Orange River Cellars takes top honours at 2013 Muskadel SA awards

Wednesday, 29 May, 2013
Orange River Cellars
Upington-based Orange River Cellars celebrated two top achievements at the 11th Muskadel SA awards held in Paarl.
Of the 26 entrants, Orange River Cellars’ Red Muscadel 2012 was the only wine to be awarded a Platinum award at this year’s competition, while their White Muscadel 2012 was awarded Gold.

“It is a wonderful honour and experience to receive this accolade from SA Muskadel; an achievement we are proud of,” says Jim de Kock from Orange River Cellars’ winemaking team. “What makes this achievement unique is that our Muscat d’Frontignan grapes used for making muscadel are sourced from all our five cellars – Upington, Keimoes, Kakamas, Grootdrink and Groblershoop – which are spread along over 300km along the Orange River. The fact that we are able to produce wines of award-winning quality from such a large area emphasises the suitability of the Orange River region’s soils and climate to the Muscat d’Frontignan grape.”

Platinum Awards are usually reserved for products with exceptional packaging. However, due to the consistent excellence of the packaging on this year’s entries, the Platinum Award was for the first time made for quality alone, an accolade bestowed on Orange River Cellars Red Muscadel 2012.

According to Henri Swiegers, chairperson of Muskadel SA and winemaker in the Breede River Valley, a Muscadel wine prefers dry, warm weather conditions, with enough water to irrigate the vineyards proficiently. “This results in high sugar content and acidic pH levels that are the key to a successful Muscadel. South African producers are very committed and always strive to deliver the best quality product.”
 
Tasted blind, the wines are judged and scored according to a tried and tested points system. The uniqueness of the packaging also contributes to the final points tally. Consumers can identify winning Muscats by the Gold or Platinum Muskadel SA stickers on the bottle.

“I think this year’s entries were better than ever before. The Muscats have a good complexity and depth in flavour,” says Dave Biggs, respected judge and wine fundi, about this year’s entries.