THE elite of South Africa’s wine industry met in Paarl to launch this year’s International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) which will see a second successful year of local judging.
More than 160 guests including the country’s leading wine makers tasted 150 medal-winning wines and spirits from last year’s IWSC – the most successful in the country’s history.
The decision to taste wines on their home turf saw entries increase by nearly 30% resulting in a record-breaking 641 medals for the country.
IWSC Group Sales and Marketing Controller David Kelly said: “Judging in Paarl was a key innovation this year, proactively promoting the competition in this important market. We now have a multi-platform marketing programme to make sure our medal winners have the tools they need to shout about their awards.”
The decision to taste locally saw entries increase by up to a third, partly due to producers no longer having to ship to UK cellars.
From the medals won, South Africa scooped 30 ‘gold best in class’ and 15 ‘golds’ in the prestigious competition’s Southern Hemisphere results.
The country was awarded four product trophies including two for its generic grape varieties Chenin Blanc and Pinotage.
David Kelly continued: “The increase in entries has been impressive and more than justifies the move. Even better – the feedback from the trade has also been incredibly positive.
“The tasting provided another opportunity for the winners to shout about their awards as we invited key press and trade to this unique tasting.”
Well-known South African distiller and winemaker Dave Hughes, who has been involved with the IWSC for 40 years, was one of the experts key to the success of the Paarl judging.
Innovations for 2012 include a media partnership between the IWSC and WineExtra, the country’s leading online magazine covering South African wine, resulting in greater exposure for winning wines and spirits.
Given the increasing quality of products entered into the Competition each year, the marking system will reflect this by the amendment of ‘Best in Class’ awards (previously made only to one product per category) to ‘Outstanding’ awards. ‘Outstanding’ awards will be given to all products recognised as such through their achievement of judging scores at the upper end of the Silver or Gold range.
IWSC 2012 is now open to South African wine entrants with judging once again in the Grand Roche Hotel in Paarl. Those awarded ‘Silver Outstanding’ and above will be shipped back to the UK for chemical analysis and trophy judging. The deadline for entries is June 29.