The National Wine Challenge, incorporating Top 100 SA Wines, the premier fine-wine-only wine competition in SA, launched the industry’s most credible and popular 2018 winning wines results last night.
Top wineries, their wine makers and partners celebrated their victories at Spier in Stellenbosch. Superb winning wines were enjoyed while the jazz trio kept the mood happy and swinging. Following the actual awards ceremony and in customary style the winning wines were opened for tasting and review. A strong show of support had around 600 of the Capes finest wines entered. A record number of wineries participated. So what were the results?
Overall, white wines gained a total of thirty seven wins. This was considerably more than last year’s twenty seven, and slightly up on the thirty one wins in 2016. Chardonnay and Chenin, both in rock solid mode, dominated the top slots with very good results, namely a tie of ten victories each. Sauvignon Blanc did expectedly well and achieved a total of eight podium slots. Bordeaux Blends followed with four winning wines. Finally Riesling and unusual white blends both achieved two excellent spots each.
The top 10 white wines overall included four Chardonnays, three Chenin Blanc’s, two Bordeaux Blends and a single Sauvignon Blanc.
As for regional representation, Elgin and Stellenbosch tied, each with three top-ten positions.
The red wine category again did handsomely. A total of sixty two winning wines found judges favour and Top 100 podium positions. This was a consistent showing with the past two years. Shiraz, for the third year running, led the results with a stellar fourteen victories. Bordeaux Blends did superbly and yielded twelve slots with Cabernet gaining a most credible nine wins. Merlot followed with six delicious winners, as did Pinotage, once again back on form. Cape Blends achieved a solid five victories. Rhone Blends gained three positions and Unusual Red Blends cracked two nods. Other categories including Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Grenache gained one position each.
The top 10 red wines included three Cabernet Sauvignons (two from the same producer, both sharing the highest overall joint scores of all wines). Then there were two Bordeaux Blends. With one position each, a Cape Blend, a Pinotage, a Shiraz and an Unusual Red Blend followed.
Regionally the top 10 positions were dominated by Stellenbosch with a total of seven wins. (In fact the following three positions 11 – 13 were also Stellenbosch wines!)
Thus for red wines, Stellenbosch, and Cabernet/Bordeaux, dominated the 2018 Top 100 Challenge top scoring results.
For the second year a fine rosé wine cracked the nod and achieved a Top 100 slot.
MCC & SPARKLING WINES
Six delicious wines earned well-earned podium positions. Two of these were rosé.
NATURAL SWEET WINES
This category enjoyed three excellent winning wines.
One outstanding wine made the grade this year.
For white wines it was both vintage 2017 and 2016 that dominated wins with a total of 17 wines each. By comparison, for red wines it was vintage 2015 that showcased thirty winners followed by vintage 2016 with twenty one winners. This was expected, given that white wines are generally entered and shown at younger ages. These statistics are merely interesting; they do not prove one thing or another. Generally the judges’ commented most favourably on vintage 2015 for reds and vintage 2017 for white wines.
Top 100 SA winning wines enjoyed two winners from vintage 2012, three winners from vintage 2013 and nine winners from vintage 2014.
SCORES &TOP WINE QUALITY
Winning wines gaining Double Platinum/Top 100 status awards, gained scores of between 91 and 96/100. While this was similar to 2017, there were more top-scoring wines this year, than previously. It is a fair comment to make, that SA fine wine is steadily improving. These results lend credence to that most positive fact.
HIGHEST THREE SCORES FOR WHITE AND RED WINES
White wine: An MCC, then a Chenin Blanc and a Chardonnay in joint second place.
Red wine: A joint win between two Cabernets, then a Shiraz.
Sweet, Fortified & Port category: A Port was in first place, then a Natural Sweet and a Fortified in joint second place.
STATISTICS & RATIO OF ENTRIES TO WINS – Top 100/Double Platinum awards
Red wines accounted for 60% of entries once more with white wines representing 40%
of entries. Around 17% of red wine entries gained Top 100 status. White wines enjoyed a winning ratio of 15% for a similar status.
These statistics were similar to both 2017 and 2016 National Wine Challenges. Despite the very high quality of wines entered, 2018 proved yet again to be a fiercely contested Challenge.
ROBIN VON HOLDT reviews the 2018 NATIONAL WINE CHALLENGE (NWC), the most successful and exciting event to date:
“We are again thrilled with the positive, strong levels of commitment and support given to us by many of SA’s leading vineyards. There is a great respect for the professional way that our team goes about its business, supporting and promoting fine SA wines through the National Wine Challenge. It is clearly evident that wineries and their key players see tremendous commercial and brand value in competing and winning the acclaimed array of awards. Positive professional recognition of stellar performances provides both a local and a global credibility for wineries and their high performing wines. Eight successful years on, and record fine-wine entries endorse the NWC/Top 100 brand.
SA fine wines remain on their upward trajectory. There is no doubt at all that our fine wine quality continues to escalate. Our talented winemakers and viticulturists continue with improvements and the future remains particularly bright. We will continue to sing the praises of SA’s fine wines at every opportunity. These great Top 100 SA wines deserve it!
The results in 2018 are well balanced, showcasing many really brilliant wines. This is the single, extremely difficult, wine award to crack. Growing competition simply makes it that much harder to achieve. A number of new vineyards again entered the 2018 NWC for the first time. Some even cracked a win (of more) in year one! The quality of judges, the judging protocols and rigorous audit set the standard that others follow. The unique APP continues to showcases SA’s fine wines in 60 countries. We will continue to shine the light on SA’s finest. Our warm thanks go once more to all of our supporters. Our special congratulations and kudos of course, go to all 2018 winners.”
DOUBLE PLATINUM / TOP 100 WINNERS 2018
The following vineyards were major winners in the 2018 National Wine Challenge /Top 100:
Alvis Drift (7)
Groot Constantia (7)
Stellenbosch Vineyards (7)
Allee Bleue (4)
Paul Cluver (3)
Starke Conde (3)
Ultra Liquors (3)
Eleven vineyards gained two victories each.
Twenty one vineyards gained a single victory each.
NEW WINNING WINERIES INCLUDE
Bon Courage Wine Estate
Diemersfontein Wine Estate
Iona Wine Farm
La Bri Wines
Welgegund Heritage Wines
Wildekrans Wine Estate
WINNERS SHARE THEIR COMMENTS
Alvis Drift (7)
Alvi van der Merwe: “This is such a humbling experience and pays tribute to the hard work and dedication of our viticulture and winemaking team.”
Groot Constantia (7)
Boela Gerber Winemaker: “These awards are the result of years of hard work and to have achieved this with a wide spectrum of varietals, both in terms of red and white, underlines the versatility of Groot Constantia as a precious and unique estate with an exceptional South African terroir.”
Stellenbosch Vineyards: (7)
Abraham De Villiers: “To achieve success on seven of our wines entered is a big win for us and we are greatly honoured that the passion, hard work and dedication of our team has paid off in such a positive manner.”
Frans Smit, Cellar Master: “This is a tremendous honour and achievement for our winemaking and viticulture team, to be recognized as the crafters of some of SA’s best wines. We take great pride in our wines and continuously strive to make it a little better than before, given our ever changing growing environment. This proves to us that the average quality of our wines are very high over a broad spectrum of varietals.”
Braam Gericke Viticulturist & Winemaker: “It is always amazing when hard work gets appreciated. Something you can share with the rest of the guys. To take back to the team. We on Wildekrans have been through a lot this last ten years. We laughed, cried, celebrated but most importantly worked together with the same goal in mind. First of all to respect the Industry we find ourselves in, to respect one another and our differences, be grateful for opportunities created by our owners Mandy and Gary Harlow, to stay consistent even with different challenges thrown at us almost every day and then most important to stay humble when the hard work does get noticed. Achieving awards is like eating the best part of your favourite piece of cake. No one ever said that the rest of the piece is not “lekker”. You can’t ignore the fact that great has always been associated with ok. So to be part of something Great says it all. We are a group of people who respect, love and look out for one another and that is the secret or call it special ingredient of our Terroir and Farm. Lesson 1 have learned that with mistakes comes lessons to be learned and success comes when those lessons are implemented and shared between one another.
So guys that is me. Moerse passionate about my farm, product, staff, owners, family and proud of what we have achieved to date. So this means a lot to us on Wildekrans.”
Allée Bleue Wines (4)
Van Zyl du Toit, Winemaker: “Winemaking is not what I do, it is who I am. So when one or more of your wines are adjudge by your peers, wine judges or customers to be of exceptional quality and awarded a prize or medal, we are grateful and overjoyed . With the affirmation of quality that these types of achievements bring, we grow ,hone our craft , making better and better wines as we go along. Thanks to all at NWC for rewarding these great wines.”
Klaas Stoffberg, winemaker: “This is our 3rd year we have entered the NWC challenge and the first time to receive 3 x top 100/double platinum wines. This is a great indication that we are moving in the right direction and also a sign that our continuous effort to produce good quality wines are paying off.”
Charles Back, Proprietor: “Much like last year, our three Top 100 winning wines are all so different – which reflects the talent I believe our winemaking team has, as they are capable of traversing various varieties and winemaking styles to produce consistently refined and award-winning wines.
With the drought on the tip of everyone’s tongue, I am grateful that our team has prepared accordingly and that our vineyards continue to yield fruit of excellent quality, giving the wines richer depth and character.
As far as the Top 100 wines go, Nurok is from one of our more vibrant and most food-friendly ranges, the Regional Revival Range, which highlights the value of using Mediterranean style varieties and styles.
Our Fairview Beacon Shiraz is a favourite from our Single Vineyard range, and I have a hunch that it’s striking new, award-winning label must have added an extra bonus point for its shining performance this year!
Finally, our La Beryl Blanc, a traditional straw-dried sweet wine made since 1998, has been a consistent accolade winner for years. Named after my mother, Beryl, I think this wine reflects her warm and nurturing character, and clearly hits a sweet spot with its dedicated following – quite fitting for Mother’s Day!”
Gerhard Swart, Head Winemaker: “The team here at Flagstone are thrilled and very proud to have three wines in the Top 100. This is a great result especially since the three wines that are selected are our three Ultra-premium wines. We work very hard from the vineyard to the bottle to ensure we put the best quality in the bottle for our customers and this achievement is a great acknowledgement of our hard work and dedication.”
Andrew Gunn, Proprietor: “Delighted with the performance and recognition these wines have received – by both the quality of the judges and winemaking peers who sat on the panel. With increasing vine age and Werner’s understanding our wines get better and better, bearing testament to what we have been doing for the past 20 years”.
Gary Jordan, Proprietor: “Consistent quality across vintages and varietals is what we strive for at Jordan Wine Estate. We are delighted to have won three Double Platinum/Top 100 wines this year for ‘The Real McCoy’ Riesling, our ‘Cobblers Hill’ Bordeaux blend and ‘The Long Fuse’ Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines are the ultimate Synergy between Soul and Soil.”
Paul Cluver (3)
Paul Cluver, Proprietor: “It is wonderful to see that the hard work and dedication of our team is being recognized.”
Johan Malan, Cellarmaster: “We are over the moon with excitement about the three Top 100 & Double Platinum awards. The 2015 vintage is living up to its huge reputation with the Redhill Pinotage and the Kaapse Vonkel 2015 making it into the Top 100/Double Platinum. I have always rated the Kaapse Vonkel 2015 as one of the best in many years, so its great to get the accolade and recognition for the flag bearer in our Cap Classique range. Both the Redhill and the Kaapse Vonkel needed the time to age to perfection. The cherry on top is the Merindol Syrah, single vineyard, because it is proof that the new direction with this wine to ferment with whole bunches has lifted the quality to the next level.
Ultra Liquors (3)
Mark Norrish – Ultra Liquors Wine GM, (and very proud Father of the Secret Cellar and Top Secret brands): “Three Double Platinum/Top 100 winning wines! – What a wonderful result for both our own Brands, we are ecstatic with the result of 3 wines earning an inclusion in the NWC/T100 . These ratings are particularly special for me, as I deem the relevant panellists of this event as world class Judges.”
Pete Gottgens, Estate Manager: “This wonderful news is justification in our long term strategy and a great endorment for the whole Asara Winery Team.”
David Nieuwoudt, Proprietor and Cellar Master: “It is a phenomenal award to receive on both Cederberg and Ghost Corner Wines. Two beautiful Sauvignon Blanc’s created each from its own unique terroir, made with precision!“
Graham Beck (2)
Pieter Ferreira, Graham Beck Cellarmaster: “We are incredibly proud of this result – receiving no less than two Double Platinum/ Top 100 awards is yet another superb achievement in our pursuit of the perfect bubble! Both the Brut Zero and the Blanc de Blancs epitomize our unwavering dedication to the creation of top quality Cap Classique, which define class, finesse and timelessness.”
Highlands Roads (2)
Michael White, owner: “It is most gratifying to have two wines ranked in Top100, and since they are two different vintages of the same wine we hope that this is indicative of quality consistency having been achieved.”
Lord’s Wines (2)
Jacie Oosthuizen, MD: “It is a great honour for Lord’s to have won 2 Double Platinum awards and being part of the Top 100 wines. With our MCC Brut Rosé winning it 2 years in a row shows that we have mastered our craft. The Sauvignon Blanc is very special and has made ripples and tides in the wine industry. Being from the Robertson wine valley we are proud to represent and we will carry on doing so.”
Dewaldt Heyns, Cellarmaster: “We are delighted to be the recipient of two National Wine Challenge Top 100 awards. We consider the NWC as an important benchmark for measuring our progress and consistency against some of South Africa’s other top producers.”
Bon Courage (1)
Jacques Bruwer, winemaker: “A Double Platinum/Top 100 winning wine in category win – Inkara Shiraz 2015: Year after year this vineyard have shown great potential. The 2015 vintage even more so and we matured it in a barrel that simultaneously protected the varietal character and also gave great complexity to this wine. Typical Shiraz that reflects our unique Robertson terroir in which it flourishes.”
Carel & Margaux Nel: “The 2016 Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port continues the Nel’s heritage of crafting the very finest Cape Ports utilising Portuguese varietals, traditional vinification methods and remaining true to style to create a wine which will offer decades of enjoyment. The 2016 was also crowned the SA Champion Port at the SA Young Wine Show in 2016.”
Reenen Borman: “Boschkloof is proud to be associated with NWC/T100 for several years. We still believe this is the best qualified panel of judges of all the South African wine competitions.”
Francois Roode winemaker: “This is truly a great achievement for our Malbec to receive Double platinum/top 100 winning wine and Grand Cru first place. Malbec has always been a nice varietal in our Reserve range but has become very popular over the last couple of years. Our viticulturist and his team’s hard work, the cellar team working long and late converting the beautiful grapes to great wines has paid off. Malbec is such an underdog that has raised to the top in South Africa and besides Pinotage a very exciting grape to work with and to make wine. The deep dark colour, black berries and undertones of herbs with a lingering palate and soft tannins makes it ideal to enjoy with your favourite food or with a special friend. Malbec has found its place and we will have to plant some Malbec in the future.”
De Wetshof (1)
Johann de Wet, CEO: “We are tremendously honoured by this Double Platinum recognition from an esteemed panel of judges such as those responsible for adjudicating this competition. With this award going to a wine such as our Bon Vallon, the time has surely come for unwooded Chardonnays being given credit as among the finest categories of South African white wines.”
Journeys End (1)
Mike Dawson, Winemaker: “The Destination is the pinnacle of white winemaking at Journey’s End. We are hugely excited to be recognized for all the hard work and effort that the team put into the production of our iconic Destination Chardonnay 2016. The wine is showing beautifully after a year in bottle and we expect it to improve elegantly over years to come, this is one that will reward patient cellaring.”
Klein Constantia (1)
Hans Astrom, Managing Director / Partner (pictured left): Anwilka 2014. “We are delighted to again be part of the very few select Top 100 wines of South Africa. With no doubt the selection is getting harder and harder for us, and even more so for judges, with more and better wines entering each year.”
La Motte (1)
CEO Hein Koegelenberg: “We are delighted with the double platinum performance of our 2016 Pierneef Syrah Viognier in this esteemed challenge. Persisting with an elegant Rhône-style blend, we see these results as affirmation of our style focus as well as the contribution made by cool climate grapes.”
Mark Carmichael-Green, winemaker: “The “Grand Master” of Leipzig’s red blends is a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec & Petit Verdot. Abundant flavor of blackcurrant and dark plums on the nose and palate. A truly bespoke blend deserving of the name Grand Master.”
Leon Bester, Winemaker ; Hanlie Schönborn, Assistant Winemaker: “Team Napier is ecstatic to achieve this huge honour of being chosen as a double Platinum/Top 100 winner for 2 consecutive years for our Bordeaux style red blend, the Red Medallion 2013 and 2012 last year. This confirms the consistency in the quality of the Napier Red Medallion.”
Oak Valley (1)
Brad Gold Marketing Manager : “Wild yeast, whole bunch in the cellar with vineyards found high up along the Groenlandberg in the cool climate of Elgin grown Bokkeveld Shale that is rich in clay makes this wine elegant, perfumed yet rich and weighted. We are thrilled.”
Orange River Cellars (1)
Rianco van Rooyan Senior Winemaker : “Being awarded with a double platinum for a barrel matured red wine is extremely satisfying! It goes to show that complex red wines can be produced on the Orange River by using the correct techniques. A lot of acknowledgement should also go to our producer members and viticulture team.”
Senior Winemaker, Rolanie Lotz: “Vineyard Selection Shiraz 2016, a blend from five different Shiraz blocks on our farm, all contributing to a complex, expressive wine that showcase our unique terroir.A smaller crop and berry size in 2016 contributed to concentrated wines, with good colour and tannin structure. The wine also shows promising aging potential.This award is confirmation of our consistent delivery of excellent Shiraz wines”.
James Downes Owner/Viticulturist: “We are delighted that our Mount Bullet 2015 has been selected by the esteemed panel of judges to be included in the Top 100 and awarded Double Platinum. The Merlot Forum driving the initiative “making better merlot” runs true as this red wine variety has the highest sales by volume in the country, and so has proven its popularity with the consumer and so is imperative that merlot is present in the Top 100.”
Stellenbosch Hills (1)
James Ochse, Winemaker: “It takes a great piece of land, idyllic influences from Mother Nature, a dedicated team and lots of passion to achieve complete wine happiness. The fact that we got Double Platinum/Top 100 recognition for our 1707 Reserve White brought further joy to our Stellenbosch Hills family. Awards do not define your wines, the vineyards do and fortunately we sit on a ‘good wicket’”
Vrede en Lust (1)
Karlin Nel Cellarmaster: “We produce 31000L of Sauvignon Blanc in Elgin. Our vineyards produce amazing quality grapes with abundance of different flavors. This accolade is yet another confirmation that you can produce big volumes of wine with exceptional quality. This is the first time that our Anni is awarded with a NWC accolade. To be part of the SA Top 100 wines remains a huge honor that we cherish.”
Friedrich Kühne, Winemaker (pictured right): “The team at Welgegund Wines have been phenomenal as always, not only throughout the entire production of this wine, but in overcoming the trying effects of the drought, to come out on the other end with a Double Platinum award like this, makes us all infinitely proud. “At Welgegund Heritage Wines we stay committed and focussed on superior quality wines, and by winning this award – for one of my favourite varieties I might add, is a welcome confirmation that we’ve got what it takes.”
Alphabetic list of winning Top 100 / Double Platinum awarded SA wines:
Allee Bleue Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2014
Allee Bleue Shiraz 2015
Allee Bleue L’Amour Toujours 2014
Allee Bleue Pinotage 2016
Almenkerk Merlot 2015
Alvi’s Drift Reserve Drift Fusion 2015
Alvi’s Drift Albertus Viljoen Bismarck 2016
Alvi’s Drift Albertus Viljoen Bismarck 2015
Alvi’s Drift Albertus Viljoen Chenin Blanc 2017
Alvi’s Drift Reserve Drift Fusion 2016
Alvi’s Drift Reserve Verreaux Pinotage 2015
Alvi’s Drift Albertus Viljoen Chenin Blanc 2016
Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2015
Vineyard Collection Merlot 2015
Babylonstoren Nebukadneser 2016
Babylonstoren Shiraz 2016
Babylonstoren Chardonnay 2017
Bon Courage Inkara Shiraz 2015
Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2016
Boschkloof Conclusion 2015
Ghost Corner Wild Ferment 2016
Cederberg Sauvignon Blanc 2017
D’Aria The Following 2016
D’Aria The Songbird 2017
De Wetshof Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2017
Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Malbec2 016
Eikendal Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Eikendal Chardonnay 2016
Eikendal Merlot 2015
Fairview Nurok 2016
Fairview Beacon Shiraz 2014
Fairview La Beryl Blanc 2017
Flagstone Dark Horse Shiraz 2014
Flagstone Music Room Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Flagstone Writer’s Block Pinotage 2016
Graham Beck Brut Zero 2012
Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2013
Groot Constantia Merlot 2015
Groot Constantia Grand Constance 2015
Groot Constantia Shiraz 2015
Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2017
Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve White 2016
Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve Red 2015
Groot Constantia Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Highlands Road Sine Cera 2015
Highlands Road Sine Cera 2014
One Man Band White 2016
Iona Chardonnay 2015
Iona Pinot Noir 2013
Jordan The Real McCoy Riesling 2017
Jordan Cobblers Hill 2015
Jordan The Long Fuse Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Destination Chardonnay 2016
Klein Constantia Anwilka 2014
La Bri Affinity 2014
La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier 2016
Grand Master 2016
Longridge Chardonnay 2016
Longridge Wine Estate 2016
Lord’s Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Lord’s Wines MCC Brut Rose NV
Napier Red Medallion 2013
Nuy Mastery Chardonnay2016
Nuy Celine MCC NV
Oak Valley Groenlandberg Chardonnay 2017
Orange River Cellars Lyra Vega 2016
Paul Cluver Seven Flags Chardonnay 2017
Paul Cluver Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Paul Cluver Riesling 2017
Perdeberg The Dry Land Collection Courageous Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2016
Rhebokskloof Vineyard Selection Shiraz 2016
Saronsberg Shiraz 2016
Saronsberg Provenance Shiraz 2016
Shannon Mount Bullet 2015
Simonsig Pinotage Redhill 2015
Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut 2015
Simonsig Syrah Merindol 2016
Spier 21 Gables Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Woolworths Private Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Spier Creative Block 5 2015
Woolworths Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Spier Creative Block 3 2015
Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2016
Three Pines Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Jan Lui’s Chenin Blanc 2017
Three Pines Syrah 2015
1707 Reserve White 2016
The Flagship right bank 2015
Stellenbosch Vineyards Credo Chenin Blanc 2016
Stellenbosch Vineyards Credo Shiraz/Merlot/Viognier 2015
The Flagship Petit Verdot 2012
Stellenbosch Vineyards Credo Shiraz 2015
Stellenbosch Vineyards Limited release Verdelho 2016
Stellenbosch Vineyards limited release Grenache 2017
SECRET CELLAR ROSE 17 2017
TOP SECRET CHENIN BLANC 2016
SECRET CELLAR SHIRAZ MOURVEDRE 822 2015
Vrede en Lust Anni 2017
Welgegund Heritage Wines Chenin Blanc 2017
Wildrekrans Chenin Blanc Barrel Select 2015
Wildrekrans Chenin Blanc Barrel Select Reserve 2016
Wildrekrans Estate pinotage 2016
Wildrekrans Methode Cap Classique Brut Rose 2015
Wildrekrans Pinotage Barrel Select Reserve 2015
Zandvliet Shiraz 2015
Zevenwacht Reserve 2014
Zevenwacht 360° Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Zorgvliet Cabernet Franc 2016
Zorgvliet Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
“In my eighth year of participation in the National Wine Challenge / Top 100 SA Wines competition, it was my great honour to be asked to act as the overall competition chairman, overseeing two highly qualified panels made up of both locally and internationally recognised judges. With the South African wine industry coming off the back of three challenging drought years, wine quality and integrity did not seem to be affected whatsoever, and indeed, some of the most exciting and highly anticipated flights included a broad array of fabulous 2015 reds and also delicious 2017 whites. Wineries and winemakers have put in so much effort into ensuring continuity of quality that as judges, there seemed an almost bigger responsibility than normal to identify the very best wines and reward them as necessary. But of course in reality, the judging was as rigorous as always and after the weeks tasting, the panel chairs and myself felt confident that some absolutely thrilling wines had been selected. Consumers are in for a big treat if they follow the National Wine Challenge / Top 100 SA Wines results and buy award winners accordingly.”
Greg Sherwood MW
Chairman of Judges
The National Wine Challenge / Top 100 SA Wines are recognised as the leading fine-wine awards brand both in SA and abroad. It enjoys significant Google ratings. Its APP is the most internationally active device on fine SA wine now used in over 60 countries. The brand enjoys front page ranking in all key searches as well as enjoying an international digital footprint. This is tremendous aid to winning vineyards, helping them to achieve a greater presence and growing share of sales in the competitive global arena.
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