A competition driven by the consumer
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 aims to commend more good wines than any other competition, where normally the focus is primarily on the exclusive, elusive top-echelon wines.
More Gold and Double Gold awards will be awarded by Vitis Vinifera Awards than in any other competition, making results of this competition more relevant to more wine buyers.
More usable awards will lead to an increase in sales – giving producers a better return on their investment, considering that entering competitions essentially is an important business proposition.
Wines are tasted blind by a group of consumers.
Wines will receive scores based on the recognised 20-point scale, with the outstanding wines receiving the Trophy award, followed by Double Gold and Gold awards.
All panellists will be wine lovers, the exact members of the public who will spend their time and money in the Winelands whenever they can, and spend it most often on wine.
Each judge possesses at least a Cape Wine Academy certificate, or a similar qualification.
We try to staff each panel with judges who have professional diversity and experience.
And each flight is also designed to ideally have 10 wines of the same class
Judges may ask for a new bottle to be poured if they believe a wine to be faulty or corked. A wine will be disqualified if the second bottle is found to be faulty or corked. Entries will be judged in the category they have been entered into. Entries will be judged randomly but in order of vintage.
The panel chair will assign a different tasting order to each judge (e.g. from low numbers to high or vice versa) in order to minimise the shadow effect within a flight. Tasters will judge each wine on an overall basis. Wines will be presented to judges in coded glasses. No wine bottles will be visible to judges at any time until the competition is finished. The judges will have no knowledge of the identity of the wines, except for vintage and varietal type, where appropriate.
Staff members will be instructed to avoid discussing any wine brand names entered or not entered into the competition. This process of judging is referred to as double blind and uses concepts found in Wines: Their Sensory Evaluation by Amerine and Roessler (1983), and aims to avoid some problems often associated with blind tasting.
The pouring area will be totally off-limits to the judges. Flights are structured so no panellist has to judge only one type of wine during the tasting event. Panels will typically be expected to judge around 90 wines per day, rarely more. There will be a 20-minute mid-morning break given to the judges where tea, coffee and sandwiches will be provided.
Wines will be awarded Gold, Double Gold and Trophy
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 is in the bottle - we aim to remedy this.
In addition to Gold and Double Gold awards, Trophy awards will be conferred on the highest-scoring wines, deemed as collectable in their category or style. There will be no silver or bronze awards, because these are largely considered irrelevant. Many producers enter wines they are confident about in competitions, and are then disappointed in the very limited number of top-scoring wines awarded Gold or Double Gold.
Often, producers will not display bronze or even silver stickers won in a competition. Vitis Vinifera Awards will not on principle limit the number of wines that can achieve Gold or Double Gold status.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) and other helpful information
Vitis Vinifera Awards is one of the most affordable competitions in the country. Entering costs R550 excl VAT per wine. Gold, Double Gold and Trophy stickers will be available at R330 excl VAT per 1 000. Four bottles of each wine entered should be delivered to Vitis Vinifera Awards on 6 and 7 September 2016.
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 entering. Since the principle of Vitis Vinifera Awards 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 Awards stickers on shelves both locally and internationally. Consumers worldwide are likely to be influenced in their choice of product by our unique glossy awards. On international shelves this may even influence consumers to choose South African wines displaying awards above wines from another origin that may display no competition credentials.
One certificate per entry and one shelf talker per 1 000 stickers will be given to winners at no cost.
A certificate is printed for every wine that has won an award, which can be collected along with the stickers. An electronic certificate will also be sent by email to be used on various social media fronts and sent to the producer’s existing client base.
The winners will be announced on 12 September on our website and an email will go out to all the winners to notify them. The producer can utilise the stickers and Vitis Vinifera Awards artwork to maximise exposure on various social media fronts and to their existing client base, but must display them together with the name(s) of the wine(s) that earned this accolade. Certificates and shelf talkers will focus attention on the award-winning wines, leading to higher visibility and a boost in sales.
The stickers will be available for collection from about 30 September to 2 October. The stickers have to be paid for prior to collection, unless other arrangements are made with the organisers.
You are not obligated to order stickers, but if you indicate that you do need stickers you have to take them when the winners are announced, as set out in the rules of the competition.
Any remaining wine at the end of the judging process becomes the property of Vitis Vinifera Awards.
The tasting procedure will be audited by a reputable auditing firm to ensure the judges are not influenced and the tasting is done blind and conforms to international standards.
When you enter the main gate at Nietvoorbij, go through the security boom and drive up the road all the way until you reach the white walls at the top. You then turn left towards the Experimental Cellar and drive past the stairs on the right. Keep driving around the building, and to the right you will see the entrance to the back door of the cellar where the wine must be delivered.
Michelle’s contact details are firstname.lastname@example.org, 021 889 8844 or 082 773 0738.
The address for the purpose of courier services is:
Nietvoorbij Experimental Cellar, Care of Cape Wine Academy, Nietvoorbij, Klapmuts Road (R44), Stellenbosch; Attention: Michelle.