S AFRICA: KWV fires winemakers in flavour scandal
KWV has fired two senior winemakers who have been found to be putting flavourants into its 2004 KWV Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and the 2004 Laborie Estate Sauvignon blanc - the South African champion young wine of the year.
A total of 45,000 litres and 22,000 litres respectively will be destroyed by the company under the supervision of the South African Wine & Spirits Board (WSB).
It was estimated that it could cost the company R1m for the loss of the wine and to destroy it.
The winemakers, Gideon Theron, who has been with the company for almost 10 years and Ian Nieuwoudt, who joined the company in the late 1990s, could face criminal prosecution.
KWV MD, Dr Willem Barnard, said he did not think the company would face any legal action, because it had moved swiftly to remedy the problem.
Barnard said he was livid when he heard that it was KWV wines in question. He said he was blind-sided by the fact that people in the company could put it at such risk.
The company has seven winemakers who were all asked to undergo polygraph tests - the only two who declined were Theron and Nieuwoudt.
Barnard said the two men had operated independently of one another and the testing showed that two different techniques were used and the analyses were different.
All KWV's other Sauvignon Blanc which are on the market at present had been tested and were given a clean bill of health, Barnard said.
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