Young stars must ‘seize the moment’ in SA’s oldest wine show

by | Jun 11, 2021 | Article, News

The deadline for entries to this year’s SA Young Wine Show is right around the corner, set for 24 June in all the South African wine regions and 9 July at the show’s office in Paarl.

The organisers of this competition – for young wines produced in the current year   and the oldest wine showdown in the world – the SA National Wine Show Association (SANWSA), has announced that the judging is scheduled for 26-30 July at Nederburg in Paarl. 

The organisers are meticulously implementing the safety measures required under the local Covid-19 pandemic Level 2 for these competitions to be able to proceed. Thorough protocols were developed last year for handling the wines entered in such a way that all health and safety requirements for the judges, officials and personnel involved in the tasting sessions, are met.

The SA Young Wine Show is the world’s most long-standing wine show, presented for 189 years already. This has been giving winemakers the opportunity to weigh up their different young wines, experimental styles and new cultivars against their peers in the industry since 1833.

Winemakers are particularly excited about the wines of the 2021 vintage, which has yielded high quality white and red wines despite some difficult climatic conditions during both the growth and harvesting periods.

Watch a behind the scenes video from 2019’s Young Wine Show judging.

The Young Wine Show once again presents the ideal opportunity for all producers to compete with their select wines for SA Champion Trophy status in 17 classes. Two especially sought-after trophies are at stake, namely the General Smuts and Pietman Hugo Trophies – respectively as this competition’s top accolade since 1952 for the overall champion wine, and recognition for the winery achieving the highest points in total for five different wines entered.

In line with the practice over the years, specialist judges are appointed in all panels to ensure that the top expertise is employed to identify the winners.

The core business of the SA Young Wine Show is to give the wine industry the opportunity to have wines presented for judging and to use the results as a yardstick of quality. This should be particularly significant for the 2021 vintage that has so far been described as an outstanding year.

Thanks to the value of these – as well as 17 other quite magnificent trophies presented in the various categories ever since the glorious days in the Company’s Garden in Cape Town and later the Goodwood Showgrounds in collaboration with Agri-Expo – the SA Young Wine Show has been going from strength to strength as a yardstick of the country’s new wines from each vintage.

The Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society – which in 1996 established the marketing name Agri-Expo – has been actively involved with the Young Wine Show over all the years as owner of this remarkable Show and has continued its commitment also as custodian to this day. In the process, Agri-Expo has entrusted the SANWSA as organiser with the most impressive array of gold and silver trophies, which are awarded each year to the winning winemakers.

Moreover, the Show received a major boost in 2019 – thanks to a new partnership between the competition organisers and Porex SA, a prominent Paarl-based supplier of machinery and oenological equipment to the wine industry – by which the two respective winners of the General Smuts and Pietman Hugo Trophies are sponsored for a six-day trip to Germany.

However, last year’s winners, the cellarmasters of Flagstone and Badsberg, could not do this trip, in view of travel restrictions, but will this year be joining the two latest winners in November if conditions allow international travel. The foursome will visit a well-known fermentation company and filtration plant, as well as several wine cellars. They will possibly attend an international show for the beverage industry in Germany too.

  • Meanwhile, in view of the Covid-19 realities, a decision about the form and date of the competition’s traditional awards function will be made by the SANWSA and Agri-Expo at a later stage.

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