KWV suffered a loss of almost ZAR1.45m (US$172,400) from the flavour-altering exploits of two former winemakers, who were sentenced in a South African magistrate's court this week.

Ian Niewoudt, a white winemaker at KWV, and Gideon Theron, the winemaker on the Laborie Estate, a subsidiary of the company, entered into a plea bargain with the South African Police Services Specialised Commercial Crime Unit for deliberately adding liquidised green peppers and fruit flavourants to their respective Sauvignon Blancs in 2004.

Both men were fined ZAR8,000, of which ZAR3,000 was suspended for five years on condition they were not found guilty of a similar offence.

A total of 45,000 litres of wine from KWV's cellars and 22,000 litres from Laborie were destroyed. KWV fired them immediately after an internal hearing.

Pre-launch testing by the South African Wine and Spirits Board had detected the additives in the wines, which were subsequently destroyed.