to finally introduce wine rating system

Thursday, 1 April, 2004
The road to the stars
From a press conference with Kevin Kidson, MD of

After much deliberation, and in consultation with a number of industry bodies, has finally bowed to pressure and will shortly be introducing its own wine rating system.

Says Kevin Kidson of ‘I have fought long and hard not to rate wines. We have tried to remain an unbiased resource for the industry, and would rather reflect all the ratings of other organisations and bodies (Platter, Parker, WINE magazine etc).

‘The difficulties inherent in rating systems have also kept us away until now. The obvious problems of a small panel of tasters, whose palates must all continuously sample the same wines, eventually results in them all becoming one palate.

‘Using multiple panels was rejected outright by the wine producers as wasting too much valuable wine. Then came the problem with altitude. In-depth consultation with leading tasters in Gauteng has highlighted the problem of only tasting at the coast. Wine tastes completely different at altitude (as borne out by the SAA tasting system). There would, therefore, have to be at least two panels.

‘Then came the question of Stars versus 20-point or 100-point systems, each with huge advantages and corresponding pitfalls.

‘For the past year we have been testing a number of different systems, each one with its own merits - but unfortunately, every way we turned there seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle,’ said Kidson.

Finally, after further in-depth discussions with leading players within the SA wine industry, we have decided on a simple, yet effective, system to allow us to rate wines, in a completely unbiased, effective manner.

The system will be based on a 5-star rating, five stars being the ultimate accolade a wine can earn. In order to make the system completely transparent, and remove any possible problems, stars are awarded, not on the aroma and taste of the wine (as this would, of course, lead to inaccuracies) but on the financial commitment of the producer.

Says Kidson: ‘This was a very long and difficult process, but we think that we finally ended up with a system that is absolutely beyond criticism. It is completely transparent, satisfies the low and high altitude tasters, does not waste any valuable wine and is simple and effective.’

Stars can be purchased for R5 000 each.

To have your wine rated please contact: Stella Marks