Vitis Vinifera Awards

A wine 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, where normally the focus is primarily on the exclusive, elusive top-echelon wines.


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 Double Gold and Gold awards.

Judging Methodology

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.

Qualified Consumers

Each judge possesses at least a Cape Wine Academy certificate, or a similar qualification.

Gender and Age Equity

We try to staff each panel with judges who have professional diversity and experience.

Three Judge Minimum

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 numbered 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.

Alternating Red / White Wine Flights

In order to prevent tannin build-up

Maximum of 10 Wines per Class Tasted Consecutively

In order to prevent flavour saturation.

Morning and Afternoon Tasting Sessions

To ensure an even spread of tasting opportunities.

The Stickers

Wines will be awarded Gold and Double Gold.

Benefits of Vitis Vinifera

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.

Wine Producer
  • Better perception of wine by potential buyers (via award stickers)
  • Increase in sales

Wine Consumer
  • Better catered for when choosing wine off the shelf
  • Increased assurance that purchased wine will be good
  • Time-saving method of choosing wine

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

Contact Us

E-mail us:

Mariana Linde ( Tel 079 136 9139 — General Competition Enquiries And Administration

Or use the form below:

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Directions once inside Nietvoorbij

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, 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.