As a wine lover you will know that talking is not permitted during formal wine judging. That’s why this rule is so firmly applied when wines are judged for Veritas, which is the oldest, biggest and most widely known wine competition for market ready wines in South Africa. Other no-no’s, of course, are scented toilet preparations or perfume in the judging areas. And that no one may reek of smoke!
Duimpie Bayly, Cape Wine Master and chairman of the South African National Wine Show (SANW), replies to often-asked questions.
1. What makes the Veritas Awards unique?
“This is the only wine competition in South Africa for the industry by the industry. It is run by the SANW board, which represents the full spectrum of the industry. There is no commercial gain for us. We simply want to give wineries the opportunity to compare wines with others in the marketplace. This competition creates major opportunities for publicity for the award winning wines and therefore attracts a lot of consumer attention.”
2. What are the criteria for entering a wine?
“Wines must be labelled and certified by the Wine and Spirits Board, which means that they have had to adhere to minimum standards. If a wine does not meet these criteria, it cannot be entered. Overseas entries are accepted without Wine and Spirits Board approval, but there must be 100 x 9 litre cases available for sale to the general public in South Africa.”
3. Is there a maximum amount of wines one cellar may enter into the competition?
“No, there are no limits to how many wines one cellar may enter.”
4. What is the judging procedure?
“Wines are tasted blind. Panels consist of seven judges and batches of 10 wines are judged and discussed at a time. Scores are awarded according to the international 20-point scale and this is normally followed by discussion and consensus.”
5. When is a medal awarded?
“A wine which scores 18 or more out of 20 will get a double gold, provided that the panel reaches consensus about such award. A wine that notches-up 17 points will get gold, a silver sticker will go on the bottle of a wine which scores 16 points, while bronze medals go to wines that score 15 points.”