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Surprise as Top South African Winemaker Quits KWV

Melvyn Minnaar
Posted: January 27, 2001

The recent resignation of acclaimed winemaker Kosie Mvller from KWV, South Africa's large export winery, has stunned the industry. Coming as it did on the eve of the Southern Hemisphere's 2001 harvest, the loss of the high-profile chief cellarmaster, whose name is closely associated with KWV, may be significant for the company.

Since Mvller was appointed head of KWV's winemaking team in 1996, at the age of 28, he has revolutionized the products and image of the co-operative turned international exporter. He convinced the company to invest heavily in new oak and equipment, and instituted a number of racy, new-style wines for which he won numerous local and international awards.

KWV is best known in the United States as a producer of value-priced wines. But Mvller created the Cape's first "cult" wine, the KWV Abraham Perold Paarl 1996 (86 points) -- a site-specific 100 percent Shiraz bottling with a production of 500 cases -- as a flagship for the company and released it at an unprecedented high price of $80 a bottle. (Shortly before he left, Mvller bottled the second KWV Abraham Perold release, a 1998 Shiraz.)

Mvller gave no reason for his apparently sudden resignation. He said he was looking at a couple of options, and would assist another unnamed company with the 2001 harvest.

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Check our recent ratings of KWV wines.

Learn more about South African wines and KWV:

  • Oct. 15, 1999
    A Closer Look at South Africa

  • Nov. 15, 1997
    South African Agreement To Help Black Winemakers

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