Team SA announced

Sunday, 21 August, 2016
Jean Vincent Ridon
Heidi Kritzinger is officially the best blind wine taster in 2016

The national Finals of the South Africa Wine Tasting Championship took place at the Taj Hotel Cape Town on Sunday the 21st of August 2016. Competitors qualified through the provincial championship in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

At the finals, the 16 best national candidates had to identify 12 wines of the world served to them blind. Finalists could gain points with the vintage, country, cultivar, origin and the name of the producer. Wines were poured every ten minutes in conditions similar to those faced by team South Africa at the World Championship. Some of the wines were imported specially for the competition, making it even more difficult for the competitors.

At this blind tasting game, women are displaying great talent, making 8 positions out of the top ten ranking position.
The 2016 National champion is Heidi Kritzinger (working at Kanonkop wine Estate) followed by Stephanie Wiid (Working at Fairview) and Dean Ehrlich (Attorney in Johannesburg) are making the podium. The runners up, Anita Streicher-Nel (working at Morgenhof, ranked 4th), Lerato Moleleki (working for Avondale in Gauteng ranked 5th) and Jeanri-Tine van Zyl (Working for Feed-that-bird, ranked 6th) will form the base for the selection of Team South Africa 2016, depending on availability to travel to France on the 8th of October 2016.

The top ten ranking is completed by Gosia Podgorska (Fairview) Kristen Duff (Backsberg), Samarie Smith (Media 24), and Chris Groenewald (Hawk + Schoon) .

After years of sommeliers dominated podiums, it is interesting to see wine marketers back on the top, and winemakers winning medals. Stephanie Wiid from Fairview is only the second winemaker to qualify for Team South Africa since Anton Swarts in 2013.

The Team South Africa 2016 will soon be confirmed to start training together to be ready to fly to the World Blind Tasting Challenge in Provence (France). This world blind tasting championship is organized by La Revue du Vin de France, the oldest wine magazine in the world, publishing since 1927. It is the fourth year that South Africa has qualified for this world competition where 24 countries will be facing each other to overthrow the Spanish team who is the current World Champion.

Team South Africa will train on foreign wines, and has been offered a exciting allocation by online retailer Port2Port, one of team South Africa's supporters. Team South Africa will launch a fundraising campaign aimed at the wine industry in order to finance this beautiful story of genuine wine lovers.

WINE.CO.ZA already confirmed their renewed commitment to Team South Africa as Media Partner, and supporters like TAJ Hotel, Port2Port and Speidel Tank are behind the Team which will make this collective dream be an international success.

The wines were served blind were:
1 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Waipara Hills
2 Serbia Pinot Blanc 2014 Zvonko Bogdan
3 South Africa Chardonnay 2013Ataraxia
4 France Sancerre (Sauvignon blanc) 2015 Thomas-Ridon
5 Germany Riesling Mosel Kabinet 2007 JJ Prüm
6 Portugal Moscatel de Setubal 2011Bacalhoa
7 France Lalande de Pomerol (Merlot/Cabernet Franc)2012 Château Vieux Cardinal Lafaurie
8 Italy Chianti (Sangiovese) 2014 Masi
9 Argentina Malbec 2013 Alma Mora
10 USA Zinfandel 2013 Geyser Peak
11 France Saint Joseph (Syrah) 2012 Cave de Tain
12 Spain Rioja (Tempranillo) 2012 ViñaPomal

The South African Wine Tasting Championships have been organised by Jean Vincent Ridon since 2013. This is the only wine event aimed at awarding wine lovers, and the only domestic competition qualifying for an international championship.
The organizers want to thank the TAJ Cape Town for their world class facility allowing the 2016 finals to be judged under ideal conditions.

Watch the special SAWTC wine.co.za Spotlight environment for more news, pics and videos of the championship.

Heidi Kritzinger (No 1)
Heidi Kritzinger (No 1)

Heidi, Dean, Jean Vincent, Stephanie & Anita
Heidi, Dean, Jean Vincent, Stephanie & Anita

Stephanie Wiid
Stephanie Wiid

Dean Ehrlich
Dean Ehrlich

Anita Streicher-Nel
Anita Streicher-Nel

Lerato Moleleki
Lerato Moleleki

The Wine tasted blind
The Wine tasted blind

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