South African Brandy has again made history, this time at the Veritas Wine & Spirit Awards by producing the very first entry in the venerable competition’s 31-year existence to receive a perfect score. 

The achievement by KWV 15 brandy crowns a year of spectacular achievements for South Africa’s world-class spirit. 

The roll of honour reflected at Veritas, announced in Paarl last week, echoes the performance of brandies at the recent Michelangelo International Wine & Spirit Awards.

“SA Brandy is really on a high,” declares Cape Wine Master and experienced brandy judging panel chair, Dr Winifred Bowman. Dr Bowman is technical director of Michelangelo International Wine & Spirit Awards, and the brandy panel chair at Veritas.

“While all the distillers may be very proud of their achievements, their efforts pay homage to the many great pioneers. Likewise, their work is a bridge to those who follow.”

SA Brandy Foundation director Christelle Reade-Jahn says: “The gradient of excellence that began many generations ago, leading South Africa to become recognised internationally as a leading maker of fine brandy, climbs steadily with every new generation.”

“It is an industry founded on tradition, skill and innovation, that have ensured another string of top accolades this year.”

The most recent Veritas awards, where 24 brandies were entered, once again reflected of this heritage.

In the category for Potstill brandies, Double Gold went to D’Aria The Piccolo 5 Year Potstill Brandy; Durbanville Hills 10 Year Old Merlot Potstill Brandy; KWV 10 Year Old Potstill Brandy; KWV 15 Year Alambic Blend Potstill Brandy; KWV 20 Year Potstill Brandy; Van Ryn’s 15 Year Single Potstill Brandy; and, Van Ryn’s 20 Year Single Potstill Brandy.

In the category for standard brandy, a Double Gold went to KWV 3 Year Old Finest Blend Brandy.

Gold medals in the standard category went to KWV 5 Year Old Superior Blend Brandy; Richelieu 10 Year Old Brandy; Richelieu International Premium Brandy; and, Viceroy 5 Year Old Brandy. Potstill category Gold medals went to Bontstaan Potstill Brandy; and, Van Ryn’s 12 Year Single Potstill Brandy. 
The shining star in the competition was of course KWV’s brandy team headed by Spirits Manager Pieter de Bod. They alone were responsible for four Double Gold medals alone while the KWV 15 scored 100/100 points. 
“It is an unbelievable recognition of the entire team’s commitment and passion in always giving their best,” says Pieter. “I am super proud of each of them – Ilse du Toit and Lourens Stander – and we are very grateful to Veritas for the incredible honour afforded to outstanding brandies.”
Over the past decade, KWV has won the trophy for best brandy seven times between the ISC and IWSC, and also five years consecutively between the two competitions, the trophy for Best Brandy and Cognac Producer in the world. 
KWV’s participation in international events was hampered as were others, by the pandemic. Those competitions they did enter this year however, produced Gold for KWV 10, 15 and 20 at the World Spirits Awards; Gold and category winner for KWV XO at the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits competition; and, the trophy for best pot-distilled brandy for the KWV 15 at the Old Mutual Trophy Show.
Similar outstanding results for SA Brandy were achieved at an equally auspicious occasion – the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirit Awards. This event fields a panel of global experts whose ratings provide an indication of how SA Brandy is perceived worldwide. 
The achievements here included:
  • Trophies for Musgrave – Copper Black Honey (Most Innovative Product) and Oude Molen XO (Brandy Trophy and Top Scoring Spirits Grand Prix Winner).
  • Platinum for Joseph Barry Distillers – Ladismith Cape Brandy
  • Gold for Boplaas Potstill Reserve Brandy 8YO; Die Kalahari Truffel Potketelbrandewyn; Durbanville Hills Merlot Potstill brandy 2010; Double Barrel Potstill Brandy 3 YO; Joseph Barry XO, VSOP and VS; Karo Cape Brandy XO 2009; Musgrave Copper Vanilla; Bontstaan Brandy; Bayede! XO, Oude Molen VSOP and VS; and, Spirit of Limpopo 5 YO potstill bandy 2016.
It is notable that many of the top achievers featuring in recent years are craft brands. “It’s pleasing to see this diversity, but also that craft brandies are intent on quality,” says Dr Bowman. “This widens the appeal of brandy in general, but also the diversity available to mixologists.”
“In general, the standard remains excellent and continues to improve year on year.”
For more information about South African Brandy visit www.sabrandy.co.za.