The Veritas Awards results announced today (14 November) to spontaneous applause, reflected the mood of winemakers, viticulturists, marketers and other industry roleplayers during a particularly difficult year – conveying a new sense of excitement and trust in the future of the awarded wines and brandies.
The results were announced at an informal luncheon in Paarl, instead of the customary annual gala dinner, where three wineries clinched three Double Gold awards each, while seven excelled with two Double Gold awards.
At the same time, a record number of 36 wineries each received one Double Gold and several Gold medals among altogether 70 Double Gold and 128 Gold medals awarded. A total of four Double Gold and 15 Gold medals were awarded to the top fortified wines and South Africa’s leading brandy producers won seven Double Gold and four Gold medals.
The Veritas Vertex Award for the overall champion wine from almost 1 300 entries for Veritas this year, was won by KWV The Mentors Orchestra 2018 (a Bordeaux style blend) – representing the climax of proceedings at the scaled-down awards function under strict Covid-19 protocols at the Polo Club at Val de Vie Estate in Paarl on Saturday 14 November.
The hand-crafted glass trophy was handed over to KWV senior winemaker Izelle van Blerk. It is the first time that a red wine wins this top trophy since first being awarded in 2017.
The Veritas Vertex Award derives its name from the Latin word vertex, which means “highest point” and it perfectly represents the Veritas Awards’ objective of crowning the best wine at the peak of all the medals awarded.
Part of the excitement at the Veritas Awards luncheon today also lay in the activation of the new, specially developed VinoVeritas by CTP App – which will immediately make the coveted Veritas Gold and Double Gold medal winning wines and brandies available for easy, online ordering and delivery to buyers’ doorsteps. This is a first for wine competitions in South Africa by Veritas, South Africa’s oldest and most authoritative competition for market-ready wines and brandies.
A prospective wine buyer will from today be able to simply download the app, register and then place orders – thanks to a ground-breaking collaboration between the organisers’ (the SA National Wine Show Association – SANWSA) and CTP Packaging, Getwine and Cognition FoneWorx.
“This is a proud moment in the 30-year history of Veritas that we can launch such a unique app that will benefit both the South African wine industry and the consumer,” said SANWSA chairperson Christo Pienaar.
This, he emphasised, follows the Awards’ achievement of implementing a world-leading wine judging sanitation system (in collaboration with Tharo Wine) by employing advanced ultra-violet and ozone air-and-surface sanitation techniques – in addition to comprehensive, specially formulated, protocols to ensure the most Covid-19 safe environment possible for the judges and personnel involved.
KWV was among three cellars which excelled with three Double Gold medals each – together with Spier and Nederburg – but this star of the event took more Gold medals and ended with 10 in total. Spier won three Double Gold and seven Gold, with Nederburg three Double Gold and three Gold.
Five wineries clinched two Double Gold medals each in addition to a single Gold, namely Anthonij Rupert Wines, Babylonstoren, Badsberg Wine Cellar, Darling Cellars and De Wetshof Wine Estate. Two wineries earned two Double Gold, Diemersdal Wine Estate and Windmeul Cellar.
In the class for Heritage Vineyard Wines, the 2019 Koelenhof Stellenbosch 1679 Single Vineyard Wine Bush Vine Chenin Blanc won the first Double Gold award since the inception of this new class last year for vineyards older than 35 years.
In the fortified wine category, Nuy took the lead with two Double Gold and two Gold. Aan de Doorns Wine cellar was second with one Double Gold and one Gold, while Delaire Graff Wine Estate finished with one Double Gold.
Distell triumphed in the brandy category with five Double Gold and two Gold medals. KWV was second with two Double Gold medals.
The Best Achiever in the class for ten wines or less, was Flagstone Winery, while KWV also won the Best Achiever class for more than ten wines entered.
Double Gold – wine
Altogether 70 Double Gold and 128 Gold medals were awarded.
KWV led the way with three Double Gold (in addition to 10 Gold) – for Laborie Brut Cap Classique NV, KWV The Mentors Orchestra (Western Cape) 2018 and KWV Abraham Perold Tributum 2010.
Spier won three Double Gold, for Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2019, Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2014 and Spier Creative Block 5 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Malbec/Petit Verdot 2010.
Nederburg Cellars excelled with three Double Gold for Nederburg The Anchorman Philippus Wolvaart Chenin Blanc 2018; Nederburg The Manor House Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 and Nederburg The Motorcycle Marvel Günter Brözel 2013.
Fortified wine winners
Altogether four Double Gold and 15 Gold medals were awarded to the top fortified wines. Nuy Wine Cellar won two Double Gold for Nuy Wit Muscadel 2015 and Nuy Wit Muskadel 2006, while Aan de Doorns won Double Gold for their Muscadel Sweet Red Dessert Wine 2017 and Delaire Graff won Double Gold for their Cape Vintage Port Style Touriga Naçional/Tinta Barocca 2018.
South Africa’s leading brandy producers won seven Double Gold and four Gold medals. Distell was top of the log here and received five Double Gold for its Richelieu International Premium Brandy (Standard brandy), Viceroy 5 Years Potstill Brandy, Van Ryn’s 10 Years Single Potstill Brandy, Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy 12 Years and Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy 20 Years as well as four Gold.
KWV received two Double Gold for its KWV 10 Years Potstill Brandy and KWV 15 Years Alambic Blend Potstill Brandy.
The Veritas Awards attracted almost 1 300 entries this year.
An authoritative jury of 64 local specialists, scrutinised candidates for Veritas fame during a marathon five-day blind tasting session. The scaled-down panels consisted of three members each, also to be in line with the strict Covid-19 protocols that were in place during the judging. Due to the travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, no international judges could participate this year.
The seven most keenly contested categories in terms of entries received were: Red Blends 181, Sauvignon Blanc 149, Cabernet Sauvignon 123, Shiraz 113, Chenin Blanc 102, Chardonnay 102 and Pinotage 70. A total of 20 brandies were entered in three categories: Standard, Potstill and Vintage.
In total, 1 092 medals were awarded – 70 Double Gold, 128 Gold, 185 Silver Outstanding, 506 Silver and 203 Bronze.
Top scorers in the Double Gold medal stakes for Wine were Chenin Blanc 9, Sauvignon Blanc 8, Chardonnay 6, Cabernet Sauvignon 5, Pinotage and Cap Classique, with 4 medals each, White Blends, Other Red Blends, Museum Red Wine with 3 medals each, Merlot, Cape Blend and Shiraz with 2 medals each.
A Double Gold medal each was awarded to Any Other Cultivar (Bukettraube), Bordeaux Blend, Certified Heritage Vineyard Wines, Museum White Wine, NLH, Rhône Blend, Sémillon and Straw Wine.
Double Golds for Fortified Wines with 1 medal each were Red Muscadel, White Muscadel, Cape Port style Vintage and Museum Dessert White.
Potstill Brandy excelled with 6 Double Gold awards and Standard Brandy 1.
Among the Gold medals, Chenin Blanc 10, was tops; followed by Cap Classique, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz with 9 medals each; then Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Other Red blends and White Wine Blends with 7 medals each; Cape Blend, Cape Port Style Ruby/Tawny/Vintage/Other and Chardonnay 6 medals; Cabernet Franc, NLH, Pinot Noir, Rhône Blend, Other Red cultivars, Museum Red Wine, Potstill Brandy and Red Muscadel, 3 medals each; Malbec, Merlot, Museum Cap Classique, Museum White Wine, Straw Wine, White Muscadel, Museum Dessert Wine 2 each. One medal each was awarded to Certified Heritage Vineyard Wines, Museum Cape Port Style Vintage, Bordeaux Blend, Standard Brandy, Viognier, Weisser Riesling and Dessert Wine.
The entire judging process was audited by LDP auditors.
Public wine tastings
Due to the restrictions on gatherings, no countrywide tastings will be held this year and they are being put on ice until next year, as is the case with the tradition to honour role players as Industry Legends.
For more information, visit www.veritas.co.za or contact the Veritas office at tel 021 863 1599, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.