2022 Gold Wine Awards –

Finding value for retail heaven

The ninth annual Gold Wine Awards took place in mid-September 2022 at Neethlingshof Wine Estate near Stellenbosch. The majority of the assembled judges were retail specialists and were tasked with finding vinous value at R180 and below per bottle in a double-blind tasting. There was good camaraderie amongst the tasters who were united in their cause, and although the tasting was serious business, there was an atmosphere of excitement in the air.

With world events shifting, and people being squeezed for cash, consumers are trying to get a bang for their buck on all fronts. It is not just a question of what people can afford, but which wine they will choose for that price.

World economic realities

Because of the war and Ukraine, and the resultant knock-on effect, a perfect storm was created that caused a rise in energy costs and production costs, leading to inflation and leaving most people in the real world out of pocket at the end of the month. Even the consumers that could afford higher-priced wines are looking for value for money. Just because an event like this looks at 90% of the market, the other 10% should not be overlooked, and no brand, no matter how well established, is safe against consumers deserting them for better value at any price point.

For us in wine retail, being able to identify wine producers, who regularly receive the Gold Wine Awards for their products, is a standardised indicator of which producers can deliver quality products at affordable pricing

Ad Wegner, Getwine.

Panellists at the 2022 Gold Wine Awards

The convenor mostly chose panelists with extensive retail experience. These are the people in the industry making their living from understanding the flavour profiles and price points of the wines they need to stock. By partnering with industry doorkeepers, the Gold Wine Awards are keeping pace with the people monitoring the consumer’s pulse.

The panel consisted of retail veterans Karel Wegner from GetWine, Rebecca Constable from Woolworths (chairperson), Sue Proudfoot from Wine Concepts, Lisa du Toit from Urban Wines, Joseph Dhafana an experienced Sommelier, Gregory Mutambe Sommelier and regular taster for Wine of the Month Club, Jacques Lombard owner of Wine brands, and Wanda Cronje CWM.

Rebecca Constable (Chairperson) – Woolworths

Sue Proudfoot – Wine Concepts

Lisa du Toit – Urban Wines

Karel Wegner – Getwine

Gregory Mutambe – Somellier

Jacques Lombard – Wine Brands

Chris Groenewald from Pounding Grape

Joseph Dafana – Sommelier

Wanda Cronje CWM

The South African wine market and producers are really stepping up to the plate in terms of producing quality wines for great value. In fact, South African wines are actually under priced when you compare us to the global market. The best producers are really beginning to understand their strengths, such as really understanding their terroir and what grows best in their region. They are beginning to specialise and focus, which is resulting in not just some global awarding winning wines, but excellent quality for the higher volume wines as well.

Rebecca Constable, Woolworths Wine Buyer

Wines at R180 and below per bottle

There is little guidance for consumers to find value-for-money wines, especially in the lower price categories. Awards serve as a marketing tool, and the consumer can make more informed buying choices.

The best wines were awarded gold or double gold, indicating value for money. After scoring the wines, the results are then statistically correlated to the price to determine whether the wines offer real value for money. The top-performing producers are able to use a Top 10 sticker on their bottles proclaiming their Top 10 position.

Retail outlets know that the value wines on their shelves are the reason they keep their doors open, and consumers are increasingly becoming more value-conscious, not settling for mediocre wines. The standard of the awarded wines was outstanding, especially considering that the wines are selling at R180 or below per bottle.

Chenin blanc

Chenin blanc was the second-biggest white wine class and a testimony to how well the cultivar does in South Africa. Chenin blanc lost its Cinderella status long ago. The wines that were entered had some excellent examples of the cultivar with consistent quality.

Chris Groenewald, said that he definitely thinks that Chenin blanc is a great choice in the value category, because of the diversity in the style you can get, and therefore it caters for everybody. Sue Proudfoot and Gregory Mutambe agreed, citing the range of styles on offer and the amount of room there is for producers to play and express their own terroir and style.

The top wine in the class was definitely the Alvi’s Drift Signature Chenin blanc 2022 which stood out above the rest value-wise.

Chardonnay

Most of the Chardonnay wines entered were either unwooded or made judicious use of oak. The panelist all agreed that there is a pretty sharp divide between those clients who like oak in their Chardonnay and those who don’t. In general, oaking is not a factor because it must always be done judiciously without overpowering the fruit.

The Robertson Winery Chardonnay 2022 was the judge’s favourite value wine in this class.

Rosé / Blanc de noir

The Rosé and Blanc de noir class was the third-biggest white wine class. This year there were exceptional examples that show why this class is so popular.

The panelists agree that Rosé offers serious value when compared to most other white wine categories, and if you had to blindly spend money, it would be a go-to category that seldom disappoints. There is however the fallacy that Rosé wines are sweet, which still lingers in many wine circles, and still alienates some consumers from the style.

The best value Rosé/Blanc de Noir was the Swartland Winemakers Collection Blanc de Noir 2022.

Smaller white wine classes

In the smaller white wine classes, the Grenache blanc, Viognier and Pinot Gris did well. The Perdeberg Grenache blanc 2022 was the top value scorer in these classes.

Red wine:

Shiraz

Shiraz was the fifth-biggest red wine class and the wines were very consistent, with some excellent quality. The 2021 vintage showed very well, packed with vibrant red fruit, spice, and integrated oak and spice.

The Slanghoek Private Selection Shiraz 2020 was the top wine in this class.

Pinotage

It seems that winemakers are increasingly getting the handle on this cultivar. Most wines were very well-made, showing lots of varietal character, balance, and clever use of oak.

Rebecca Constable said Pinotage is a bit like Marmite, either you like it or you don’t. There seems to be too much style variation within the cultivar, which makes it abstract for consumers, and difficult for them to fall in love with the category. There are awesome Pinotages, but then there are the awkward ones, and some with too much oak and no balance.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet Sauvignon class was the third-biggest class and had very few ‘greener’ wines, and some panelists agree that a little bit of greenness can be pleasant, but only when seen in the context of the area it is made. Some excellent examples of the cultivar had fabulous fruit supported by firm tannins and good balance. The top-value wine in this class was the Landskroon 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Merlot

Merlot was the second-biggest red wine category. This class impressed the judges, showing why consumers often have this as their go-to category. The wines were soft, with good length and a soft finish.

The tasters thought that the producers that were doing Merlot justice in the value class were definitely focusing on upfront fruit and downplaying greenness as far as possible. Merlot seems to have created a great following, and it has to do with the uniformity in style, balance and the beautiful fruit profile of the cultivar.

The best examples were the Badsberg Wine Cellar Merlot 2020 and the Robertson Winery Fat Bastard Merlot 2020.

Smaller red wine classes

In the smaller red classes, Cinsaut and Grenache Noir impressed. The best value red in these classes was the Bellevue Cinsaut 2020.

Red blends

The red blends displayed diversity and impressed the panel overall. The 2021 blends showed well, with fresh black fruit character and good balance. Cape blends are often thought to be a value category, and producers seem to be getting a better grip on integrating Pinotage in the blend.

When asked, the panelist thought that non-traditional blends (non-Bordeaux, non-Cape blend) do seem to offer a lot more value, but you have to know the producer. This area is traditionally the dumping ground for all leftover wine, so consumers must tread lightly. According to the panelists, the safest bet for value blends is Rhône, and Bordeaux style blends.

The top-value wine in the class was the Darling Cellars DC Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot 2021.

Smart spending in the wine aisle

We asked our tasters what their smart spending tips are when it comes to wine, and here are some:

  • Value does not necessarily mean cheap. Quality for the price is important.
  • Wines in cork are overrated, and the cork adds expense.
  • Explore lesser-known niche varieties, because there you can find rubies in the dust.
  • Blanc de Noir / Rosé is underrated.
  • Chenin blanc is a great value class.

 

The Top 10 producers were:

  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International
  • Eagle’s Cliff Winery
  • Koelenhof Wynkelder
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies
  • Perdeberg Wines
  • Robertson Winery
  • Wineways
  • Slanghoek Wynkelder
  • Swartland Winery
  • KWV International

The Double Gold Winners were:

  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International – Signature Chenin Blanc 2022
  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International – Signature Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Badsberg Wine Cellar – Chardonnay Sur Lie 2021
  • Badsberg Wine Cellar – Merlot 2020
  • Darling Cellars – DC Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2021
  • Gravel Junction Wine and Spirits (Pty)ltd – Three Peaks Cantata NV
  • Koelenhof Wynkelder (Pty) Ltd – Koelenhof Koelenhoffer 2022
  • Landskroon Wines – Landskroon Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Pandora’s Box All Day Rosé NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Pandora’s Box Lock 1855 Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Bella Vino Sassy Sweet Red NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Bella Vino Seductively Sweet White NV
  • Perdeberg Wines Pty Ltd – The Vineyard Collection Grenache Blanc 2022
  • Perdeberg Wines Pty Ltd – Perdeberg Sparkling Rosé 2022
  • Perdeberg Wines Pty Ltd – Perdeberg SSR Soft Smooth Rosé 2022
  • Robertson Winery – Robertson Winery Chardonnay 2022
  • Robertson Winery – Fat Bastard Merlot 2020
  • Sands Traders cc t/a Wineways – De Villiers: Pinotage 2021
  • Sands Traders cc t/a Wineways – Black Tie: Pinotage 2021
  • Slanghoek Wynkelder – Slanghoek Private Selection Shiraz 2020
  • Swartland Winery – Swartland Winemakers Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Swartland Winery – Swartland Winemakers Collection Blanc de Noir 2022
  • Visio Vintners – Visio Vintners Sauvignon Blanc 2021
  • Weltevrede Wine Estate – Cape Wine Crafters Vanilla Chardonnay 2022

The Gold Award Winners were:

  • African Sun Wines (Pty) Ltd – Mara Tamu Nyeupe 2021
  • African Sun Wines (Pty) Ltd – Mara Nyekundu 2020
  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International – Signature Viognier 2022
  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International – Signature Chardonnay 2022
  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International – Signature Pinotage Rosé 2022
  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International – Signature Shiraz 2020
  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International – Signature Pinotage 2021
  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International – 221 Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International – 221 Pinotage 2020
  • Alvi’s Drift Wines International – 221 Special Cuvee 2020
  • Badsberg Wine Cellar – Chenin Blanc 2022
  • Badsberg Wine Cellar – Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Barnardt Boyes Wines (Pty) Ltd – Carrol Boyes Sketchbook Chardonnay 2022
  • Bellevue Wine Estate – Bellevue Shiraz 2020
  • Bellevue Wine Estate – Bellevue Cinsaut 2020
  • Benguela Cove Wine Estate – Lighthouse Collection: Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Blake Family Wines – 16MILE Beach Rooipan Rosé 2021
  • Boplaas Family Vineyards – Boplaas Moscato Perlé 2022
  • Boplaas Family Vineyards – Boplaas Shiraz Rosé 2022
  • Calitzdorp Cellar – Calitzdorp Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Calitzdorp Cellar – Calitzdorp Merlot 2021
  • Calitzdorp Cellar – Calizdorp Red Muscadel 2022
  • Calitzdorp Cellar – Calitzdorp Cape Ruby NV
  • Clos Malverne – Heron’s Nest Cabernet Sauvignon Pinotage 2020
  • Clos Malverne – Silver Leaf Merlot 2020
  • Darling Cellars – Darling Cellars Reserve Arum Fields Chenin blanc 2022
  • Darling Cellars – Darling Cellars Reserve Terra Hutton Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
  • David Finlayson Wines – David Finlayson The Pepper Pot 2020
  • De Krans Wines – De Krans Pinotage Rosé 2022
  • Diemersfontein Wines – Diemersfontein Harlequin 2021
  • Eagle’s Cliff Winery – Eagle’s Cliff Pinot Grigio 2022
  • Eagle’s Cliff Winery – Eagle’s Cliff Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2022
  • Eagle’s Cliff Winery – Eagle’s Cliff Shiraz Pinotage 2021
  • Gravel Junction Wine and Spirits (Pty)ltd – Three Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
  • Gravel Junction Wine and Spirits (Pty)ltd – Three Peaks Pinotage 2021
  • Groenland Wyne – Groenland Shiraz Klassiek 2019
  • Groenland Wyne – Landskap Chenin Blanc 2022
  • Hill&Dale – Hill&Dale Sauvignon Blanc 2021
  • Hill&Dale – Hill&Dale Chenin Blanc 2021
  • Hill&Dale – Hill&Dale Chardonnay 2021
  • Hill&Dale – Hill&Dale Dry Rosé Merlot 2021
  • Jason’s Hill Private Cellar – Jason’s Hill Cinsault Unwooded 2021
  • Jason’s Hill Private Cellar – Jason’s Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
  • Jason’s Hill Private Cellar – Jason’s Hill Shiraz 2018
  • Joubert Family Wines – Joubert Family Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Joubert Family Wines – Joubert Family Wines Rosé 2022
  • Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery – Klein Roosboom Jéan Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Koelenhof Wynkelder (Pty) Ltd – Koelenhof Koelnektar 2022
  • Koelenhof Wynkelder (Pty) Ltd – Koelenhof Pinotage 2021
  • Koelenhof Wynkelder (Pty) Ltd – Koelenhof Koelenberg 2021
  • Koelenhof Wynkelder (Pty) Ltd – Stellenbosch Gold Red Blend 2020
  • Koelenhof Wynkelder (Pty) Ltd – Stellenbosch Gold Shiraz 2021
  • Landskroon Wines – Landskroon Paul Hugo Red 2021
  • Leopards Leap Wines – Leopard’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Leopards Leap Wines – Leopard’s Leap Chenin Blanc 2022
  • Leopards Leap Wines – Leopards Leap Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2022
  • Leopards Leap Wines – Leopard’s Leap Merlot 2021
  • Montagu Winery – Lady Mary Montagu Pink Moscato 2022
  • Montagu Winery – Lady Mary Montagu Sauvignon blanc 2022
  • Montagu Winery – Montagu Winery Merlot Ruby Cabernet 2021
  • Morgenster Estate – Morgenster Merlot 2020
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Pandora’s Box Cherry Blossom Sparkling Natural Sweet Rosé NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Pandora’s Box The Professor’s Pinotage NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Bella Vino Perky Pink NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Bella Vino Sublime White NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Bella Vino Sultry Red NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Bob’s Your Uncle A Perfect Storm Sauvignon Blanc NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Bob’s Your Uncle The Fat Cat Chenin Blanc NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Bob’s Your Uncle Once In A Blue Moon Merlot NV
  • Nicholson Smith Agencies – Bob’s Your Uncle Head Over Heels Cab Sauv Merlot NV
  • Opstal Wines – Wild Woman Sauvignon blanc 2022
  • Opstal Wines – Wild Woman Merlot 2021
  • Perdeberg Wines Pty Ltd – The Vineyard Collection Cinsault 2021
  • Perdeberg Wines Pty Ltd – Perdeberg Classic Collection Chenin Blanc 2022
  • Perdeberg Wines Pty Ltd – Perdeberg Pinotage Fairtrade 2021
  • Perdeberg Wines Pty Ltd – Lighthearted Lower in Alcohol Cinsault Rosé 2022
  • Robertson Winery – Robertson Winery Chenin Blanc 2022
  • Robertson Winery – Robertson Winery Beauket 2022
  • Robertson Winery – Robertson Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
  • Robertson Winery – Fat Bastard Chardonnay 2022
  • Roodezandt RF – McGregor Colombard 2022
  • Roodezandt RF – McGregor Chenin blanc 2022
  • Rosendal Wines – Rosendal Barony Rosslying Chardonnay 2021
  • Sands Traders cc t/a Wineways – Leipoldt : Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Sands Traders cc t/a Wineways – Leipoldt: Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2021
  • Sands Traders cc t/a Wineways – Black Tie: Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2021
  • Sands Traders cc t/a Wineways – De Villiers: Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
  • Slanghoek Wynkelder – Slanghoek Private Selection Chenin Blanc 2022
  • Slanghoek Wynkelder – Slanghoek Private Selection Chardonnay 2021
  • Slanghoek Wynkelder – Slanghoek Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2022
  • Slanghoek Wynkelder – Vinay Vin Rosé NV
  • SpijkerBessie Wyne – Bessie Sauvignon blanc 2022
  • Stellenbosch Family Wines – Chardonnay 2021
  • Stellenbosch Family Wines – Glorious Merlot 2020
  • Swartland Winery – Swartland Winemakers Collection Chenin Blanc 2022
  • Swartland Winery – Swartland Winemakers Collection Chardonnay 2022
  • Swartland Winery – Swartland Winemakers Collection Merlot 2021
  • Swartland Winery – Swartland Winemakers Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
  • Swartland Winery – Swartland Winemakers Collection Syrah 2020
  • Swartland Winery – Swartland Winemakers Collection Tinta Barocca 2021
  • Vredenheim Wines – Merlot 2020
  • Warshay Investments (pty) Ltd t/a KWV – Classic Colletion Chenin Blanc 2022
  • Warshay Investments (pty) Ltd t/a KWV – Classic Collection Chardonnay 2022
  • Warshay Investments (pty) Ltd t/a KWV – Classic Collection Pinotage 2021
  • Warshay Investments (pty) Ltd t/a KWV – Classic Collection Shiraz 2021
  • Weltevrede Wine Estate – Cape Wine Crafters Blueberry Cabernet 2019

Less than half the wines received an award.

“The Gold Wine Awards is for wine in the sub R180 market, which is more than 90% of local wines sold and consumed in South Africa today. This is an indicator of what wines are exceptional at an affordable price. The double-blind tasting, for me, is the crux of identifying quality wines without any bias.

Ad Wegner, Getwine

Historical top performers

Some producers seem to do consistently well, like Nicholson Smith Agencies, Eagle’s Cliff Wines, Perdeberg Wines and Swartland Wines who made it in the Top 10 for the second year in a row.

This event would not have been possible without our partners:

Details about the 2023 Gold Wine Awards will be announced in the last week of January 2023.

For enquiries, visit the website at https://goldwineawards.com/ or contact Sanet at sanet@goldwineawards.co.za.