SHIRAZ SA revealed the winners of the 10th annual Shiraz SA Challenge on 17 August 2022 in Paarl. In honour of the competition’s 10th anniversary, a new trophy and a sizeable cash prize were announced. Celebrities from the wine industry and finalists gathered for this year’s glitzy awards ceremony at Santé Wellness Retreat & Spa. The master of ceremonies was well-known radio and television personality Tracey Lange, and guests were entertained by renowned musician Schalk Joubert. Shiraz SA has been working with Vinventions, a global supplier of wine bottle closures, for several years, and it was once again the main sponsor.
The introduction of the new Bernard Podlashuk Trophy, honouring the “Father of South African Shiraz,” is exciting news. The trophy, which comes with a R30 000 cash prize, is sponsored by Bellingham. Bernard and his wife, Fredagh Podlashuk, purchased this Franschhoek farm in 1943, and it was they who pioneered the 1956 release of South Africa’s first single-varietal Shiraz.
This year, the producer that performed the best during the Shiraz SA Challenge’s 10 years was awarded the trophy, and Saronsberg beat a few other deserving contenders. The Bernard Podlashuk Trophy’s future criteria, according to Edmund Terblanche, chairman of Shiraz SA, will be innovation, excellence, sustainability.
“Shiraz producers have continued to perform well since the competition’s start in 2013, as well as with the addition of the Shiraz Blend and Shiraz Rosé categories in 2014 and 2020, respectively,” says Terblanche. “We look forward to the potential that the next decade holds for the cultivar.”
SHIRAZ TOP 12
- Bon Courage Inkará Shiraz 2020
- Fuselage Side Slip Shiraz 2021
- Cederberg Shiraz 2020
- Diemersdal Shiraz 2021
- De Grendel Op die Berg Shiraz 2020
- Stellenbosch Reserve Syrah 2020
- Saronsberg Shiraz 2020
- Groot Phesantekraal Syrah 2021
- KWV Cathedral Cellar Shiraz 2019
- Driehoek Syrah 2020
- Swartland Bush Vine Syrah 2020
- Bellingham The Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah 2019
- Lomond Belladonna 2019
- Bellingham The Bernard Series The Maverick 2019
- Guardian Peak SMG 2020
- Allée Bleue Shiraz Rosé 2022
The prominent winemaker and cellar master at De Grendel, Charles Hopkins, served as the chairman of the judging panel. The team of seasoned tasters joining him were Higgo Jacobs (sommelier), Cathy van Zyl (British Master of Wine), Riaan Möller (MAN Vintners cellar master and vice chairman of Shiraz SA) and Frans Smit (Spier cellar master). Hopkins says he was impressed overall with the quality of this year’s entries. “I think oak is used wisely. There are clearly new trends, such as lower alcohol. More fruit-driven, unique Shiraz flavours such as kitchen spices, Mediterranean spices, black and white pepper, bring a new dimension to Shiraz.” Hopkins emphasises single-vineyard Shiraz. “These wines always portray a unique sense of place true to its origin and this year we experienced that element again.”
The tasting system, which was created in collaboration with Stellenbosch University, ensures each judge tastes the wines in a unique order and does not discuss the wines. The software and support company Wine MS, which has been involved since the competition’s inception, once again assisted the judges. The auditing firm Exceed Group monitored the procedure and verified the outcomes. Crystal Direct came on board this year with a sponsorship of bigger glasses perfect for the tasting of Shiraz. Lebone Paarl Labels was again the sponsor of the bottle seals for winning wines. As usual, a number of bottles of the wines not used during the judging were donated to the Pebbles Project.
Shiraz SA extends an invitation to all Shiraz aficionados to participate in the countrywide celebration of Shiraz on Sunday 21 August, following the success of the inaugural National Shiraz Day last year. “August is the perfect time of year for Shiraz,” says Terblanche. “We celebrate it for a whole week with our annual Seven Days of Shiraz & Venison in partnership with participating members of Shiraz SA. Book your place to ensure you don’t miss out on this experience.”
To view all the results and for additional details, click here. Follow Shiraz SA on Twitter @Shiraz SA, Facebook @ShirazSouthAfrica, and Instagram @shirazsouthafrica and join the conversation with the hashtag #ShirazSAAwards.