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Raising a Glass to Greatness: 2024’s Recognized Wine Legends

Dr Erna Blancquaert, 2023 honouree in the Viti- and Viniculture category; Carmen Stevens, 2022 recipient of the 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership; Cathy Marston, 2024 honouree in the Wine Advancement category; Dawid Saayman, 2024 honouree in the Viti- and Viniculture category; Norma Ratcliff, 2015 recipient of the 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership; Ilse Ruthford, 2024 honouree for Growing Inclusivity, Wendy Jonker, 2023 honouree in the Wine Advancement category. Back left to right: Rydal Jeftha, 2023 honouree for Growing Inclusivity; Jan Scannell, 2014 recipient of the 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership; Ken Forrester, 2023 recipient of the 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership; and Tim Hutchinson, 2024 recipient of the 1659 Award for Visionary Leadership.

The annual Wine Harvest Commemorative Event, held on 1 February 2024, celebrates the birth of South African wine, calls for the blessing of the new harvest, and honours outstanding contributions to the wine industry. It was hosted at Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest wine-producing farm.

“As always, the honourees are a reflection of the strength of the South African wine industry,” says the Chairman of the Groot Constantia Trust, Clifford van der Venter. “Their contributions ensure the continued success of the industry.”

The categories for recognition are: Visionary Leadership Wine Advancement Growing Inclusivity Viti- and Viniculture.
1659 Award for Visionary Leadership: Tim Hutchinson.
This prestigious award went to Tim Hutchinson, leader of one of the largest independent wine companies in South Africa. His bold moves forever shaped the course of South African wine.

“Recognition by one’s peers makes all the hard work worthwhile. Thanks to all who share my vision. This award is just as much yours,” says Hutchinson.

Wine Advancement: Cathy Marston
Cathy Marston is the 2024 recipient for her contributions to the image of South African wine and the wine industry in general.

Marston is an esteemed wine taster, judge and journalist, as well as a wine educator with global influence. She founded the prestigious International Wine Education Centre (IWEC) in Cape Town, which offers the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) qualifications.  

Growing Inclusivity: Ilse Ruthford
Ilse Ruthford is Managing Director of Compagniesdrift, which is a 100% black-owned company.

Ruthford is a mentor and leader for numerous young people, instilling a strong sense of hope. She is also a board member of the Stellenbosch Wine Route, leading socio-economic development.

Viti- and Viniculture: Dawid Saayman
This award honours individuals for their innovative ideas, technologies, and practices in the wine-making industry.

Dawid Saayman is a soil scientist specialising in viti-viniculture. He is known for defining the concept of terroir in South Africa by identifying and understanding geology, soil types and climate in the South African ‘Wine of Origin’ scheme.

The 2024 Wine Harvest Commemorative Event was made possible with the generous support of Groot Constantia, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Wesgro, South Africa Wine, Standard Bank, Checkers, Die Burger, and Cape Town Tourism.

Visit for more about the Wine Harvest Commemorative Event, the honourees, and the South African wine industry in general. For more on Groot Constantia visit