One of South Africa's foremost wine producers, Kanonkop, came close to remembering a 40th anniversary for all the wrong reasons after a fire ripped through the estate's offices and tasting room.
The fire broke out last Saturday and came as the Simonsberg, Stellenbosch-based estate prepared to mark the 40th anniversary of its first commercial bottling with a new limited edition wine.
An electrical fault in one of the offices is believed to have started the blaze. Flames destroyed the winery’s tasting room and several offices, but did not reach the estate’s wine before the alarm was raised.
‘Fortunately, we were on site,’ said Johan Krige, co-owner of the fourth-generation Kanonkop Wine Estate, inbetween helping clear debris.
‘It’s business as usual,’ he told decanter.com. But, he added it could take up to three months to get ‘everything up and running again’. The group has a makeshift tasting room in its Paul Sauer Cellar. There is no damage cost estimate as yet.
This week, Kanonkop released its Paul Sauer 40 wine, a Bordeaux blend from the 2007 vintage and priced at ZAR730 (US$72) per bottle, ex-estate and including value added tax. Only 500 bottles have been produced to mark 40 years since Paul Sauer oversaw the estate’s first commercial bottling in 1973.
That bottling was a Cabernet Sauvignon, but Kanonkop has become known as a pioneer of Pinotage in South Africa. Prior to 1973, Kanonkop’s entire stock was sold in bulk to Stellenbosch Farmers Winery.
Written by Chris Mercer