Shiraz Challenge announces 2020 winners

by | Jul 31, 2020 | News

Despite lock down and all that it entailed, the judging for the 8th Shiraz Challenge went ahead with the top-scoring wines announced at an online awards function this week. Well-known and charming TV personality Marciel Hopkins acted as MC and announced the wines that came up trumps.



Cultivar association Shiraz SA hosted the event to which producers, members of the media and consumers were invited to log in. “Sadly we could not go ahead with the traditional tasting of finalists, luncheon and announcement of the winners and the online affair was the best second place we could come up with” according to Edmund Terblanche, Chairman of Shiraz SA.

And the 12 Shiraz champions for 2020 are …

(in no particular order)

  • Koelfontein Shiraz 2017
  • Kunjani Shiraz 2015
  • Benguela Cove Estate Syrah 2018
  • Saronsberg Shiraz 2018
  • Trizanne Reserve Syrah 2018
  • Flagstone Dark Horse Shiraz 2016
  • Babylonstoren Shiraz 2018
  • Lomond Estate Syrah 2018
  • De Grendel Elim Shiraz 2018
  • Old Road Wine Co Pepper Wind Syrah 2017
  • Wildeberg Red (Boutinot) 2019
  • Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards Heritage Syrah 2017


Runners-up in the category for Shiraz were: La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier 2017; Bloemendal Tierberg Syrah 2014; Rust en Vrede Estate Vineyards Syrah 2017; De Grendel Shiraz 2016; Alto Shiraz 2017; Rickety Bridge Shiraz 2017; Benguela Cove Lighthouse Syrah 2018 and Stellenview Cape Five Reserve Shiraz 2017. 

The winning Shiraz blends are:

  • Saronsberg Full Circle 2018
  • Babylonstoren Babel 2018
  • Strandveld The Navigator 2017

Lomond Belladonna SMV 2018; Idiom SMV 2015 and KWV Roodeberg Dr Charles Niehaus 2016 were  the finalists pipped at the post in the blend category.

This year a new category for Shiraz Rosé was introduced and Stellenbosch Hills Polkadraai Rosé2020 was announced as the winning wine.

Zandvliet Shiraz Rosé 2020 joined Kleinood Katherien Rosé 2019 as runners-up in this category.

“Although the number of rosé wines entered was fairly low, we expect it to grow in the future as this is a style of wine that is fast gathering popularity the world over” said Chairman Edmund Terblanche.

Panel convenor and Cape Wine Master Dr Andy Roediger remarked that the wines entered in this category were all dry and elegant with little variance in their light blush colour. Wines displayed subtle red fruits with slight spicy undertones and full of vibrant character.

“The Shiraz blends were very well harmonized and did not allow other varieties to dominate in character as sometimes in the past. In general the wines were well structured with good wood management. Surprisingly the older vintages took centre stage, showing Shiraz blends can also age gracefully” according to Roediger. 

Terblanche, also a member of the judging panel, said “The overall quality in the Shiraz category was extremely high and accommodated all the different styles such as pepper-dominated, fruit-driven or spicy. Here the younger vintages of 2017 to 2019 actually outclassed the much talked-about vintage of 2015.”

To that Roediger added “This category was by far the best that I have had in judging Shiraz over the past few years. It shows that South African Shiraz is on par with those of other countries in the world.”

The unique format for tasting that eliminates inter-session discussion of wines and requires each judge to follow his own specific tasting order, was once again utilised.

“In order to adhere to the guidelines for Covid 19, the judging panel as well as the number of working personnel, had to be reduced and a number of measures put in place” explained Terblanche. “However, we were fortunate in that everything went smoothly and we managed to conclude the four-day judging without any hitches” he added.

This year the panel comprised a line-up of experienced tasters and assisting Dr Roediger were Shiraz SA chairperson and La Motte cellar master Edmund Terblanche; De Grendel cellar master Charles Hopkins; Anthony de Jager cellar master Fairview and owner/winemaker and Cape Wine Master from Eenzaamheid, Janno Briers-Louw.

The main sponsor for the 2020 Shiraz Challenge is Vinventions SA and the firm is proud to have been associated with this competition for eight years, according to Managing Director Johan Conradie. Other contributors were Nederburg, where judging traditionally takes place; supporting software provider and program developer Wine MS; and, the Exceed Group, which supervises judging and audits the results.

Shiraz SA, established in 2008, is currently the largest cultivar organisation with over 230 members. It represents producers of South African Shiraz and its aim is to create awareness of the superior and award-winning wines produced locally from this noble cultivar. 

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