Su Birch is honoured at ProWein
Su Birch, CEO of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), received the first of Wine Intelligence’s 10 for 10 Business Awards at ProWein on Tuesday, 6th March.
“In the past ten years, Su has trebled sales [of South African wines] in international markets,” said Felicity Carter, chief editor of Meininger’s Wine Business International, who presented the award. “Beyond the wine trade, Su has been involved in a number of sustainability issues. She has been involved in initiatives to get people from disadvantaged backgrounds into the wine trade, and has an enormous role in promoting sustainability in South Africa.”
Su Birch has held the position of WOSA CEO since May 2000. In that time, she has not only promoted South African wine, but has driven such initiatives as the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative, that has seen producers set aside more land for conservation than the equivalent of the national vineyard, and the Sustainability Seal, an international first that promotes production integrity from vineyard to consumer. Internationally, she has been a key player in bringing New World producers together at ProWein to discuss sustainability. In 2005 Birch was awarded the Lanson Woman In Wine Trophy at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London. In 2006 the Cape Masters of Wine honoured her as Wine Personality of the Year and in 2009 she was named The Drinks Business’s Woman of the Year.
Birch, however, puts her success down to her colleagues. “I think it’s because I have the best team in the world,” she said.
Created to mark the tenth anniversary of research company Wine Intelligence, the 10 for 10 Business Awards recognise individuals who have made a significant contribution to the global wine trade over the past decade. Present at the awards ceremony were fellow nominees Michael Cox of Wines of Chile, journalist and wine judge Tim Atkin MW, winemaker Etienne Hugel, CEO Ross Brown of Brown Brothers and fellow South African and Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, Lynne Sherriff MW.
A total of 30 prominent wine trade figures were nominated by the judging panel and a further nine awards will be given out at a series of 2012 events organised by Wine Intelligence.