Vitis Vinifera Awards

A competition driven by the consumer


The Vitis Vinifera Awards recognise quality wines and grape derived spirits that are available to the majority of consumers. Most other competitions focus on aspirational products in the ultra-premium segment of the market, which tends to enhance the perception that good products are out of reach of the average consumer. This in turn leads to the misconception that appreciating wine and grape based spirits is an elitist matter, reserved for a small group of connoisseurs who are able to describe subtle flavours in obscure language.


Many fine wines and spirits are produced across a range of taste spectra and price points. With the Vitis Vinifera Awards, we aim to commend wines and spirits of quality and we achieve this by conferring awards on superior products across various price categories, in order to make them available to consumers on more shelves across the globe.


Wines are tasted blind by a group of consumers.

Red wine flights will alternate with white wine flights where possible in order to prevent tannin build-up. No more than 10 products of a particular class will be tasted consecutively where possible to prevent flavour saturation.


Judging Methodology

All panellists will be lovers of grape derived products such as wine and spirits. These are the very same members of the public who will be spending their time and money in the winelands whenever they can, and they will be spending it most often on wine and spirits.

Experienced tasters

Panels will be comprised of experienced consumers who have a passion for wine and grape derived products.

Gender and age equity

We are sensitive to gender and age equity in our judging roster, therefore we try to staff each panel with a diverse group of judges from various professions and experience levels. 

Three judge minimum

Each flight is designed to ideally have 10 products of the same class

Judges may ask for a new bottle to be poured if they believe a product to be faulty or corked. A product will be disqualified if the second bottle is also found to be faulty. Entries will be judged randomly, but in order of vintage where necessary. 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 product on an overall basis. Products will be presented to the judges in numbered glasses.No sample bottles will be visible to the judges at any time. The judges will have no knowledge of the identity of the products, except for the minimum information needed to score. Staff members will be instructed to avoid discussing any brand names entered into the competition.

This judging process 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 of the problems often associated with blind tasting. The pouring area will be totally off-limits to the judges.

Red wine flights will alternate with white wine flights where possible in order to prevent tannin build-up.Whenever possible, no more than 10 products of a particular class will be tasted consecutively to prevent flavour saturation.

There will be morning and afternoon tasting sessions where necessary.

Flights are structured so no panellist has to judge only one type of product during the tasting event. Panels will typically be expected to judge about 90 products per day, but rarely more than that. 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 products per class tasted consecutively whenever possible

In order to prevent flavour saturation.

Morning and afternoon tasting sessions

To ensure an even spread of tasting opportunities.

The Stickers

Winning products will be awarded Gold and Double Gold awards, and the Top 10 producers will be able to add the Top 10 Producer sticker to their entries as well.


Frequently asked questions (FAQs) and other helpful information

Contact us

E-mail us:

Sanet van Heerden ( Tel 084 446 0412 — General competition enquiries and administration

Or use the form below:

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Directions once at Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch

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 ,  082 773 0738.

The address for the purpose of courier services is:

Nietvoorbij Experimental Cellar, Nietvoorbij, Klapmuts Road (R44), Stellenbosch; Attention: Michelle.