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South African Van Ryn's brandy named world's best for second consecutive year

South African brandy was once again lauded on the world stage after Van Ryn's 15YO Single Potstill was named World's Best Wine Brandy at the World Brandy Awards last week. This is the second consecutive time the Stellenbosch-based brandy distillery has won the title and the third occasion since 2020.
Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

Furthermore, South African brandies claimed the lion’s share of accolades in the Wine Brandy category. South Africa led by a significant margin with 16 separate medals and awards, to leave France in second place followed by participants from Australia, United States and Canada.

In addition to the chart-topping Van Ryn’s, local brands singled out by the international judges panel include Viceroy, KWV, Klipdrift and Richelieu.

Marlene Bester, master distiller and general manager of Van Ryn’s Distillery. Source: Supplied
Marlene Bester, master distiller and general manager of Van Ryn’s Distillery. Source: Supplied

The top-scoring South African style and medal winners were:

Van Ryn's Single Potstill 15YOExtra OldStyle Winner
Viceroy 5YOAged 4-5 yearsStyle Winner
Van Ryn's 10YO VintageExtra OldStyle Winner
Van Ryn's Single Potstill 15YO Extra OldGold
Viceroy 5YOAged 4-5 yearsGold
Richelieu Vintage 10YOSoleraGold
Klipdrift Premium Export Aged 2-3 yearsGold
KWV 5 YO Aged 4-5 yearsGold

“This is another proud moment for South African distillers. Their benchmark achievements have been unwavering for many decades and is recorded across every global competition,” says South African Brandy Foundation director Christelle Reade-Jahn.

United vision at Van Ryn’s

The title of World’s Best Wine Brandy first went to Van Ryn’s in 2020 for its 12YO. Last year, the title was claimed by its 20YO Potstill Brandy.

“In this competition, we compete only against brandies that are made from grapes and are aged,” says Van Ryn’s master distiller and general manager Marlene Bester. “The category undoubtedly comprises the crème de la crème and so to win this award consecutively is an unbelievable honour.

She attributes the achievement to a single-minded group. “I have a fantastic team working with me to ensure consistent production of top-quality brandy. The team’s commitment and focus on quality, consistent year to year, is truly laudable and I’m extremely proud to be part of it."

In addition to the three crowning accolades at the World Brandy Awards, Van Ryn’s brandies have in the past 19 years received the trophy for World’s Best Brandy at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) and International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) on no less than 13 occasions. Van Ryn’s is also a two-time winner of the title of Brandy Producer of the Year at the New York International Spirits Challenge.

It is a regular recipient of Double Golds at Veritas and has seen five stars awarded to every one of its brandies by the panel of the authoritative Platter’s South African wine guide.

According to Reade-Jahn, the awards come at a significant time considering that global trends forecast a resurgence in brandy, particularly at the premium end of the spectrum. “At home, South Africans are rediscovering our time-honoured brandies, and these latest achievements across the spectrum of the country’s top producers are the latest reminder of the quality that awaits.

“It’s certainly the homegrown nature of this outstanding spirit that drives this appeal. It’s accessible and world-class quality. You just can’t go wrong with a South African brandy.”

View the full list of winners here.

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