Young wines battle it out in SA’s Biggest Competition
This week (25 – 29 July) more than 1 900 of South Africa’s leading young wines will be competing for the coveted General Smuts trophy, reserved for the country’s best young wine, at the annual SA Young Wine Show. Wine makers from the eight diverse wine show regions regard this authoritative wine competition – the country’s biggest and oldest – as the ultimate opportunity to compare their young wines with those of their industry peers.
During the Young Wine Show, presented by the South African National Wine Show Association (SANWSA), wines that are still in their infancy – in other words in the year of production – are tasted and judged. In this manner cellar masters and wine makers obtain valuable feedback regarding their particular choice of wine styles and production methods.
Focused panels consisting of seven judges each will this week put the entered young wines through their paces and then announce the much-respected verdict. The judges are formally qualified wine makers and/or wine experts with specialist knowledge of the various wine styles and cultivars. An eighth learner judge is included in each panel in order to prepare a future generation of experienced judges. The popular training opportunity for assistant wine makers and cellar and vineyard workers will once again take place concurrent with the official wine tasting presented during the award ceremony.
This year’s victorious wines will be announced on Friday 19 August in Lamberts Bay during a function presented by the Olifants River wine region in cooperation with the SANWSA and with Agri-Expo as co-sponsor. Agri-Expo has been part of the wine industry for almost 180 years since the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society (now known as Agri-Expo) initiated the first wine show in 1833.
In addition to the much sought after General Smuts trophy for the best wine, participants also hanker after the Pietman Hugo trophy for the cellar with the five best wines, as well as the 17 championship trophies and various gold, silver and bronze medals. Wines are entered in 93 classes for red and white wines, port, dessert wines and muscadel. Classes for white wines include amongst others Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Sémillon, Other White Cultivars, Dry White Blends, Off-dry White Wines and Noble Late Harvest. The reds, on the other hand, take part in classes including Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Other Red Cultivars and Dry Red Blends.
Wooded Red blends topped this year’s list for classes with the most entries with their 103 wines, followed by wooded Shiraz (101 entries), Sauvignon Blanc (96 entries) and white blends (non-Muscat) with 94 entries.