Wine Personality of the Year

2023 - Pieter Ferreira

At the annual ICWM black-tie dinner held at Creation Wines on Saturday, 12 August, Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira, chief operating officer and visionary winemaker at Graham Beck Wines, was designated as the 2023 ICWM Wine Personality of the Year. 

As the long-serving chairman of the Cap Classique Producers’ Association founded in 1992, Ferreira has been the driving force behind the rise of Cap Classique as a legitimate bottle-fermented sparkling wine style in its own right.

Ferreira has petitioned for the foundation of a quality charter and detailed indicators to protect the quality and reputation of the class and this has led to ongoing research and experimental projects in pursuit of its advancement.

Ferreira first crafted the maiden vintage of his Cap Classique 32 years ago and positioned Graham Beck as a world leader in the production of premium Cap Classique which was affirmed by international critical acclaim, awards, and special honours.

Ferreira actively champions Cap Classique globally and, in association with the Cape Wine Academy, the recently launched Cap Classique Academy has further inspired the trade and consumers through education. He generously shares his experience and skills by consulting and advising fellow members and producers.

He was the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year 2004 in the Cap Classique category.

Cape Wine Masters, ICWM Wine Personality of the Year, Pieter Bubbles Ferreira

Jacques Steyn (chairperson) and Pieter Ferreira

2022 - Beyers Truter

Beyers Truter of Beyerskloof Winery was designated the Wine Personality of the Year for 2022  after a lifetime of achievement in the wine sphere. As founder and longtime chairman of the Pinotage Association, Truter has played a vital role in educating consumers in South Africa and around the world on the red wine he so dearly loves – Pinotage.

He is the unsurpassed eight-time winner of the Pinotage Top Ten Competition and has won many other prestigious awards, including the 1987 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year for Pinotage and the 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership at the 10th annual Wine Harvest Commemorative event in February 2021.

Bennie Howard, Beyers Truter, Jacques Steyn (chairperson)

2021 - Rico Basson

The annual Institute of Cape Wine Masters’ Black Tie Dinner was held on Saturday, 11 September 2021 at Jordan Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. This prestigious event on the ICWM calendar is also the platform to announce the ICWM Wine Personality of the Year award.

Rico Basson, CEO of Vinpro, was designated Wine Personality of the Year. Vinpro is a non-profit company which represents close to 2 600 South African wine producers, cellars and industry stakeholders.  Basson was given this award for the sterling work he did to lead the South African wine industry in its lobbying efforts with the South African government during the series of national lockdowns during the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic since March 2020.

Together with other stakeholders he was at the forefront to voice the wine industry’s viewpoint during the banning of production, movement, distribution, exporting and selling of wine and alcohol; afterwards, when some concessions were made to allow the 2020 harvest to be completed; during the lifting of the export ban which is estimated to have cost the industry more than R2 billion; followed by the lifting of the domestic ban on selling of alcohol across any channel, including online, and the resumption of normal trading, but without patrons being able to buy alcohol or drink wine in restaurants; and then during the reinstatement of yet another domestic ban.

Basson is also involved in an industry-wide effort to gain legal support for its appeal to the government via a High Court action suit to give the wine sector some much-needed concessions to prevent further ruin of the businesses of hundreds of wine producers and wineries and the loss of an estimated 18 000 jobs.

Jacques Steyn (chairperson), Rico Basson, Bennie Howard

2020 - Platter's Guide

At the annual Institute of Cape Wine Masters Dinner held on Saturday 28 November 2020 at Jewels Restaurant at Spice Route, the annual Wine Personality of the Year was announced and a new annual floating trophy introduced – named after Dave Hughes, the founder of the Cape Wine Academy in 1979 and Honorary Cape Wine Master. The Dave Hughes award honours the CWM who has made a notable contribution to the Institute of Cape Wine Masters (ICWM), wine education or the wine industry in general.

Philip van Zyl was designated Wine Personality of the Year – in recognition of his major contribution to the South African wine industry as the longest serving editor of the Platter’s wine guide for the past 23 years. A journalist since leaving university for a number of newspapers, he and his wife Cathy, started their wine journey by signing up for the Cape Wine Academy courses in Johannesburg.  Since he took over from Erica Platter in 1998 the guide has continued to grow in stature and has become the most comprehensive database of producers and their wines in South Africa. He dedicates six months of his life every year to edit this amazing guide and the volume of work he handles for this mammoth task is difficult to comprehend. He has been widely praised for his precise and thorough editing of this information-packed and reader-friendly wine guide.

Bennie Howard, Philip van Zyl, Jacques Steyn (chairperson)


2019 - Cathy van Zyl

This year the Institute of Cape Wine Masters designated internationally acclaimed wine judge Cathy van Zyl, MW, as the Wine Personality of the Year at a gala dinner held at the Longridge Wine Estate on Saturday, 11 May.

Cathy van Zyl was the third South African to be designated as a Master of Wine by the Institute of Masters of Wine in London in 2005.

This accolade marks her overall contribution to the industry through wine education, her loyal promotion of South African wines as writer for the online Grape newsletter and as associate editor of the Platter Guide, and her stature as judge on international and local wine shows.Cathy is the ex-chair of the Institute of Masters of Wine’s education committee and currently a member of its Council.

Duimpie Bayly, Philip van Zyl, Cathy van Zyl, Conrad Louw (chairperson), Bennie Howard

2018 - Rosa Kruger

Rosa Kruger, well-known viticulturist, now the driving force behind the Old Vines Project was designated Wine Personality of the Year.

She receives it for her dedication to training in the field of viticulture and her passion for the old vines in South Africa, a project that she has nurtured since 2002. She believes that it is essential to train the entire workforce in the industry, as by getting close to the vineyard workers and showing them exactly how to deal with all aspects of viticulture, this adds quality to the grapes and the wines in turn.

Rosa has accumulated extensive experience working in various vineyards in South Africa, France, Spain, Italy, Argentina and Slovakia. The award was handed to her at the gala dinner of the Institute on Saturday, 5 May 2018, held at the award-winning restaurant Overture in Stellenbosch.

Bennie Howard, Duimpie Bayly, Rosa Kruger, Conrad Louw (chairperson), Jeff Grier

2017 - Cassie du Plessis

At the annual Institute of Cape Wine Masters’ Black Tie Dinner on Saturday, 6 May 2017, the special award of Wine Personality of the Year was presented to Cassie du Plessis. The glamorous event was held at The Vine Bistro at Glenelly in Stellenbosch.

Cassie du Plessis, former editor of Winelands magazine and now media consultant, freelance writer and photographer, was designated Wine Personality of the Year in recognition of his contribution to wine journalism by promoting the image of wine over a period of 33 years – from his first appointment as chief media officer for KWV in 1984 through to his 15-year editorship of WynLand (formerly Wynboer) magazine, and his stint as communications manager of VinPro until his retirement from KWV in November 2013.

Conrad Louw (chairperson), Cassie du Plessis, Bennie Howard

2016 - Charl Theron

At the annual Institute of Cape Wine Masters Dinner on Saturday, 7 May, the special award of Wine Personality of the Year was presented to Charl Theron. The glamorous dinner was held at Old Mutual House, Constantia.

Charl Theron is the CEO of the Cape Vintners Classification, as well as a member of the technical committee at the Wine and Spirit Board. He was a lecturer in Oenology at Stellenbosch University for many years, and is still a guest lecturer at the CWA.

His achievements include a stint as director of KWV as well as many other leadership positions in the industry. He has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to improving the quality of South African wines through his membership of many wine organisations.

Charl’s love of wine has seen him adopting new ways of training wine lovers through his wine appreciation course and course for judging wine.

Prof. Charl Theron, Dr Winnie Bowman (chairperson)

2015 - David Biggs

David Biggs was awarded the title of the  ICWM’s Wine Personality of the Year at a prestigious function held at Old Mutual House in Cape Town’s southern suburbs on 09/05/2015.

He has travelled a complicated route to arrive in the world of wine. Brought up on a sheep farm in the Karoo he tried a number of careers, attending a course in graphic design at Michaelis Art School, becoming a milk tester in the Eastern Cape, a cattle rancher in Mpumalanga, a Basotho blanket designer in Lesotho and credit manager for a wholesale company in Johannesburg (such a failure that he threw an adding machine out of an office window in Sauer Street and resigned).

After arriving in journalism he was employed by the Friend Newspaper in Bloemfontein and later transferred to the Cape Argus in 1975. Here he was told to be a wine writer. (”But I know nothing about wine.” “Well, you’re a journalist, so learn about it.”) David enrolled at the Gilbeys Wine school (The Cape Wine Academy was not yet in existence) and after a basic course knew “everything about wine.” He then enrolled for an advanced course and emerged knowing :”nothing at all” about wine. He has been writing about wine – and learning about it – since 1978.

He qualified officially as a wine judge in 2000 and has judged in every single Veritas competition to date. He also judged in other competitions like the Muscadel Championships and Terroir Awards.

He has published several books about wine, brandy and cocktails and off course his beloved Karoo. His most recent book, The lighter side of wine is illustrated by the well-known Frans Groenewald.

He has joined the internet explosion and runs a wine-based website called

Other interests: Flying – not only did he obtain his private pilot’s licence, but has the distinction of having crashed a light aircraft and walked away from the wreckage. He has a yacht skipper’s licence and has sailed across the Atlantic and to St Helena Island. He’s passionate about Vespa scooters and has toured Europe twice on Vespas, as well as doing long scooter trips through South Africa.

David plays the piano badly and the harmonica and piano accordion equally badly. He can also squeeze a tune out of a set of bagpipes, but has been polite enough not to do so in company. He regards life as fun and wine as an important part of that fun.

David Biggs, Dr Winnie Bowman (chairperson)

2014 - Hein Koegelenberg

The Institute of Cape Wine Masters has named La Motte and Leopard’s Leap CEO Hein Koegelenberg as its Wine Personality of the year.

Hein began making wine in 1984 at Spier Wine Estate and later was CEO at Windmeul Cellar before moving to La Motte. A huge supporter of and ambassador for South African wines at home and abroad, Hein is Chairman of the Franschhoek Wine Valley Association and has forged links with Asia to sell and promote SA wines. He is also focussed on wine tourism, constantly looking for good examples on his travels and feels SA should make this a priority.

Hein is passionate about wine education and has been pivotal in the success of the Cape Wine Academy. He enjoys keeping up with technology – his tweets and website ( have a considerable following. An ex Rugby player of note, Hein still enjoys golf, but as a central figure in the SA wine industry, Hein is happy to devote his time to supporting and promoting the industry, and the Institute of Cape Wine Masters salutes and thanks him for that.

Dr Winnie Bowman (chairperson), Hein Koegelenberg, Dr Andy Roediger

2013 - Prof. Eben Archer

The Institute of Cape Wine Masters (ICWM) awarded its “Wine Personality of the Year” award on Saturday 4 May 2013 to world renowned viticulturist Prof Eben Archer.

The Chairman of the ICWM, Dr Andy Roediger, says that Prof Archer has contributed widely to the education of many viticulturists, wine makers and wine farmers in South Africa to produce better grapes and make better wine.

Prof Archer has been praised for his work as a researcher, academic, mentor and consultant. He has a PhD from the University of Montpellier in France, did pioneering research for many years at Nietvoorbij outside Stellenbosch and taught at the University of Stellenbosch. Although retired, he still consults for more than 20 wine farms.

Dr Andy Roediger (chairperson), Prof. Eben Archer, Duimpie Bayly

2012 - Dr Paul Clüver

The ICWM’s Wine Personality of the Year award for 2012 was presented to Dr Paul Clüver of Paul Clüver Wines and De Rust Estate in Elgin.

His visionary contribution to the wine industry includes biodiversity, conservation and environmental tourism as well as black empowerment initiatives over many years.

His award was presented to him at a gala dinner at 96 Winery Road Restaurant, Somerset West, on Saturday 5 May by the Chairman of the Institute, Dr Andy Roediger.

Dr Andy Roediger (chairperson), Dr Paul Clüver

2011 - Spatz Sperling

The Wine Personality of the Year award for 2011 was presented to wine legend Spatz Sperling by the Institute of Cape Wine Masters at a dinner that was held at the Old Barrel Cellar at Delheim on 7 May 2011.

Spatz came to South Africa after World War II, in 1951 to the farm De Drie Sprong, which was renamed Delheim (Del’s home) after Spatz’s aunt, Del Hoheisen, who was the original owner. Spatz’s first success was a sweet wine called ‘Spatzendreck’ being Delheim’s ‘infamous’ sweet wine which he perfected in 1961.

In 1972 Spatz, together with Neil Joubert of Spier and Frans Malan of Simonsig, established the Stellenbosch Wine Route, which was the beginning of wine tourism in South Africa and the start of all the wine routes that followed. He has also been honoured for his contribution in training young wine makers and sharing his practical knowledge and passion with them and many other people in the wine business.

He has groomed a number of highly successful present generation winemakers – Josef Kramer, Kevin Arnold, Jeff Grier, Philip Costandius, Chris Keet, Kevin Grant, Martin Meinert and Conrad Vlok. The Certificate of Honour was handed over to Spatz by the newly elected Chairman of the Institute, Dr Andy Roediger.

Dr Andy Roediger (chairperson), Spatz Sperling, Duimpie Bayly

2010 - Pietman Retief

On the 8th of May 2010, the Institute of Cape Wine Masters presented their Wine Personality of the Year Award to Pietman Retief for his contribution to the Wine and Brandy Industry over more than 40 years.

He was the Executive Director of The Brandy Foundation for 12 years and previously headed up the corporate PR division of Distillers Corporation. He is still actively involved in wine tourism and education.

Dave Hughes, Pietman Retief, Duimpie Bayly, Bennie Howard

2009 - Charles Back

The ICWM Wine Personality Award of 2009 was presented to wine legend Charles Back of Fairview at a glittering black tie event held at the impressive KWV Cathedral Cellar in Paarl, on the 9th of May.

It is said that wine is made in the vineyard, but it is the influence of exceptional people in the wine industry who capture what nature has given them, in a glass for all to experience and enjoy. Charles Back is one of those exceptional people in our wine industry. Charles is a man of vision and has a fine-tuned business sense. He is passionate about the soil, vineyards and wine.

Under his guidance, the family farm Fairview has developed into one of the bright stars of the South African wine industry. Charles’ wine making vision for Fairview, and where he sees the farm and the South African industry in the future, has taken him all over the world. Through his travels he has developed an immense knowledge of winemaking practices and trends, and has applied and shared this knowledge back in South Africa.

Charles’ role has evolved over time. He is still very much involved in the winemaking process, but devotes increasing amounts of his time to the development of new sites, collaborations with others in the industry, and the achieving of his long term goals for Fairview.

In 1997, he initiated the development of the Fairvalley Workers Association, in conjunction with local government. He donated funds to purchase a 38 acre farm near Fairview. The association is an economic development initiative, and the workers, who have served Fairview for many years, are now producing their own wine, and plan to build more houses and facilities on the land. Charles provides cellar space for the production of the Fairvalley wines at no cost.

The ICWM presented the annual award to Charles in recognition of his success on the local and export markets and his passionate role in the industry.

Charles Back, Bennie Howard (chairperson)

2008 - Dawid Saayman

At the annual Black Tie dinner at Beluga restuarant on 10 May 2008, the Institute of Cape Wine Masters presented its Wine Personality of the Year Award to Dawid Saayman.

Bennie Howard (chairperson). Dawid Saayman, Duimpie Bayly

2007 - Tony Mossop (posthumous)

At the AGM black tie dinner on 05/05/2007 at Reuben’s Restaurant in Franschhoek, the ICWM presented two ” Wine Personality of the Year” Awards.

It has taken two years of continuous effort to find time in the busy life of Su Birch of Wines of South Africa (WOSA) to present the award for Wine Personality of the Year 2005 to her, in recognition of her efforts to increase the exposure and sales of South African wine in export markets.

The second award, the Wine Personality of the Year 2007, was made to Tony Mossop CWM, and accepted by his wife Lyn. We recognised Tony for his efforts to raise the profile of South African wine, locally and internationally, and his widespread influence in professional wine judging, in the Wine of the Month Club, SAA selections, Veritas, Wine Magazine, Diners Club Wine Maker of the Year and Young Wine maker of the Year Competitions. He was, of course, also one of our first CWM’s and a founder member of the Institute.

Margaret Fry (secretary), Lyn Mossop, Su Birch, Bennie Howard (chairperson)

2006 - Gunter Brözel

Wheatfields Restaurant at Meerendal hosted the Annual Dinner of the Institute of Cape Wine Masters on Saturday 6th May. At the function the Institute presented their Wine Personality of the Year Award to Gunter Brözel, one of the doyens of the South African Wine industry.

Gunter Brözel was the cellar master at Nederburg for 33 years and this award was made in recognition for his contribution to the wine industry over many years. He was responsible for building the quality of Nederburg wines over all the years into one of the most well known brands in South Africa and around the world. He has been a passionate wine man all his life and has been honored also for educating consumers through his many wine tastings where he has been known for his poetic wine language.

Gunter pioneered noble late harvest wines in South Africa when Nederburg Edelkeur was made in 1969. Gunter and his Edelkeur were also responsible for starting the now famous Nederburg Auction, as the auction was used as a platform to sell the wine. He was also the first winemaker to put a Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay blend on the market. His 1974 Nederburg Auction Cabernet Sauvignon has been referred to as the best red wine from South Africa by Robert Mondavi of California. Gunter was also the first South African to receive the “International Winemaker of the Year Award” from the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London in 1985.

Margaret Fry (secretary), Gunter Brözel, Bennie Howard (chairperson)

2005 - Su Birch

At the AGM black tie dinner on 05/05/2007 at Reuben’s Restaurant in Franschhoek, the ICWM presented two “Wine Personality of the Year” Awards.

It has taken two years of continuous efforts to find time in the busy life of Su Birch of Wines of South Africa (WOSA) to present the award for Wine Personality of the Year 2005 to her in recognition of her efforts to increase the exposure and sales of South African wine in export markets.

Margaret Fry (secretary), Su Birch

2004 - Danie de Wet

At the AGM black tie dinner in 2004, the Institute presented the Wine Personality of the Year award to Danie de Wet.

The award was made in recognition of Danie’s work in raising the profile of South African wines in export markets, his leadership in the wider wine industry and his efforts to understand and share information about wood maturation and Chardonnay.

2003 - 1993

2003 – Colin Collard
2002 – Michael Fridjhon
2001 – Frans Malan
2000 – Cape Wine Academy
1999 – Dave Hughes
1998 – Prof Joel van Wyk
1997 – Phyllis Hands
1996 – Sydney Back
1995 – Peter Devereux (posthumous)
1994 – Julius Lazlo
1993 – John Platter