I enjoy collecting pictures of famous folks in the wine business (and chefs, too). This is Beyers Truter, a delightful, down-to-earth, and extremely famous winemaker in South Africa. He was relatively young when he was awarded the Robert Mondavi Trophy as the International Winemaker of the Year at the 1991 International Wine and Spirit Competition in London. The former winemaker for one of the best wineries in South Africa, Kanonkop, he twice received the Pichon Longueville Comtesse de la Lalande trophy for the best blended red wine at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London. Currently he is the owner of his own winery, Beyerskloof and makes wine for other brands as well.
We met at an intimate dinner party hosted by Anthony Bell at Bell Winery in Napa. I was invited by Dave Jefferson, managing director of Silkbush Mountain Vineyards, (a client of mine); we were joined by half a dozen up-and-coming winemakers who Beyers had brought to California to learn about other winemaking regions. Coincidently, the Bell Vineyards dinner followed Dominican University’s International Wine Marketing Conference where I spent a few days with folks from New Zealand, France, Australia, South Africa and other countries.
* Mr. Truter is also the founder of the Pinotage Association with the mission of improving the growing, making and marketing of Pinotage grapes and wines. Anyone who thinks they know Pinotage needs to drink from his cellar! He brought some nice bottles to the dinner party. I know Beyers hasn’t been at Kanonkop for years, but parenthetically my mouth still waters when I think of opening a Kanonkop Pinotage.