Deidre Taylor and Abrie Beeslaar to depart Kanonkop this year, with the whole team and family, front middle and right.
- Abrie Beeslaar, only the third winemaker in the 50-year history of the iconic SA wine estate, Kanonkop, is set to depart the estate in August to run his own wine brand, Beeslaar Wines.
- Beeslaar has been awarded the IWSC’s International Winemaker of the Year award four times and is credited for the 100-point Paul Sauer 2015 as rated by Tim Atkin MW and seen as one of South Africa’s Pinotage pioneers.
- With Abrie, longtime sales and marketing manager Deirdre Taylor will also be leaving the estate after 11 years at the helm of what is arguably South Africa’s most successful wine brand.
There’s a change in the wind.
Abrie Beeslaar, Kanonkop’s third winemaker in 50 years, part of the iconic trio comprising Oom Jan Boland Coetzee and Beyers Truter, will be leaving the Estate in August and will continue to consult for an additional six months.
This year will be his 23rd and final vintage with Kanonkop, representing 23 years of absolute excellence, having received the IWSC’s International Winemaker of the Year award four times, and credited for the first SA wine to receive 100 points from an international critic, the 2015 Paul Sauer, by Tim Atkin MW.
He leaves behind a seasoned winemaking team to be led initially by Francois van Zyl, previously of Laibach (now Ladybird Wines, acquired by Kanonkop in 2022), Christelle van Niekerk, and Ruan van Schalkwyk, who will eventually be joined by co-owner, Paul Krige’s daughter, Suzaan Krige.
Abrie will be leaving his post to take on his own wine brand, Beeslaar Wines, full time, comprising, unsurprisingly, a Pinotage and, more recently, a Chardonnay, sold via ExAnimo here.
Beeslaar has been making these critically acclaimed wines since 2012, and thus, the move is a natural and amicable one, especially for a winemaker who has made such a name for himself within the industry.
Adriaan Basson with (from the left) Beyers Truter, Oom Jan Boland Coetzee, and Abrie Beeslaar, the three winemakers of Kanonkop.
Supplied Daléne Fourie
Though it does represent the end of an era.
One that also ends with the departure of longtime sales and marketing manager Deidre Taylor, who, since her appointment in September 2013, has managed a marked increase in sales from one million to three million bottles last year.
She will be replaced by Heinrich Venter, currently of Perdeberg Wines, and will take over from longtime Meerlust sales manager Eddie Turner, who is retiring this year.
Deidre Taylor, Sales and Marketing Manager Kanonkop.
Supplied Daléne Fourie
Having just celebrated Kanonkop’s 50th anniversary last year, it is a sad tiding, though the team and culture of the brand remains as ever rock-solid and the change in leaders is merely a sign of growth and natural evolution. We look forward to welcoming the next generation of Kanonkop.
For more information on Abrie, read our feature on his 22nd Vintage at Kanonkop last year here:
FEATURE | Abrie Beeslaar: 22 Kanonkop Vintages
And on 50 years of Kanonkop here:
FEATURE | 50 years of Kanonkop