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Historic tradition of KWV vats lives on

Sharing a birth year with late former President Nelson Mandela, KWV has celebrated 100 years of excellence in 2018.

And in a year filled with many events and occasions celebrating a rich history, the winery un­veiled its new carved wooden vat in its iconic Cathedral Cellar last week.

The world-renowned Cathedral Cellar houses an impressive collection of 32 stukvats measuring approximately 3 metres in circumference, serving as an imposing backdrop in the serene setting.

These massive vessels also reveal the history of the South African wine industry, with stories carved on their façade. The first barrels were carved by the father-and-son team Karl and Karl-Heinz Wilhelm, in 1968 and 1970, who collectively stamped their art on 12 of the barrels.

In 1987, in celebration of Paarl’s tercentenary, two new vats were added by South African artist Ruth Wolter. Her work is a modern interpretation of the wine industry and illustrates KWV’s ability to transform over the years while preserving its rich history

Brand Manager of KWV’s Cathedral Cellar wines Tanya Blokdyk commented: “The history of the South African wine industry is imprinted on huge barrels standing underneath the Cathedral Cellar’s impressive vaulted roof, we wanted to honour this engraved legacy by including KWV’s centenary milestone on one of these barrels.”

The latest work was done by wood carving artist Ivan Hunter, who has provided intricate engravings for local and international commissions over the last 25 years.

Hunter is one of only a few woodcarving artists of this calibre in South Africa, and the latest work for Cathedral Cellar is a meticulous work of art revealing his acute attention to detail.

Using the same applied carving method used by Ruth Wolter, Hunter sourced a round slab of French oak and spent 200 hours chiselling it into the fine artwork revealed in Cathedral Cellar today.

Inspired by KWV’s centenary and the heart of this pioneering company, its Cathedral Cellar, the new work is a fusion of past and present with the inscription, “KWV celebrating 100 years of success in innovative viti- & viniculture” carved on it.

* The Cathedral Cellar is now open for private functions, and can also be visited as part of KWV’s wine and cellar tours.

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