Neil Ellis was nominated as the latest Sawi Wine Legend, joining other Sawi Legends like Peter Finlayson, Jan ‘Boland’ Coetzee, Beyers Truter, Etienne le Riche and Hempies du Toit at the recently held Sawi Wine Excellence Awards at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.
Overall trophy honours went to KWV with 15 Platinum accolades. The Trophies for Best Fine White and Red Wine Producers of the Year once again went to DeMorgenzon (including the highest score for a white wine produced) and Bouchard Finlayson, while the trophy for Best Brandy went to Laborie. Wineries with the highest number of accolades were KWV 20 (15 Platinum); Distell 18; Cederberg and Spier 9 each; Groot Constantia and Kleine Zalze 8 each; Creation, Paul Cluver and Saronsberg 7 each; and Diemersdal and Annandale 6 each. DeMorgenzon, Bouchard Finlayson, La Motte, Rustenberg, Vergelegen, Vriesenhof, Wildekrans and Windmeul all received five awards each.
No less than 400 wines from 187 producers were represented in the new brand concept referred to as the ‘Grand Wines Collection’ (GWC), which promotes South African fine wines as a collective.
Within the GWC, Sawi members gain recognition with a Platinum status accolade bestowed on wines with a multi-year score of 95 or more and Grand Gold status for a score of 93 or more. The current GWC is split almost equally between Platinum and Grand Gold achievers with no less than 50 wines receiving perfect 100-point scores.
To determine the cream of the crop, Sawi applies a rigorous methodology through its Algorithm of Excellence, which levels the playing field by ascribing a value to the various kinds of awards. The system then condenses the results of more than 100 judging panels using a rolling ten-year timeframe.