Case study

Vergelegen Wine Estate declares IWSC in situ judging a truly fantastic opportunity

Vergelegen Wine Estate enjoyed medal success at the IWSC judging in South Africa in July 2022. We discover how their participation in our ‘in situ’ judging has helped them gain exciting new national listings.

Founded in 1700, Vergelegen is located in Somerset West, in South Africa’s Western Cape. In July 2022 ten of Vergelegen’s wines were included amongst over 600 entries for the IWSC’s two-day judging in Paarl.

The decision for the IWSC to take its globally recognised awards to South Africa meant Vergelegen, like all South African entrants, were only required to ship their wines locally, opening up the awards to producers across the country.

As well as the wine judging, our visiting experts, including Elizabeth Kelly MWVictoria MasonMatteo Montone MS and David Kermode as well as IWSC committee member and Master of Wine, Ali Cooper, participated in several tastings, vineyard visits and masterclasses during their visit.

Vergelegen Brand Manager, Laura Sullivan comments: “It can be quite difficult to get wine buying decision-makers and wine experts to South Africa alone, let alone in a group, and this was a rare opportunity to meet and host people who have the ability to actually place large orders, create new wine listings and offer exclusive media exposure. It was a truly fantastic opportunity to showcase what our estate can offer, and it reflected in the listings and buy-in afterwards.”

“It was a truly fantastic opportunity to showcase what our estate can offer, and it reflected in the listings and buy-in afterwards.”

The judging format followed the IWSC’s tightly structured, blind tasting process and each of Vergelegen’s ten entrants was awarded a medal, including two golds.

“You can imagine our delight when we were also awarded with two IWSC gold medals which further cements our place among the top wine estates in South Africa and abroad” exclaims Laura.

But it wasn’t just medal success for Vergelegen. The winery also gained several new listings from members of the IWSC award judging panel.

“Vergelegen’s Millrace Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot was listed many years ago and was firm favourite with the Majestic team and customer. This wine has been reimagined, and the Millrace Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2019 accompanied by Millrace Sauvignon Blanc 2022, will both be exclusive to Majestic, launching in November 2022.”

Laura adds: “Waitrose has selected the Gold medal winning GVB Red 2015 as a parcel to launch in selected stores pre-Christmas. A perfect wine to enjoy over the festive period with family and friends. Both are exciting opportunities for the Vergelegen Estate brand, and we look forward to supporting the wines in both accounts.”

In addition to the new listing at Waitrose and the listings at Majestic Wine, Vergelegen also secured a listing with prestigious on-trade venue, Mason Estelle, through its wine buyer and IWSC judge, Matteo Montone MS.

“Vergelegen have long been one of my favourite producers, and used to be a good seller at Majestic before being delisted during the Naked Wine years. Visiting them on the IWSC judging trip really helped rebuild a good direct relationship with them and helped me see what they are doing and planning.”

Elizabeth Kelly, Wine Buyer – Majestic Wines.