2022 Wine Judging: deliberations from our first day of judging in South Africa

Wine news

Tue 7 Jun 2022

This week, members of the IWSC’s expert judging panels are in South Africa, tasting hundreds of wines from across the country. Together with Elizabeth Kelly MW, Victoria Mason, Matteo Montone MS and David Kermode, our judging committee member and Master of Wine, Ali Cooper is at Paarl’s Diamant Estate with local judges tasting through 2022 entrants from all across South Africa.

Following the first day of judging, we hear from Ali about how the wines are tasting:

The take home from today is that it has been an incredibly impressive day of judging with only a handful of wines not receiving a medal. As my fellow judges will concur, this is an exceptional result.

“While we can’t tell you which wines yet, so far, after only one day of tasting, we have awarded 9 gold medals.

“A bit more insight into what we’ve tasted, well, we had a surprisingly impressive flight of merlot, which received consistently high scores. Pinotage as it so often is, was a bit of a mixed bag but there were some great wines in amongst there.

“We had a couple of flights of chenin today, and in general the standard was high and really showcased this grape’s stylistic variations – some wines were lean and tight, and we had some lovely appley, barrel fermented wines. Today’s wines really showed off the diversity of style that chenin from South Africa can offer.

“Another good performer today was sauvignon blanc – with some of the more generic blends receiving solid bronze medals and a couple of truly beautiful examples of this grape variety doing incredibly well.

“I can’t wrap up without mentioning the cabernet franc flight, with one wine in particular really standing out for us all. Cabernet franc is definitely a grape I’d love to see more of – there’s so much potential for it here.

“And wrapping up today with some more reds, Bordeaux blends and cabernet sauvignon a mixed bag and a flight of shiraz putting in another solid performance – showing again the variation of this grape here from the opulent styles to the meaty, smoky styles.

“A bountiful day of grape varieties and for medals - there is so much opportunity for diversity here in South Africa that I’m already looking forward to what tomorrow will bring us.”


Our 2022 wine medals from South Africa will be announced on 15 June. All wine trophies will be announced on 11 July.