Prospective SA Young Wine Stars of 2019 line up

Wednesday, 24 July, 2019
SA Young Wine Show
A total of 1 455 prospective stars of the 2019 vintage are competing for trophies and gold medals at the SA Young Wine Show judging in the Nederburg wine cellar in Paarl this week (22 - 26 July). It is the first time in the history of the show that the judging actually takes place inside a wine cellar.

The SA Young Wine Show is one of the oldest wine competitions in the world, dating back to 1833 and is now in its 187th year. The wines will compete for 17 prestigious trophies in the various classes, with only one of the entries to be crowned as the overall champion young wine of the year and presented with the coveted General Smuts Trophy. At the same time, The Pietman Hugo Trophy will be awarded to the cellar with the highest total marks for entries in five categories. Altogether 17 panels with more than 130 judges will be looking for the best young wines of 2019.

For the first year in a considerable long time, the Chenin Blanc class attracted the most entries (152), followed by Any Red Cultivar Blend (122), Shiraz (117), Sauvignon Blanc (113) and Pinotage (109).

A total of 17 SA Champion trophies are at stake. The competing classes for white wines are Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Sémillon, Other White Cultivars, Dry White Blends, Off-dry White Wines and Noble Late Harvest. In the classes for red wines, trophies are awarded for the finest Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Other Red Cultivars and Dry Red Blends. The Fortified wine class trophies comprise outstanding Port, Dessert Wine and Muscadel.

The 2019 vintage has been another trying year for wine grape producers and wineries in South Africa. The chairperson of the SA Young Wine Show, Christo Pienaar, said challenging weather conditions contributed to a smaller harvest this year.  Despite the smaller crop, there is great expectation and excitement in the industry to see what the results would be from a difficult vintage that also showed the promise of very good quality wines.

According to Francois Viljoen, viticultural consultation service manager at Vinpro, severe weather fluctuations during the season contributed to fewer bunches and smaller berries. However, smaller wine grape berries have a greater concentration of flavours. In general, the wines also had good acidity, sugar and elegance which bodes well for quality.

The Young Wine Show plays an important role in educating young wine tasters in the evaluation of wines. In addition to the seven highly qualified and experienced judges in each of the categories, an eighth trainee judge is added to each panel. The junior judges’ scores are not added to the final tally. “We are preparing a future generation of wine judges for the competition, as well as the industry as a whole,” said Bennie Howard, vice-chairperson of the Show.

The winners will be announced at the 2019 SA Young Wine Awards Gala Dinner presented by Robertson Wine Valley at the Angora Stud Venue outside Bonnievale on Saturday 24 August.

For more information, contact the SA Young Wine office at tel 021 863 1599 or e-mail Follow SA Young Wine Awards on Facebook (, Twitter ( and Google+ SA Young Wine for the latest news. Join the conversation using #sayoungwine.