The IWSC sets the international benchmark for quality, where experts, critics, buyers, producers, distillers, sommeliers, and distributors judge wines and spirits throughout the year to find the best in the industry. With an impressive track record dating back to 1969, it is a competition that continues to reward excellence, showcasing the very best of what the world has to offer.
“Our small Vilafonté team is stunned by this IWSC recognition from one of the longest-running international awards – a true honour for our South African winery to be counted amongst the greatest producers in the world,” said Mike Ratcliffe, co-founder and managing partner.
IWSC CEO, Christelle Guibert, highlighted the quality of entries: “It is incredibly competitive to even make the shortlist for each trophy, and so all producers should be very proud of this achievement. Huge congratulations too must go to our 2021 Outstanding Producers RL Seale & Company and Vilafonté. These producers join the IWSC’s very highest echelon of producers to hold these sought-after industry awards, joining the likes of industry stalwarts Ridgeview and Kanonkop for wine, and Distell and William Grant for spirits.”
First planted in 1997 and located on the bench of the Simonsberg Mountains, Vilafonté is a first-of-its-kind partnership between South African and American wine specialists Dr Zelma Long, Dr Phillip Freese and Mike Ratcliffe. This unique winery, which refers to itself as “different by design”, is named for the ancient vilafontes soils which have been dated to be aged between 750,000 and 1.5 million years old. This ancient terroir gives rise to smaller vines, lower yields and highly concentrated fruit – perfect for the growing of fine wines.
Receiving the titles of Outstanding Wine Producer and Best Red Wine Producer of 2021 from the IWSC, is especially celebrated by the team as it harmoniously coincides with the impending 25th anniversary of Vilafonté as well as the much-anticipated release of the Vilafonté Series C 2019. Striking, resolute, seductive… These are just a few words used by Zelma to encapsulate the essence of Series C 2019, a culmination of a life-long dream and a glimpse into what is possible when winegrowers and nature operate in unison. A true reminder that desired moments cannot be rushed.
Other 2021 IWSC trophy winners can be viewed here.