KWV, home of the World’s Best brandies, has added an historic 97 year archive timeline installation steeped in history that dates back to 1918 to its Sensorium gallery/tasting room. Included are bottles and movies that date back to the 1920’s including a silent film that has been digitized and is now available for public viewing.
The work began in 2012 in preparation for company’s centennial celebration, in 2018.
Visitors are taken on a journey from 1918 when KWV was founded primarily as a regulatory body for the South African wine industry, with its primary focus on the development of the country’s viti and viniculture, right up until the present day.
“The company has a rich history including visual imagery, old publications and documents and while many of these have been digitized for the formal archive there remains an extensive collection of physical material such as old bottles some dating back to 1926, when the first brandy was made at KWV as well as materials, photos and products that illustrate the 97 year history of the company,” says KWV CEO, Andre van der Veen. “We felt that this collection should be made visible in a more accessible space.”
These physical items have been used to create an historical timeline, chronicling the development of the company. He says that the resulting archive space, as well as the ‘bottle archive’ at the Sensorium tasting room, creates a space where the public can share in the history of the company.
The film footage was digitized from the National AudioVisual Archive collection. “As well as the silent film, there are some promotional films from the 60’s and 80’s now available for public viewing,” he says.
“There are also some other interesting historical objects on display including bottles of the KWV Eau de Cologne perfume (made from grape spirits) crafted by the KWV brandy master in the 1930’s.”
A few of the new design aspects of the space include a print on a glass panel, which shows the original building plans of La Concorde (KWV headquarters) and an innovative steel construction for the timeline which is taken through from the tasting room to the archive room.
van der Veen is encouraging those who have interesting KWV stories or interesting items they have collected to get in touch via social media on Twitter @kwvsensorium or on Facebook (KWVSensorium). ”This is a nice way to keep adding to the archive and make it relevant for visitors,” he says.
The Sensorium (which is open to the public daily) also houses KWV’s beautiful art collection of over 100 paintings, wood carvings and drawings and includes works by Gregoire Boonzaier, Irma Stern, Jacob Hendrik Pierneef and Piet van Heerden.
The Sensorium’s purpose is to complement the experience of tasting wine and brandy with that of viewing artwork. Each of the paintings includes a suggested wine pairing with detailed artwork/wine pairing information available via QR code.
“The accompanying KWV Sensorium digital platform (www.kwvsensorium.co.za) allows visitors to interact with our collection in a richer way, and provides a tactile element to the experience, as they scan the QR code on each artwork label to give them access to more information about the artwork and its pairing,” he adds.
The KWV Sensorium also offers a select number of tastings from its café, where visitors may also purchase a wide range of KWV’s award-winning products. Set pairing menus include brandy & chocolate R50, art & wine pairing R40; Pinotage journey (5 wines) R30 and fortified wines & mini cupcake pairing R50.
The KWV Sensorium is located at KWV’s headquarters at 57 Main Road, Paarl. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 09h00-16h30, Saturdays 09h00 until 14h00. The Sensorium is closed Sundays and public holidays.