2016 South African Wine Tasting Championships – More than just swirl, smell and sip!

Thursday, 18 August, 2016
Elsenburg, Kelly-Marie Jacobs
Tasting wine has long been considered an art, as well as a particular science. It is much more than the swishing and swashing of a wine in one’s glass or the discreet gargling action before spitting or swallowing.

The 2016 South African Wine Tasting Championships (SAWTC) took place on 06 August, at the alluring Taj Hotel in Cape Town and proved yet again be a platform where novices and experts alike, put their eyes, noses and palates to the ultimate sensory test.

A total of 46 wines were tasted, from several estates, which included Joostenberg, Creation, Spioenkop, Cape Point Vineyards, Spice Route, Marianne, Steenberg and Constantia Uitsig. Varying climates, terroirs and winemaking styles added a sense of diversity to the event, but also challenged the palate of the participant even more.

The event, which ran from 10:00 in the morning to 17:00 in the afternoon, saw a fluid flow of participants during the day. Some were serious tasters, while others were neophytes to the craft. Nethertheless, smiles were shared, as well as tasting notes; glasses were clinked, spittoons sometimes ignored, but an ever constant buzz of stimulating exchanges electrified the room.

Participants could decide whether to taste all 46 wines or single out wines of their preference from the different wine estates. When participants felt comfortable with their efforts, they were led to a room where five white wines and five red wines were laid out. These wines were then tasted blind, however, participants could use their notes made during the open tasting. A keen sense of memory, which relied heavily on the palate and nose, was the essential factor in identifying the ten unknown wines down to vintage, origin of grapes, cultivar and producer. A tricky feat, indeed!

The event this year was not only a platform for putting your taste buds to the test, but it was also an endeavour to involve industry workers. The top South Africa Cellar Workers, who graduated from the Circle of Excellence Program, run by Santi Basson, were invited to attend. These individuals have been working under the WineTech and VinPro South Africa Cellar Worker Program and were rewarded with a day of tasting and networking.

Earlier in July, the same event was held in Johannesburg. The finalists from Gauteng will face off against the Cape Town qualifiers on the 21st of August to decide the National Team, who will represent South Africa in the World Tasting Championships, to be held in France, on 08 October 2016.

Congratulations to not only the top tasters, but also to all the participants. We now eagerly anticipate the announcement of the National Team and then of course to take on the crème de la crème of the wine tasting world, with our unique South African flair!

Cheers!

View more images in the photo album linked

2016 South African Wine Tasting Championships (SAWTC)
2016 South African Wine Tasting Championships (SAWTC)

2016 South African Wine Tasting Championships (SAWTC)
2016 South African Wine Tasting Championships (SAWTC)

2016 South African Wine Tasting Championships (SAWTC)
2016 South African Wine Tasting Championships (SAWTC)

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