The wine portfolio of HEINEKEN Beverages has been on a winning streak, garnering no fewer than 36 medals at the 2023 International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), one of the most prestigious and influential competitions of its kind globally. 

Kavir Gangiah, category lead of premium wines, highlighted that “some of the wines were made during the very tough pandemic years. Lockdown conditions made it difficult to complete the harvest or to work in the cellar, yet the teams involved were able to stay focused and undeterred from doing their best. We’re hugely proud of every one of the teams involved. Their talent, tenacity and grit were evident in every wine. Well done!”

The standout achiever was Durbanville Hills, winning gold (95 points) for the 2020 vintage of flagship white, Tangram. The wooded Sauvignon/Semillon blend unusually features fruit from very mature (32-years’ old) Sauvignon Blanc bush vines. The winery’s Collectors’ Reserve The Cape Mist Sauvignon Blanc 2022 won IWSC silver, as did its Méthode Cap Classique Blanc de Blanc Extra Brut 2018. 

Silver medals are awarded to wines that achieve scores of 90 to 94 points.

Nederburg earned three IWSC silvers. These were for The Winemasters Noble Late Harvest 2022; the Bordeaux-style Double Barrel Reserve 2021, a red blend; and the Private Bin Two Centuries Cabernet Sauvignon 2019. 

Pongracz also came away with three silvers for three of its Cap Classiques, all non-vintage – the MCC Rosé Brut, the Pongracz Brut and the MCC Blanc de Blanc. 

The other two silver medallists were Cape Garden Chenin Blanc 2021 (only available internationally), made from Swartland grapes; and Zonnebloem’s rich red blend, Laureat 2020. 

A further 25 bronze medals (85 to 89 points) were awarded collectively to Durbanville Hills, Fleur du Cap, Nederbug, Pongracz and Zonnebloem.  

Note to the editor:

The panel assessing the wines included a range of specialists and was chaired by Dirceu Vianna Junior, MW (a Master of Wine). The Brazilian-born critic, author, educator, and consultant is based in London and has been the wine director of several leading wine distributors in the UK. He travels the world and consults to wineries in many countries.

(As background: The Institute of Masters of Wine has been running for 70 years. In that time just 416 people have succeeded in attaining the extremely exacting MW certification).