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November 6, 2006

Best Pinotage In The World

Alistair, Chris and Nick went off to the London International Wine and Spirits Awards dinner Wednesday night at Guildhall, in the City of London, to pick up our Best Pinotage Trophy.

Here is a short vid of Al getting ready in the office for the dinner.

Nick received the trophy and it is now sitting in my office.


As you’ll see, Al was a little under whelmed with the prospect of going to the dinner and the Trophy itself.

It is interesting that while Al is a bit disdainful of the Trophy, Graham has said that it was the best thing that has ever happened to us in the South African market. He has done tons of new business and our 2005 Pinotage is now a hot commodity in the local market.

From my position, it's all good. However, there is one thing that I find really disturbing about the Trophy. If you take a look at the engraving on the trophy, it reads: “KWV International Trophy for Pinotage”.

As far as I know, KWV had nothing to do with this Trophy. They certainly had nothing to do with the making of the wine and the judging was done by an independent panel. So, why is their name engraved across our Trophy?

It appears that it is some sort of sponsorship. The organizers list all of the sponsorships are here. So, it seems that for a bit of cash, you can have the appearance of having produced some trophy winning wine, or get the implied status of having granted a competitor a trophy for their wine. Either way, it's a bit of sleight of hand that I think undermines the gravitas that the organizers try very hard to foster.

The conflict is obvious. Many awards organizations are for profit businesses. They need to earn a profit. Entries for this IWSC award cost, if memory serves, about $200 per wine. Thousands of wines are submitted.Tickets for the awards dinner are nearly $300 each, around 700 people attend. You get the idea. The sponsorships must generate some cash and then if you want to put the medal on your bottle, it costs for the stickers, etc.

I prefer the old California County Fair system. Respected members of their respective fields get together and judge the best bred pigs, goats, cattle, roosters; most delectable apple pies, cookies, ribs, etc. Wines include homemade wines and commercial wines. Commercial wines cost $44.00 to enter. If you have a great homemade beer, there is a judging for that, too. A gold medal from one of the California fairs carries a lot of weight.

People get together, have a good time and enjoy the harvest bounty. No pretense. Just Fun.

Posted by Jason at November 6, 2006 12:51 PM

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After much searching in vain in the Reno, Nevada area, I was able to find this wonderful wine online. I purchased 2 bottles and fell in love. If only Wild Oats Market or Cost Plus would carry it locally ...or even Trader Vic's ...sigh ...

Posted by: Ursula at November 7, 2006 9:53 AM

I enjoyed reading about the award. I would welcome the opportunity to taste this unique wine

Posted by: arkay at November 8, 2006 5:39 AM

We had your pinotage at restaurant Gilles in Parktown North end of october, we loved it. We should like to buy some. can you give us prices and delivery for 24 bottles. Thanks in advance.
Best regards

Posted by: andre rensonnet at November 8, 2006 6:19 AM

KWV International sponsors this trophy due to Pinotage being a unique SA varietal and KWV's association with Prof Perold who produced it in 1925. In addition, we want to draw attention to the fact that the Pinotage grape can produce top quality wine.

We sponsor a trophy at the IWSC as we believe that it is the most prestigious wine and spirit competition in the world, thus in support of the competition itself, and to give KWV International added exposure.

This year we were very pleased that Stormhoek won it, illustrating the high quality of Pinotage produced in SA by both wineries and well-known Pinotage-producing estates eg.Kanonkop. So, well done Stormhoek!

Posted by: Penelope Horwood at November 13, 2006 8:36 AM

Hi Penelope, thanks for the explanation. How long does your sponsorship go on for?

Posted by: Jason at November 13, 2006 12:20 PM

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