At the annual Institute of Cape Wine Masters Dinner held on Saturday 28 November 2020 at Jewels Restaurant at Spice Route, the annual Wine Personality of the Year was announced and a new annual floating trophy introduced – named after Dave Hughes, the founder of the Cape Wine Academy in 1979 and Honorary Cape Wine Master. The Dave Hughes award honours the CWM who has made a notable contribution to the Institute of Cape Wine Masters (ICWM), wine education or the wine industry in general.
Philip van Zyl was designated Wine Personality of the Year – in recognition of his major contribution to the South African wine industry as the longest serving editor of the Platter’s wine guide for the past 23 years. A journalist since leaving university for a number of newspapers, he and his wife Cathy, started their wine journey by signing up for the Cape Wine Academy courses in Johannesburg. Since he took over from Erica Platter in 1998 the guide has continued to grow in stature and has become the most comprehensive database of producers and their wines in South Africa. He dedicates six months of his life every year to edit this amazing guide and the volume of work he handles for this mammoth task is difficult to comprehend. He has been widely praised for his precise and thorough editing of this information-packed and reader-friendly wine guide.
The first recipient of the Dave Hughes award is Bennie Howard who is one of the original Cape Wine Masters to qualify in 1984. Ever since then he has overseen every CWM award ceremony and been heavily involved in promoting the CWA and the Institute of Cape Wine Masters.
Dave Hughes appointed him as wine ambassador for the ambitious Wine Plan in 1979 set out by the Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery Group (SFW) which later became Distell. In 1989 he became SFW’s Group Corporate Affairs Manager which included managing the Nederburg Auction which he did for 16 years until he left the company in 2004. He has also been vice-chairman of Veritas for 30 years, the longest running and most prominent wine and spirits competition in South Africa. He is currently marketing and sales manager for Meerendal Estate in Durbanville where he is very involved in wine education for the Meerendal Wine Academy.