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Western Cape Business 2017 edition

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The 2017 edition of Western Cape Business is the 10th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2005, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide to the Western Cape province. The Western Cape has numerous promising investment and business opportunities and this issue includes contributions from Alan Winde (Minister of Economic Opportunities for the Western Cape Government), interviews with Ryan Ravens (CEO of Accelerate Cape Town), Arifa Parkar (Western Cape Business Opportunities Forum CEO), Wesgro CEO Tim Harris and Lance Greyling (Invest Cape Town) as well as contributions from various business leaders. In addition, you will also find comprehensive features on all the key sectors in the Western Cape.


INTERVIEW The magic grape Beyers Truter, who is associated internationally with the Pinotage varietal, shares some insights on the local winemaking industry. Beyers Truter BIOGRAPHY Beyers Truter received a BSc Agric degree from the University of Stellenbosch before starting his winemaking career at Kanonkop. Today he is the cellar master and co-owner of Beyerskloof. He played an enormous role in the development of the Pinotage red wine grape varietal when, in 1991, he was named international Winemaker of the Year with a Pinotage wine at the International Wine and Spirits Competition. He was also the founder and chairman of the Pinotage Association. He has won numerous local and international awards. Please provide an overview of your business operations and the Beyerskloof Wine Estate. Beyerskloof was established in 1988 and is known internationally for its Pinotage wines, the only indigenous South African variety. We have grown tremendously over the last few years and we are considered one of the foremost producers of Pinotage and Cape Blends in South Africa. Although I don’t want to grow too fast, there is a big demand for South African wines. My son is now in charge of the vineyards and winemaking and we intend to expand operations. I regard the fact that my son is actively involved in the business and will continue to build it as the biggest reward of my life thus far. Could you explain something about your relationship with Pinotage? I have a very long relationship with Pinotage. I would say the relationship started in 1981; I was farming at Kanonkop and I tasted a 1972 wine from Simonsig. I liked it so much that I phoned winemaker Frans Malan to ask him about it – it was a Pinotage, which at that stage was a kind of “black sheep” of wines. Well, I have always been fond of “black sheep” and the relationship has flourished ever since. In 1995, I established the Pinotage Association, which focuses on prioritising research ideas, knowledge dissemination and marketing of the varietal. It is a magic grape with a wonderful classic taste! WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017 80

INTERVIEW Please describe the relationship with Nedbank, in terms of your business and the wine industry. Nedbank does a lot to support the wine industry; in particular, they sponsor the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction. In addition to well-known estates, individuals are also able to market their topclass wines through the event. They are also involved in the sponsorship of the Nedbank Vinpro Information Day held annually. Nedbank is also our Business Bank. What is your view of the current state of the wine industry in South Africa and the outlook for the next five-to-10 years? Some South African wines are doing very well. I could mention Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, local sales of which have grown by 73% and 60% respectively over the past five years. I foresee that it will continue to go well for the wine industry in the short-to-medium term but unfortunately the outlook is not as positive for the grape farmers. The price of grapes has not risen as much as the price of the value-added product – wine in the bottle. What prompted you to start a community project focusing on alcohol abuse among women and youth pregnancy, and what impact has the project had? Some years ago, I started the FAITH Fund (Foetal Alcohol-Syndrome and Interrelated Treatment Help Fund) and we have been working at communicating the negative effects of drinking during pregnancy ever since. It is widely known that the Western Cape has a serious problem when it comes to Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). We have what we call the “Klop-klop” project, where we literally send people door-to-door to speak to farm workers, particularly pregnant women, about the dangers of drinking while pregnant. We follow up by visiting pregnant women each month until they deliver and we provide food and necessities to assist them. We also visit schools and clinics as far afield as Beaufort West and Graaff-Reinet. I do this because I believe that every child needs a future and FAS robs children of a future they can look forward to. How is the drought likely to impact the wine industry? Typically during periods of dry weather you have a smaller crop but sometimes a superior crop, so the effects “cancel each other out”. Longer term, however, continuing drought would significantly affect volumes, which would affect wine sales. 81 WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017

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