There are an estimated 30 000 entries for this years DWWA and entries closed on 19 March 2008. Are these awards important to South African producers? Before debating this point let’s take a look at how the wines are judged and the overall International Trophy winners are assessed.
Entries received at the Decanter warehouse are categorised according to origin, type and price. The wines are then tasted in flights of 12, grouped by region, and in eight price bands as follows: up to £4.99, £5-6.99, £7-9.99, £10-14.99, £15-19.99, £20-29.99, £30-39.99,and £40+. This process begins on 5 April and concludes on 12 April 2008.
The next stage involves scoring and grading the wines as follows: no award, Commended, Bronze, Silver or Gold. Gold-medal wines are retasted by the regional chairs for confirmation. The next round of judging involves a taste-off of Gold medal-winning wines for each region and the best of each style is awarded a regional trophy. The final stage of judging reaches a climax with the International Trophy winners being choosen from the Regional Trophies.
In 2007 several South African wines won International Trophy awards:
- Cape Point Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc 2005 over £10
- Oak Valley, The Oak Valley Blend 2004: Bordeaux Blend over £10
- Columella 2004 : International Rhone Blend £10
- Spice Route, Malabar 2004: International Red Blend over £10
It is encouraging for our wine industry to have such representation and recognition at international level. Thus the debate as to whether our producers should enter such competitions is simply answered, yes. For how else do we continue to make our mark within the global village of wine? And how do we continue to assess our skills as winemakers? Competition identifies a common goal – the desire to be the best. There’s no shame in wanting to make the best wine and being recognised for it.
The judging week for the DWWA runs from 21- 25 April and results are released on 23 May.