Tour Against Hunger – a charity program – which feeds 7000 children each day. He has a list of worldwide honorary memberships.
Michael Green has been a wine writer for 40 years. He grew up in Cape Town and was a journalist for the Cape Argus for 15 years. His interest in wine began in the early 1950s when he and other reporters of the Argus formed a syndicate to buy wine from wine cellars in the Cape. The habit grew and for the past 60 years, he says that he has drunk wine everyday of his life. He began writing articles about wine in 1974 and is still doing so. These appeared for many years in The Daily News and still feature on the Durban-based cultural and entertainment website: www.artsmart.co.za. He was a newspaper editor for 20 years, of The Friend in Bloemfontein, the Daily News and the Sunday Tribune in Durban. During this time he was instrumental that wine columns were published regularly in these newspapers. For more than 30 years he was the organiser of a private tasting group in Durban consisting mainly of people within the industry. Michael attended and reported on 18 successive Nederburg wine auctions.
Jos le Roux left the SABC (the South African Broadcasting Corporation) in 1988 after 17 years of service as Manager and went on to become a member of KWV’s Senior Management Team responsible for public relations. With the re-structuring of the KWV Group in 2002, he then became involved with the establishment of VinPro Pty Ltd and, as the first Executive Director, he developed it into an independent and sustainable organisation. Le Roux was the driver behind VinPro’s transformation and thanks to his effective management and strategic investments, services to all contributing members were able to continually expand. He has served on various wine industry boards, trusts and committees and was the first Chairman of FarmMS. After his retirement at the end of 2011 and up to 2014, he was a specialist Director of VinPro.
Jan Scannell was born in Bellville and attended Stellenbosch University. He originally practised as an attorney in Cape Town and in 1979 began working at the (then) Distillers Corporation. He was initially responsible for their legal and operational matters and went on to be appointed Managing Director in 1994. Scannell successfully merged Distillers Corporation with Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery in 2001 to create Distell, bringing together two long-established and formerly competitive companies, each with its own distinctive corporate culture, to forge a new, far stronger entity. Under his leadership, Distell has become one of the top 10 global contenders in brandies and cognacs, a leading producer and marketer of wines exporting to more than 50 countries and the second largest producer of ciders worldwide. Scannell had long demonstrated a strong and ethical leadership, a commitment to building brands and a recognition of and support for talent. Alongside this, he promoted the importance of social and environmental sustainability and balanced his global vision for the company with a meticulous approach to business. He encouraged trade in a range of new markets and had the foresight to recognise the value in acquiring historic global brands and the belief in his team to enhance their profile and profitability: qualities that have helped to build Distell into the highly successful organisation that it is today. After 34 years in the South African alcoholic beverage industry that he helped to shape, Scannell retired in 2013.
For more information, contact Anka du Toit at the Veritas office on tel 021 863 1599, e-mail
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