the once omnipotent South African wine export body has just issued the
Two winemakers employed by KWV were dismissed after it was
established that they were guilty of manipulating two lots of the
company’s 2004 Sauvignon Blanc wines. This follows a
investigation by the Wine and Spirits Board (WSB) about the use of
illegal flavourants in the winemaking process.
KWV co-operated fully with the WSB during the course of the
investigation. KWV had distanced itself from the very beginning,
together with the industry, from any illegal practices and acted
immediately when it was informed of the finding. An urgent and
in-depth investigation was launched.
In addition to the tests undertaken by the WSB, KWV undertook
independent analyses of all its 2004 Sauvignon Blanc wines. The samples
for the independent testing were drawn under the audit supervision of
PriceWaterhouseCoopers. These tests confirmed that two of the
showed deviations. The WSB was kept informed throughout the
these actions and results.
The two designated lots of wine were immediately isolated. The
tank was destined for a later release of the 2004 Laborie Sauvignon
Blanc and the other lot was destined for the 2004 KWV Reserve Sauvignon
Blanc. Both wines will be destroyed under supervision by the WSB.
Neither of these lots has reached the market.
Dr Willem Barnard, CEO of KWV Limited, has emphasised that the
wine makers acted on their own initiative – without authorization,
permission or a mandate – and that KWV was not aware of the
manipulation at any stage. “KWV‘s value system and practices are
at the ethical and legal production of wine. It is a traumatic
incident for us but we believe that it will serve as a serious warning
and an example also for other wine makers.”
KWV employed seven wine makers. After the dismissal of
Nieuwoudt and Gideon Theron, KWV’s entire staff complement recommitted
itself to the company’s ethical code and quality assurance.
The winemaking team led by Sterik de Wet will continue KWV’s
standards of wine production and supply, with an increased focus on
quality control measures.
Dr Barnard is unequivocal that KWV regards this occurrence in
serious light. “KWV is one of the foremost producers in the wine
industry and realises its responsibility towards the industry. We
believe, however, that our quick and decisive actions, together with
our proven record of quality and achievements over many years, will
result in continued support from both the industry and the market
Dr Willem Barnard
CEO: KWV Limited
Tel: +27-21-807 3232
Cellphone: +27-(0)83 269 0564
Fax: +27-21-863 1061