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Prestigious Wine Harvest Commemorative Event 2023 Set To Honour Visionary Leaders Of The SA Wine Industry

Annually on 2 February, the Wine Harvest Commemorative Event honours exceptional individuals for their outstanding and enduring contributions to advancing the South African (SA) wine industry.

This highlight on the wine calendar also coincides with the celebration of the birthday of the SA wine industry. In 2023, the 364th year of South African wine heritage will be celebrated at Groot Constantia.

Celebration of wine heritage contributes to future growth

“We want to encourage and invite the wine industry and wine lovers across the globe, to celebrate with us and embrace the rich SA wine heritage we are so very proud of. We’d be honoured to raise a glass with everyone as we toast more than three and a half centuries of great wine-making in our country. And while we look back at our rich wine history, let’s also invest in the future by honouring our leaders whose visionary leadership is of immeasurable value for the future growth of the industry,” says Jean Naudé, CEO of Groot Constantia.

The wine sector annually contributes R55 billion to the GDP and employs more than 265 000 people.  The celebration of the Wine Harvest Commemorative Event provides a further platform to promote South African wine sales and wine tourism.

Opportunity to recognise ground-breaking work of visionary leaders

In 2012 the Board of Groot Constantia reinstituted the Wine Harvest Commemorative Event, expressly to encourage and honour visionary leadership in the wine industry. This prestigious black-tie occasion has three aspects, encompassing the blessing of the harvest, the commemoration of the first wine from Cape grapes made in 1659, and honouring SA wine industry leaders.

Over the years, prolific individuals were honoured for their visionary leadership and contribution to the wine industry with the 1659 Visionary Leadership Award, such as Spatz Sperling, Dave Hughes, Jan Scannell, Norma Ratcliff, Beyers Truter and the Unsung Wine Workers – then and now – as well as Jan Boland Coetzee, Charles Back, Danie De Wet and, in 2022, Carmen Stevens. 

In 2021, three additional categories were introduced. These are Growing Inclusivity, Wine Advancement, and Viticulture and Wine Creation. Michael Fridjhon, Ntsiki Biyela, Johan Reyneke, Denise Stubbs, Francois Viljoen and Christine Rudman were honoured within these categories.

How to get involved in the celebrations

There are various ways in which individuals and organisations can join in the celebrations:

  • Add Thursday, 2 February 2023 to your calendar and join in celebratory functions of South Africa’s lasting wine legacy throughout the month. Keep an eye out for detail in the media.
  • To join the celebration virtually, follow the link on 2 February 2023 and raise your glass to South African wine.
  • Share your special celebratory events of the SA Wine Birthday on social media with @sawineharvest using the hashtag #HappyBirthdaySAwine.
  • Wine Harvest Commemorative Event tickets cost R1000 (VAT included) per person. This prestigious black tie event includes a sit down dinner with entertainment. For more information or to book, email

Let’s all wish South African wine a happy birthday!