Cape Town winners of the 2017 SAWTC announced

Monday, 5 June, 2017
SAWTC
The Cape Town provincial leg of the South African Wine Tasting Championships took place at the luxurious TAJ Cape Town Hotel on the 3rd of June 2017. The SAWTC is the only event awarding wine tasters. It selects Team South Africa to fly the national colours at the World Championship of Wine Tasting - organised by the Revue du Vin de France, the French wine magazine published since 1927.

Almost 170 participants came to discover the wines from Creation, Idiom, Marianne, Spice Route, Spioenkop, Fairview and Thelema. The candidates had to recognise 10 wines served in anonymous decanters, marking points on cultivar, origin, vintage and producer.

This year the SAWTC was focusing on diversity, showcasing unusual cultivars such as Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Viognier, Roussane, Mourvedre, Barbera, Sangiovese, Riesling, Grenache alongside the more classic Chardonnay or Merlot.

Wine lovers, sommeliers, winemakers were competing in this blind challenge, and more than 120 returned their papers for assessment, putting their taste to the test!
The competitors had to identify 10 wines and answer 6 tie breaking questions such as the indigenous grape grown in Barraida (Portugal) or what are the other names for the grape Mataro.

Jean Vincent RIDON who organises the SAWTC and trains Team SA decided to name the 2017 Provincial Trophy after Wonga Nongqotho, one of the most talented emerging wine men of his generation. Wonga won the 2016 Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge as the best Wine Steward of South Africa. He was registered to compete this Saturday at the SAWTC. He tragically lost his life last week. He was a true inspiration for a new generation of sommeliers.
Jean Vincent RIDON says that " Wonga wanted to take his chance to make Team SA 2017 so badly, we don’t want his passion to be forgotten, and he will be remembered as an inspiring wine man".

The 2017 Wonga SAWTC Provincial champion is Jolette Steyn. She qualifies for the National finals that will be held at the TAJ Cape Town hotel on the 2nd of July, facing among other candidates Eric Botha who is the Gauteng Champion 2017. The best national champions will be selected for Team South Africa 2017 and will fly to Nuit Saint George, in Burgundy, France on the 14th of October to dethrone the 2016 World Champion : China.

The 2017 Provincials proved to be very difficult and the scores were much lower than the other editions due to the unusual wines selected in the blind tasting.

The inaugural SAWTC was organised in 2013. Since then 4 Teams South Africa have been invited to the World Championship, confirming the quality of our South African wine lovers. Among the top 15 of 2017, Samarie Smith, Anton Swarts and Anita Streicher Nel were already in previous Team SAs.

The tops tasters of 2017 are within a few points of each other, and the top 15 provincial wine tasters are:
Jolette Steyn  - Winner of the Wonga SAWTC Provincial Trophy
Francois Cillié
Gosia Podgorska
Kannas Wiid
Pardon Taguzu
Anita Streicher Nel
Tinashe Nyamudoka
Anton Swarts
Edwina Frantz
Markus Granlund
Jeanri-Tine van Zyl
Samarie Smith
Avuyile Maqolo
Marlvin Gwese
William Liw Tat Man

The top tasters include 2 recently capped Cape Wine Masters - Francois Cillie and Anton Swarts and a recently graduated student of the Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA), viz Avuyile Maqolo!


Team SA 2015 - Ralph Reynolds, Anita Streicher Nel & Joseph Dhafana

The candidates selected to participate in the finals will be announced next week after comparing the Cape Town scores with the marks of the best Gauteng tasters who competed at the Standard Bank Juliet Cullinan Wine festival in May 2017.
 
The National Championship will take place on the 2nd of July 2017 at the TAJ Cape Town and will follow the same format as the World Championship. Competitors will have to identify 12 wines from all around the world, recognising the country, cultivar, appellation, vintage and producer.
In 2016 Team South Africa finished 6th best team in the world, out of 25 countries. China, France and the USA took the podium.

The organisers want to congratulate all the competitors who took the risk to put their tastebuds to the test in this very frustrating championship, and a special Bravo to Jolette for grabbing the 2017 Wonga SAWTC Provincial Trophy.
 
WINE.CO.ZA has been a proud supporter of the SAWTC and Team SA since 2013.  

Jolette Steyn
Jolette Steyn

Francois Cillie (CWM)
Francois Cillie (CWM)

Gosia Podgorska
Gosia Podgorska

Pardon Taguzu
Pardon Taguzu

Anita Streicher Nel  (Captain Team SA 2016)
Anita Streicher Nel (Captain Team SA 2016)

Tinashe Nyamoduko
Tinashe Nyamoduko

Anton Swarts (CWM) and his wife
Anton Swarts (CWM) and his wife

Samarie Smith (Team SA 2016)
Samarie Smith (Team SA 2016)

PYDA Graduate - Avuyile Maqolo
PYDA Graduate - Avuyile Maqolo

Marlvin Gwese & Wonga Nongqotho
Marlvin Gwese & Wonga Nongqotho

Jeanri-Tine van Zyl
Jeanri-Tine van Zyl

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