With a few years of drought behind us, the wine industry could ill afford the financial impact of the lock down and ban on wine sales. The general post-COVID19 economic shrinkage has consumers reeling and they are more value conscious than ever before. This is where the importance of value orientated awards becomes critical in providing guidance to the consumer.
Most producers focus on the local market, but after many consumers were laid off and some had to accept salary cuts or had to skip pay checks, “money is too tight to mention” in this new economy.
Over two days in mid-November, panels convened for the 7th annual Gold Wine Awards. The selected jury was tasked with putting a seal of excellence on wines delivering value at R160 and below per bottle in a double-blind tasting. Well over 90% of all wines produced in South Africa fall in this price category, and there is little guidance for consumers to find value-for-money wines, especially in the lower price categories. Gold Wine Awards identifies worthy wines to give sales a boost, while helping the consumer make more informed wine buying choices.
The top wines were awarded a gold indicating not only value but also quality, and the top-performing producers will be able to use a sticker on their bottle proclaiming their Top 10 position.
The Top 10 producer were:
Alvi’s Drift Wines
Benguela Cove Wine Estate
De Krans Wines
Gravel Junction Wine & Spirits
New Cape Wines
Nicholson Smith Agencies CC
Perdeberg Wines (Pty) Ltd
These producers really stood out from the pack and led the way.
The standard of the winning wines was outstanding beyond a doubt, considering that the wines are selling at R160 or below per bottle. All consumers are now more value conscious, and it seems that South African wine is where it can still be found.
The shining stars in the tastings were:
We wish a lot was different during 2020, but because this event had to be moved to a much later spot, it gave the judges a chance to taste young wines a lot later than usual, which actually seemed to be a surprising benefit.
The 2020 Sauvignon blanc wines were of excellent quality and very consistent. The wines were generally very vibrant and showed zesty acidity, attractive fruit and racy characters. The judges were very impressed with the quality in general, and having all the wines at R160 and below meant some excellent value. This Sauvignon blanc category is the biggest and is usually an incredibly good indicator for the year’s quality. This year it was a favourite.
The 2020 Chenin blanc category had some excellent examples of the cultivar, with a lot of consistency. Chenin blanc was the second biggest white wine class and a testimony to how well the cultivar does in South Africa.
There were some great quality Chardonnays, with the wooded class performing particularly well.
The Rosé / Blanc de Noir class impressed the judges, with the wines showed good balance between sugar and acidity throughout.
In the smaller white wine classes, the Grenache blanc and Bukketraube showed well.
There is a lot less time to sell the 2020 vintage because of the restrictions on trade of alcohol earlier this year, and some speculated that less wine, but of higher quality was bottled of the 2020 white wine vintage, and this could explain the superior quality of the 2020 white wines.
Shiraz was the biggest red class, and the wines were very consistent with some excellent quality. The 2019 vintage seemed to show the best, packed with young, vibrant red fruit and integrated oak and spice.
Pinotage as a category really surprised with its quality at R160 and below per bottle. The cultivar was very true to itself showing lots of varietal character. The Merlot surprised at the quality for the price, because the wines were well balanced, and the use of wood restrained and in balance.
The Cabernet sauvignon class surprised, with some excellent examples with fabulous fruit, supported by the tannins that will make the wines age well. The judges again commented at the amazingly value to be had at the price point.
In the smaller red classes Grenache impressed with its legance and Petit Syrah with layers of flavour, and the beautiful balance between tannin, fruit and acidity.
The red blends did well displaying great diversity. The 2019 blends in particular shined with fresh minty characters, great acidity and good ageing potential.
This event would not have been possible without our partners:
Details about the 2021 Gold Wine Awards will be announced in the last week of