Jolette Steyn keeps her crown: SAWTC 2018 Cape Town

Monday, 4 June, 2018
Jean-Vincent Ridon
The 6th edition of the Cape Town South African Wine Tasting Championships took place at the TAJ Hotel in Cape Town on the 2nd of June 2018.

The Cape Town Leg is offering any wine lover, amateur and professional, a chance to be selected to Team South Africa who travels to the World Blind Wine Tasting Championship to fly the national colours. This year, the 2017 Team Zimbabwe mandated the SAWTC to provide the structure to select the new Team Zimbabwe after the global success of Joseph, Marlvin, Tinashe and Pardon.

This year 160 wine lovers joined talent, and explored the wines offered by Creation, Marianne, Almenkerk, Spier, Spioenkop, Idiom, Radford Dale and Ken Forrester. After tasting 50 wines, taking notes, analyzing each bottle, memorizing the profile of each serving, they entered the blind tasting arena to face 10 decanters with wines they would have to identify from the pool just tasted.

At this game the top Provincial taster 2018 is Jolette Steyn who keeps the title she won last year before joining Team South Africa 2017 to Burgundy. She is followed in the top 5 by Heidi Kritzinger, Danielle le Roux, Brian Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Tom Prior.

"Dreams do come true and miracles happen. I would never have thought that I could win the Trophy again, especially when I was sick - a box of tissues at a wine tasting competition is not a strong look. What might've saved me is that I trusted my instincts. I'm walking on sunshine" - says Jolette Steyn of the achievement.

Jolette Steyn wins the crown again but she did not achieve the highest score. This may sound impossible but Tom Prior achieved a perfect score sheet. However, since he works for Radford Dale winery which had two wines in the blind tasting, he has been penalized as per the SAWTC rules for competitors who work for the wineries that have been asked wines for the secret tasting. Nevertheless, and even with this penalty, Tom Prior makes the top 5 and secures his seat into the finals.

The blind wines to identify were: 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Marianne, 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Almenkerk, 2007 Chenin Reserve Ken Forrester, 2017 Viognier Creation, 2017 Chenin Blanc Radford-Dale, 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Spier, 2007 Three Halves Ken Forrester, 2014 Sangiovese Idiom, 2015 Pinotage Radford-Dale and 2015 Pinot Noir Spioenkop.

A few tricky questions testing wine knowledge secured bonus points to the most internationally educated palates.

Competitors were very excited by the mature wines, such as the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc from Almenkerk, or the 2007 Ken Forrester, proving that South African wines can improve with age, like the best wines of the world. The diversity of the 50 wines on the floor, from exotic Barbera from Idiom to unusual Viognier from Creation made the competitors doubt their own palate, but pushed the limit of their enjoyment.

Organizer Jean-Vincent Ridon is “very excited to see the clear demographic change among the competitors, showing a new generation of wine lovers eager to learn and to have fun around wine”. Newcomers to wine have natural talent, and they just need guidance, education, and the experience to shine on the top of the podium soon. Education of the new generation is the key. This is the reason why Sommeliers Academy is sponsoring the Cape Town selection.

The Western Cape Champions will meet the best tasters of Gauteng on the 1st of July in Cape Town, to decide who will qualify for Team South Africa 2018.

The selection for Gauteng takes place on the 6th of June at the Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival. There, wine lovers will try to dethrone Eric Botha, the 2017 Gauteng Champion.

Depending on their respective scores, the availability, and the citizenship criteria, the finalist will be announced during the course of June.

For the Zimbabwean competition, the highest score has been achieved by Admire Waka, followed by Joseph Dhafana (Captain of Team Zimbabwe 2017) and Pardon Taguzu. After being the Hero of the movie featuring their first participation to the world championship, the 2017 Team members committed to open the team to the best Zimbabwean tasters selected at the SAWTC.

Team SA and Team Zim are both extremely patriotic but they train together toward the world championship knowing they will face each other there.  Joseph Dhafana declares that “the most important part is to put Africa on the podium, whether it is Zimbabwe or South Africa, we all lead the way for the continent”.

The World Blind Wine Tasting Championships, organised by Revue du vin de France, will take place on the 13th of October in the Languedoc. 


Best Wine Taster of Cape Town:

Jolette Steyn

TOP 5 runners up already qualified for the national finals

Heidi Kritzinger,
Danielle le Roux,
Brian Nhlanhla Mahlangu
Tom Prior

Top 20 follow up in alphabetical order, not by score

Anita Streicher Nel
Anton Swarts
Cheryl Scott
Chris Groenewarld
Cyril Meidinger
Edwina Frantz
Emilie Caner
Gavin Smith
Jean Langedyk
Jeanri-Tine Van Zyl
Kevin Crause
Kyle Hanekom
Marius Burger
Martin Smith
Penelope Setti
Ralph Reynolds
Riana van der Merwe
Roxan Waldeck
Welma Smith
Wessel Groenewald

These candidates will have to wait for the results of Johannesburg competition, and based on their scores and eligibility, they will be invited to the national finals.

Each competitor will receive a copy of their entry after moderation. The SAWTC takes pride in total transparency of the results, and congratulates all the brave one who did put their taste to the test!

SAWTC is proud to have as their media partner - so keep an eye on our South African Wine Tasting Spotlight Page for more info

Jolette Steyn
Jolette Steyn

Kevin Crause & Heidi Kritzinger & Anita Streicher-Nel
Kevin Crause & Heidi Kritzinger & Anita Streicher-Nel

Joakim Hansi Blackadder & Jean Vincent Ridon
Joakim Hansi Blackadder & Jean Vincent Ridon

Anton Swarts #TEAMSA2017
Anton Swarts #TEAMSA2017

Team Zim 2017 - Marlvin, Joseph, Pardon & Tinashe
Team Zim 2017 - Marlvin, Joseph, Pardon & Tinashe

more news