view our mobi site
South African Wine Industry Honours Danie de Wet with 1659 Award
published on:

A true pioneer. Skilled winemaker. Industry leader. Someone who revolutionised the South African wine industry in terms of vineyard plant material and wine excellence.

These were some of the words used to describe Danie de Wet, pioneering wine maker and owner of De Wetshof Estate in Robertson, upon his receiving the South African wine industry’s 1659 Honorary Award which is annually presented by Groot Constantia Estate and Die Burger, one of the country’s leading newspapers.

The recipient of the1659 Honorary Award is chosen by a panel of wine industry stalwarts and presented to an individual who has created a legacy and played a profound role in the South African wine industry. This award is the highlight of the annual Blessing of the Harvest, held at Groot Constantia, South Africa’s first wine estate which was founded in 1685. The year 1659 marks the year when the first grapes were pressed in South African for the making of wine on 2 February.

Upon receiving the award at a spectacular evening function held before the original Groot Constantia cellar, Danie said that it was the highlight of his professional career.

“What makes this award so very special is to receive it on the grounds of Groot Constantia, a wine farm that deserves to be seen as the ancestral home of the South African wine industry,” said Danie. “This is where it all began and everything the industry has achieved is the result of the founding of this magical estate and its magnificent legacy in terms of wine excellence and wine culture.”

Danie said that an award such as the one bestowed upon him can never be achieved by one person alone. “In my career I was fortunate to have fallen under the influence of mentors and colleagues who helped me grow along with the industry and who inspired my actions on various fronts,” he said. Among these were Desiderius Pongracz, whose knowledge of vine plant material inspired Danie to ensure the South African industry was not left behind in accessing plantings of new grape varieties, Frans Malan and Sydney Back, who were pioneers of the wine estate legislation and his own father Johann, who founded De Wetshof.

During the course of the event many of Danie’s wine industry colleagues paid tribute to Danie, including wine maker Neil Ellis, Kanonkop Estate owner Johann Krige, industry personality Duimpie Bayly and wine journalist Winnie Bowman.

Duimpie Bayly said, “Danie is a man of passion for his family, his friends as well as wine and its legacy and culture. He has been involved intimately with the local and the South African wine industry. I have worked closely with Danie on many fronts, including in developing our country’s wine of origin system. He is a man who relishes a challenge, a great leader and an astute listener. He will forever be associated with the development of Chardonnay in South Africa as well as his tireless work in ensuring our industry works toward a common goal of achieving global excellence.”

Johann Krige summed up the feeling of many of his colleagues by stating: “Danie is simply the greatest ambassador of the South African wine industry.”


Tel: +27.236151853   Fax: +27.236151915   Email: frontdesk@dewetshof.com  
P.O. Box 31, Robertson, 6705, South Africa