Ken Forrester, looking back at 25 years in the wine industry

25 years ago, there were considerably less wineries than there are now, as we had just come out of the dreadful apartheid era, during which there was strict control over who went where but also over who could sell wine! Most wine farmers then had to sell their wines to the Co-op, and apparently they would not be accepted if the balling (sugar content) was less than 21!

Ken Forrester spent the early part of his life in the world of restaurants and hospitality in the busy north of South Africa . A crazy notion of making wine and moving to a little farm in the Western Cape sounded like just the challenge for Ken and his family, so they bought the farm just on the corner of the R44 and Winery Road and soon also set up 96 Winery Road (as it started in 1996) and not long after, his brother Allan joined them and has been running the well-known restaurant very successfully since then.

Ken has become synonynous with Chenin - and at the recent tasting we attended at the farm to celebrate 25 years in the business, Ken opened up a number of very old Chenins - both of his and old French wines. We even had a Chateauneuf du Pape from his collection, as he admits, he loved buying older wines and never bought just one at a time, so there are plenty in his cellar to choose from. There were a couple of really old dusty bottle for us to gawk at, and even taste.   

What a lovely evening to hear Ken's stories of the wine industry, fondly remembering Billy Hofmeyr from Welgemeend, who set up the Cape Independent Winemakers Guild, which has now morphed into the Cape Winemakers Guild.

Kudos to Ken and his team for always pushing the wine-making boundaries and the wine industry to new heights.