The Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) concludes 2021 on a high note, welcoming Alex Starey, Erika Obermeyer and Richard Kershaw as new Guild Members and Shanice du Preez and Mosima Mabelebele to the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme.
The admission of these highly accomplished winemakers to the Guild and dynamic young winemakers entering the Protégé Programme, underlines the Guild’s single-minded vision of winemaking excellence, credibility and meaningful transformation within the South African wine industry. The CWG is the global wine industry leader in this field.
Alex Starey has been the winemaker and viticulturist at Keermont Vineyards in Stellenbosch for the past 16 years. He is constantly striving for excellence and his wines are revered both locally and abroad for their outstanding quality.
“I have always held the Cape Winemakers Guild in the highest esteem and to be given the opportunity to become a member is a huge honour which I am thrilled to accept. I am so grateful to my family, the team at Keermont Vineyards and the Guild members who had the faith to vote for me. Without all of these people, this would not be possible. I look forward to learning from the members of the Guild and will do my best to contribute positively.” says Starey.
Erika Obermeyer is based in Stellenbosch where she makes award-winning wines of excellence under her own label, Erika Obermeyer Wines. Erika’s 20 years’ experience dedicated to making outstanding wines, most recently with her namesake brand, has resulted in her wines constantly receiving critical acclaim across the globe.
Says Obermeyer: “It’s a huge honour and privilege to join the CWG. The passion for winemaking excellence, the camaraderie, sharing of knowledge and always being at the forefront of innovation within the Guild is something I look forward to being part of. The CWG plays a significant role in the development of the South African wine industry, I am excited to get involved with the work the Guild is doing with its Protégé Programme. “
Richard Kershaw is the only Master of Wine who is active as a winemaker in South Africa. His immense knowledge of international wines and wine styles is reflected in the exceptional wines he produces year on year.
“As an international Master of Wine I have been privileged to work with winemakers around the World, but chose to make South Africa my home and the place where I launched my own wines. I am known as a man of detail and I strive for excellence in every bottle I make. It is a great honour to join the CWG, whose purpose it is to set a benchmark for South African wines, and also to build a community intent on creating better practices for our country’s wine industry, as well as supporting Protégés who are so vital in contributing to the future of winemaking in South Africa.” adds Kershaw.
Both protégés were selected from dozens of graduates who applied to join the CWG Protégé Programme. They share a desire of becoming successful winemakers with a hands-on approach, supporting their cellar teams and teaching future generations of winemakers.
Mosima Mabelebele is from Mokopane in Limpopo and has just completed her BSc Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University. She will spend the first year of her three-year internship at Hartenberg, with CWG Member Carl Schultz as her mentor.
“I am a curious individual and this helps me a lot, as it makes the learning environment easy to be in. One day I would like to be a great winemaker, supporting and teaching younger winemakers who are also passionate about winemaking.” says Mabelebele.
Shanice du Preez is from Bothasig in Cape Town and has just graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BSc Viticulture and Oenology. She will spend the first year of her three-year internship at Kanonkop under the mentorship of Abrie Beeslaar.
“My ideal job as a winemaker is to be as hands on as possible. I want to work alongside my cellar team and create the most delicate and beautifully crafted wines. I want my team to be happy as I believe optimism leads to success and this will reflect in the wine being produced.” says du Preez.
This year also sees Gordon Newton Johnson take over the reins as CWG Chair from Andrea Mullineux who served with great distinction, steering the CWG through extremely challenging times for the South African wine industry over the past two years.
Says incoming CWG Chair, Gordon Newton Johnson: “It is an immense privilege to be trusted with guiding the Guild in its journey over the next couple of years with my much admired friends and colleagues. Andrea’s exceptional and resolute leadership over an incredibly strenuous period has ensured that we continue to make broad strides to the betterment of the wine industry. I am incredibly thankful for this. By broadening the ascendant dynamism in our industry, persisting with our understanding of these magnificent landscapes from which we make our wines, and nurturing the diverse talent that this country has to offer, South African wines are boundless in their contribution to excellence and relevance in the world of wine. I hope and undertake for the Guild to play a meaningful part in that. ”
Newton Johnson will be joined by Samantha O’Keefe as Vice Chair, JD Pretorius as Treasurer, Morné Vrey as Cellarmaster and Carl Schultz who looks after the CWG Strategy and Procedure portfolio.