SA wine shows implement world-leading sanitation by means of UV-C ultra-violet lamps

by | Aug 25, 2020 | News

The SA National Wine Show Association (SANWSA) has announced that they are the first organisers of wine competitions to be implementing world-leading sanitation systems to judge wines this year during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thereby, the 2020 SA Young Wine Show and the Veritas Awards, with more than 2 000 entries, will take wine competition sanitation standards to a new level by employing advanced ultra-violet and ozone air-and-surface sanitation techniques – in addition to applying comprehensive, specially formulated, protocols to ensure the most Covid-19 safe environment possible for the judges and personnel involved.

SANWSA, which presents these competitions – to be judged over five days each, respectively in early September and middle October – also boasts that this collaboration with Tharo Wine, a Stellenbosch-based cooperage and sanitation service specialist with its remarkable UV-related Uvozone system, will be a first for the industry.

This, in addition to implementing a 65-page virus protection protocol framework fine-tuned by a health practitioner experienced in developing relevant guidelines for large-scale industrial application.

“We’ve gone to these lengths in the interest of the South African wine industry, taking the lead to implement the most advanced measures possible to create a safe and healthy environment for our judges and personnel involved,” said the organisation’s chairperson, Christo Pienaar.

He added that more than 1 000 entries were expected for Veritas, which closes on 9 September, and the Young Wine Show which has received more than 800 entries. The judging at each of these will involve some 70 personnel and judges on 18 panels at the 650 square metres tasting venue, namely the Nederburg Auction Complex in Paarl. The panels have been scaled down from seven and five members respectively for the Young Wine Show and Veritas, to three each to limit the numbers for optimum Covid-19 distancing.

Wynand Hamman, general manager of Tharo Wine, which will supply the equipment, said,” It is a great privilege to make available our technical expertise and UV and ozone technology to SANWSA and these two most prominent wine shows. This is our modest contribution to the SA wine industry during these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Hamman emphasises that the daily Uvozone sanitising will cover each square centimetre of the premises – each table, chair, window, bottle and tasting glass – overnight before each day of judging. Moreover, each judge will receive an electronic screening form to be completed, for instance with details on his or her health condition, daily before leaving home.

The Uvozone system has been developed by Tharo Wine over the past 15 years – initially focusing on oak-barrel and wine tank sterilisation, but today also including air sterilisation in cold-rooms, wine cellars, storage facilities, offices and much more.

The system utilises UV-C ultra-violet lamps and UV lamps that produce ozone. The UV-C light, the company explains, is germicidal, deactivating the DNA of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens and thereby destroying their ability to multiply and cause disease. Specifically, UV-C light causes damage to the nucleic acid of micro-organisms by forming covalent bonds between certain adjacent bases in the DNA. The formation of such bonds prevent the DNA from being unzipped for replication, and the organism is unable to reproduce.

UV-C light is an excellent steriliser for surfaces, water, air etc. The radiation from the UV lamps is harmful to the human skin and eyes; therefore it is only operated in areas when no humans or animals are present.

The ozone sanitising process at the judging premises will only happen during the night before the tastings commence and then every night thereafter for the period of the judging.

The ozone producing lamps will be switched on for two hours during the early hours of the evening and the air-conditioning system will distribute the ozone gas through the whole venue. Thereafter, the germicidal UV lamps, in turn, will be activated and help break down the remainder of ozone in the venue for up to four hours and thus leaving the venue safe for humans.

Tharo has the necessary measuring equipment to test UV radiation and ozone levels in an area to ensure its safety for humans to enter.

Meanwhile the SANWSA’s unique protocol list for safe judging sessions has already been implemented highly successfully at the Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards, including the following:

  • An on-line form for screening, which has to be completed daily by all judges, organisers and workers
  • Temperature screening and hand-sanitation on arrival
  • Compulsory face-masks and maintaining a safe distance of 2 m between judges and personal hand-sanitation
  • Only one handler of glasses to be placed on serving trays, with clean glasses for each round, and one person per tasting panel handling these
  • All glasses and coffee mugs to be cleansed in a special machine at 80°C.

The Young Wine Show judging takes place from 31 August – 4 September and Veritas judging from 12 – 16 October at the Nederburg Auction Complex in Paarl, which ensures ample space for social distancing for all the judges, officials and personnel.

Contact us for more information at tel 021 863 1599 or e-mail

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