Decanter World Wine Awards results 3

Decanter Wine Magazine has announced the results of the 2008 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) at the London International Wine Trade Fair.

Decanter is the world’s most influential wine competition and the results thereof undoubtedly lay the foundation for overnight success for producers. Immediate recognition of Decanter winners on store shelves leads to increased sales and brand recognition and this carries welcome financial reward.

South African wine entries are up on last year’s competition and accounted for the following in terms of wine style and number of wines tasted: Red = 354, Rose = 4, Sparkling = 4, White =179, Sweet =7 and Fortified =1. Total number of wines received for the entire competition was 36 000 bottles covering over 9000 categories and these were methodically checked and dispatched into varietal, style and price point categories. After seven days of coding and bagging these wines were presented for judging week.

Top judges invited to this year’s competition, many of whom were appointed Regional Chair for their area of expertise, included Tom Stevenson, Alsace and Champagne Regional Chair: “The DWWA is the ultimate terroir competition. I have judged on every continent and enjoy most of the wine competitions, but this is the only one in which the chairman is selected for the specialist knowledge of the wines his panel will exclusively taste, where the chairman gets to select and fine-tune the equally specialist judges on his panel, and where the wines are tasted in flights of the same geographical origin.” Steven Spurrier, Chairman of DWWA, was certainly kept busy during the week moving between the three studio’s offering a final verdict relating to price point or varietal character and style. On average 70 to 90 wines were tasted daily by individual judges.

The judging panel for SA wines included Cape Wine Master Vashti Galpin, John Avery, Greg Sherwood MW, Maria Gallup, wine buyer for the Co-Operative and Lynne Sheriff, MW and Regional Chair. Lynne Sheriff’s viewpoint regarding last year’s competition was summed up as follows: “The Decanter World Wine Awards is one of the most efficiently run global competitions. It brings together a selection of world-wide judges with a wealth of experience in wine judging. Winemakers benefit immensely from having retail buyers and journalists judging their wines. These are all judged blind, but the judges receive the results, once these have been computed. Decanter then provides a platform for international marketing of the results”.

The SA results show marked improvement in terms of winemaking skill, with a continued move away from over-extracted and over-oaked red wines and Chardonnays. Canopy management focus continues to yield improvement in terms of physiological ripeness, thus controlling alcohol levels, an area that UK supermarkets take note of. Chardonnay and white Bordeaux blends showed an increase in Gold medal winners on last year, whilst Syrah/Shiraz accounted for 87% of medal winners. High-altitude and cool climate wine growing areas achieved good results, building on previous performance and success. South Africa was well represented and accounted for the second highest number of entries of New World wine.

The competition is based on different price point categories: (A)£4.99, (B)£5-6.99,(C) £7-9.99, (D)£10-14.99, (E)£15-19.99, (F)£20-29.99, (G)£30-39.99,and (H)£40+. Within each category wines are scored as follows: Commended, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The next step involves judging Gold medal winners within a particular varietal or style category, based on a price point category of under £10 and over £10 to award the overall Regional Trophy. The final day of judging involves the awarding of International Trophies again based on category and price point as for Regional awards. There were more South African wines entered in the Under £10 category. There were noticeable absentees from the competition, which begs the question: how do we grow our industry and build individual wine careers if wines are not entered into a competition aimed at the consumer representing various economic backgrounds? Decanter Wine Magazine is only sold in Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, thus giving the consumer direct access to DWWA winners. Promotions Manager for Waitrose, Kate Prall MW: “We use in branch barkers to advertise winning a trophy and we know there is a significant uplift in sales. We also highlight the win in the Wine List and on Waitrose Wine Direct. It is a particularly good way to encourage customers to buy non-price promoted lines. It also gives them the confidence to try something new and trade up to higher priced and often better quality wines”.SOUTH AFRICAN GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Chenin Blanc: Cederberg Sustainable Chenin Blanc 2007 and KWV Mentor Selection Chenin Blanc 2006
White Blends
: Cape Point Isleidh 2005 and Tokara White 2006

: Rustenberg Five Soldiers 2006, Paul Cluver 2007 and Glen Carlou 2007

Sauvignon Blanc
: Eikendal Vineyards 2007, Lomond Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Pincushion 2007 and Elgin Vintners
: Southern Right 2006 and Kanonkop 2004

: Morgenster 2004

: Cederberg 2006, Elgin Vintners 2006, Spier Private Collection 2005, Spier Vintage Collection 2005, The Spice Route Flagship Syrah 2005, Escapade Winery Escapade Shiraz 2006

Red Blends
: Buitenverwachting Christine 2003, Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2004, Amani Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2006 and Englebrecht Els Proprietors Blend 2005
Dessert Wines: Delheim Edelspatz NLH 2007 and Vin de Constance 2002.

Decanter will be attending the Cape Wine 2008 in September where they will be pouring the winning SA wines and handing out copies of Decanter Wine Magazine.

Download all the results, Gold medal and Regional trophy winners from the Decanter website –

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