Vitis Vinifera Awards: Questions and Answers

Thursday, 20 June, 2013
Bertus van Niekerk
What you wanted to know about the new Vitis Vinifera Awards competition.
What is Vitis Vinifera Awards?
The philosophy behind the competition was conceived and thought through for more than a decade, in conversations with wine makers, brand owners, the trade and wine buyers.  Vitis Vinifera Awards is a competition driven by the consumer.  Vitis Vinifera Awards aims to commend more good wines than any other competition, where normally the focus is primarily on the exclusive, elusive top echelon wines. 
Why another competition?
More gold and double gold medals than any other competition will be awarded by the Vitis Vinifera Awards, making results of this competition more relevant to more wine buyers.  More usable medals will lead to an increase in saleability – giving producers better return on their investment, considering that entering competitions essentially is an important business proposition.
How does the scoring work?
Wines are tasted blind.  Wines will receive scores on a four point scale:
1.  Bearable    –   remember not to buy this wine
2.  Drinkable   –   buy this wine if it’s priced to go
3.  Enjoyable  –   buy this wine regularly because it’s good
4.  Fantastic   –   invest in copious amounts of this wine and show it off to friends
Enjoyable wines will receive gold and fantastic wines double gold.  The aim of this competition is to award more wines with gold or double gold than any other local competition, thereby ensuring that consumers will be able to select medalled wines in much bigger quantities in a wide price range off retailer’s shelves. 
Who will benefit from the Vitis Vinifera Awards?
Specialist wine shops or top end restaurants employ sommeliers or wine experts, but there are many wine outlets and eateries where consumers have no access to expert advice on the quality of wine that’s in the bottle.  In addition to gold and double gold medals, trophies will be awarded to the highest scoring wines deemed as collectable in their category or style. No silver or bronze medals will be awarded, because they are largely considered irrelevant. 
Many producers enter wines they are confident about in competitions and are then disappointed in the very limited quantity of top scoring wines awarded gold or double gold.  Often producers will not display bronze or even silver medals won in competitions.  Vitis Vinifera will not ideologically limit the number of wines that can achieve gold or double gold status.
What is the cost of entering a wine for the Vitis Vinifera Awards?
Vitis Vinifera Awards is the most affordable competition in the country.  Entries cost R500 per wine.  Gold and double gold stickers will be available at R300 per 1000.  Six bottles of each wine entered should be delivered to Vitis Vinifera Awards by the end of September.  Wines not used in tastings will be donated to charity.
An issue more relevant than the cost to enter a wine in this competition is the return on investment producers are likely to enjoy by doing so.  Since the principle of Vitis Vinifera is to award more wines with gold and double gold than any other competition, producers should be asking the question whether they can afford
not to submit their wines for tasting by our panels.  Many wines will bear Vitis Vinifera stickers on shelves both locally and internationally from 2013.  Consumers worldwide are likely to be influenced in their choice of product by our unique and super shiny medals.  On international shelves this may even influence consumers to choose South African wines displaying gold medals above wines from another origin that may display no competition credentials.