Pon van Zyl trophy awarded to Vinpro chair

Johann de Wet of De Wetshof, left, presents the Pon van Zyl trophy to Vinpro chairman Anton Smuts, right.

The South African Young Wine Show awarded Anton Smuts, chairman of the wine industry body Vinpro, the prestigious Pon van Zyl trophy for his valuable contribution to the Robertson Wine Valley.

Anton received this accolade during the show’s regional awards ceremony at De Wetshof Estate earlier this week.

“There are many people who have done a lot for the valley and its producers, but Anton has dedicated his career towards growing the industry,” said Johann de Wet of De Wetshof during the ceremony.

Apart from being a successful farmer in his own right, Anton has been involved in promoting the interests of wine producers and the community at large ever since he was a young man.

He was lauded for his great passion for the Robertson region and its people, the fact that he always advocated for better prices at farm gate, his involvement in marketing the region and for setting high standards as an exemplary diplomat.

Anton has been Vinpro’s board member for the Robertson region since 2004, and was elected as chairman in 2016.

He is also the chairman of Bonnievale Cellar, serves on the boards of Winetech and BBK and was part of the Robertson Wine Valley management team.

He has also been honoured as an outstanding wine grape farmer.

“There are not many leaders in our industry who are held in such high esteem by their peers as Anton,” said Johann.

“We thank him and his team at Vinpro for the crucial role they’ve played as industry advocates, in what has been one of the most challenging years in our industry’s history.”

The South African Young Wine Show, dating back to 1833, gives winemakers the opportunity to showcase the best wines of the current vintage.

The eight participating wine regions are Robertson, Worcester/Breedekloof, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Oranje-Vaal, Olifants River, Swartland and Little Karoo.

The Robertson region awards the Pon van Zyl trophy to someone who, according to the committee that comprises of all of the previous winners, have made a positive contribution to the Robertson Wine Valley’s wine industry.

Pon van Zyl served as Robertson Winery’s first winemaker and took Robertson from its humble beginnings to where it is today.

The inaugural Pon van Zyl trophy was handed to Danie de Wet in 1987. Since then numerous esteemed wine industry role players have been awarded this trophy for their outstanding service to the Robertson region.