Kumala Growers' Challenge 2004

Tuesday, 5 October, 2004
Jeanine Wardman
Votes of confidence for South African cooperatives and Pinotage.

The annual Kumala Growers' Challenge took place last week and winners were announced on Wednesday 29 September by wine judging veterans, Dave Hughes and Tony Mossop, and newcomer, Joanne Simon at a gala-event at Boschenmeer outside Paarl.

The Kumala Growers' Challenge Trophy was awarded to Bob de Villiers from Klawer Winery for a 2004 Pinotage. The runner-up was a Sauvignon Blanc made by Gerrit van Zyl from Daschbosch Cellar in Rawsonville. Both wines are intended for the Kumala range, which retails at ₤5/bottle in the United Kingdom.

Both Klawer and Daschbosch have in recent years become key suppliers of Kumala, South Africa's biggest export brand, and have been active members of the Kumala Growers' Club since its inception in 2002.

Tony Mossop, who serves as WINE Magazine's tasting panel chairman, said the line-up of 40 contenders were "extraordinarily good wines" but that he found the white category to have been superior to the reds.

Dave Hughes said that he was "taken aback" by the quality of the entries throughout, though was slightly disappointed in the performance of Shiraz as a varietal category.

"It is great to see an old friend do this well, " Hughes said as he announced Bob de Villiers from Klawer to have won the 2004 Kumala Growers' Challenge.

Joanne Simon, recently appointed at WINE Magazine and regular contributor to international publications such as Harpers and Off-Licence News, added that the Klawer Pinotage "stood out head and shoulders above the rest" and commended Daschbosch for also having claimed the position of 2nd  runner-up in the red flight with a Shiraz from the current vintage.

Pinotage's claim as South Africa's only indigenous variety hasn't shielded the cultivar from harsh and divided opinions and controversy in recent years. The outcome of the 2004 Kumala Growers' Challenge is significant in this regard.

The judging panel found the Klawer Pinotage to be "an excellent example of a well made New World wine packed with ripe plums and cherries and laced with hints of coconut. The vanilla and soft cedar oak tones are well integrated. The palate is well rounded, weighted yet soft and graceful with good structure and length."  

Of the Daschbosch Sauvignon Blanc the panel had the following to say: "A wonderfully crisp and pungent Sauvignon Blanc with a distinct South African as opposed to a New Zealand character.  Green fig and hints of litchi on the well-rounded palate. Overall a very well-made, well-balanced, vibrant wine with good acid structure and a lingering aftertaste."

The Kumala Growers' Challenge takes place annually since 2003. Last year's Challenge Trophy was shared between two of South Africa's foremost cooperatives, Wamakersvallei and Du Toitskloof, who won with a Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon respectively.

The Kumala Growers' Club is convened by Origin Wine, the brand's sole sourcing partner, and meets frequently to be informed of and debate production- and or marketing issues impacting on the global and local wine industries.

This year's Growers' Challenge coincided with the Origin Wine Suppliers' Challenge. This competition intends to reward Kumala's best-performing dry goods suppliers and was awarded to Pivot Press last week.

Note: Kumala is owned by Western Wines UK Ltd and is South Africa's largest export wine brand, totalling sales of 2.5 million 9L cases per annum in the United Kingdom and other international markets. The brand's sourcing and logistics are outsourced to Origin Wine (Pty.) Ltd who holds the exclusive supply contract for these products and services.

Issued by: Jeanine Wardman on behalf of Origin Wine (Pty) Ltd.

Media queries: Bernard Fontannaz
Tel: Int + (0) 21 882 9004/ Int + (0) 82 905 4008
Email: Bernard@originwine.co.za