Centenary Celebrations: KWV Shares the Legacy of the SA Wine Industry
For a century, KWV has been producing remarkable wines and adding to the vast legacy of the South African Wine industry. This legacy is something the brand has always respected and shared in a unique way – by depicting it on engraved, massive 'stukvats' (large wine- or brandy-vats). These are housed in KWV's impressive Cathedral Cellar, where their eponymous range of wine is matured.
When you walk into the Cathedral Cellar you meet a line of up to 32 'stukvats' placed on either side of the main hall. With a circumference of three metres, they tell the story of winein the country; similar to the way the stations of the cross are presented in a church. They mark momentous occasions and philosophies, like the arrival of the first vines in 1655, the reliance winemakers and viticulturists have on nature and the opening of KWV in 1918.
The first barrels were carved by father and son team, Karl and Karl-Heinz Wilhelm, in 1968 and 1970. Between them they carved 12 barrels. In 1987, in celebration of Paarl’s tercentenary, two new vats were added by South African artist Ruth Wolter. And this year as part of KWV's centenary celebrations, wood-carving artist Ivan Hunter created their latest artwork. The masterly crafted façade honours KWV's contribution by depicting the Cathedral Cellar.
There are 'stukvats' that are waiting to showcase the future of the industry, so the legacy can continue to be documented.
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The Cathedral Cellar
With its imposing high ceilings and stained glass windows, you understand why the celler was named The Cathedral. It has been on the property in Paarl for years, but recently it has become an event space for private functions under the custodianship of KWV Ambassador Chef, Mynhardt Joubert. At the unveiling of the newest engraved stukvats, we got to experience what can be expected when you have a function at the spectacular venue.
Chef Joubert beautifully set up tables and prepared a delicious gourmet lunch that was perfectly paired with wine from the Hubert Cellar range. You do not need to book a function to see the engraved stukvats though. Visitors can view the collection through various tours provided by the KWV Emporium. An official tour, called 100 Years in 100 Minutes, takes visitors on a journey through storytelling, and a walking tour of the cellars and the opportunity to taste some of KWV`s best wines.