The Veritas Awards is the longest running and most prestigious wine and brandy competition in South Africa and is synonymous with excellence in wine and brandy.
The Veritas Awards started in 1991 and gives recognition to wines and brandies of exceptional quality and the distinctive Veritas symbol of excellence serves as an authoritative quality guideline for wine and brandy connoisseurs. Gold and Double Gold awards are of significant value to the wine industry as well, as it offers a prestigious image for the wine, winery and winemaker, brandy and brandy masters and contributes to growth in sales.
More than 120 international and local judges gather every year during September in the Cape winelands to judge the entries that cover the full spectrum of different styles and vintages. Wines and brandies are tasted blind by panels that consist of seven experts judging 10 wines/brandies at a time.
The results are announced at a glittering gala dinner in Cape Town during October, often referred to as the “Oscars” of the industry. Following the awards announcement, tastings are held in the major cities in South Africa where the public, members of the trade and restauranteurs can taste the Double Gold and Gold winners.
Veritas initiated the Living Legends award in 2009 to honour those men and women who made a major contribution to the industry during their lifetime. The Young Wine Writers of the year competition was launched in 2013 as an initiative to encourage young people to write and communicate about wine.
Young Wine Writer of the Year competition
The Veritas Young Wine Writer competition is presented annually by the South African National Wine Show Association (SANWSA). The first competition was held in 2013.
The objective is to identify exciting new voices from within and outside the industry that can communicate an original and innovative message to raise public interest in wine and the responsible use thereof. It also provides a springboard to launch the careers of talented young writers. The competition is open to South African citizens/residents between the ages of 18 and 35. Entries open in August and are judged by a panel of distinguished South African wine writers. A cash prize of R15 000 for the winner and R7 500 for the runner-up are at stake. The winners are announced during the first week in December.
Winner: Tshephang Molisana
Runner-up: Catea Sinclair
Winner: Malu Lambert
Runner-up: Danielle Jacobs
Winner: Sandile Mkhwanazi
Runner-up: Daisy Knowles
The Veritas Living Legend award is about recognition of, and giving back to, those who have served the wine industry over the years; to acknowledge their commitment and pay homage to the marks they have undoubtedly made. Veritas chooses to honour these legends by means of this special award so as to thank them for their invaluable contribution towards growing and promoting the industry. The honour of being hailed a legend goes to prominent retired wine makers, viticulturists, industry leaders, wine writers, wine ambassadors and wine personalities who have, through their passion for wine and brandy, contributed to the creation of a vibrant and dynamic industry. The first awards were made in 2009, when the SA industry celebrated 350 years since the fist wine was made in the Cape.
The South African National Wine Show Association (SANWSA), that represents the full spectrum of the wine industry, was tasked at the end of the 1980’s to investigate a wine show aimed at the consumer.
The result was the introduction of the first National Bottled Wine Show in South Africa in 1990 and renamed the Veritas Awards from 1991. In its first year in 1991, 96 wineries participated and 801 wines were entered with 74 Double Gold and 134 Gold wines. Five years later the entries hit the 1 000 mark and by 2007 there were 327 participants and 1 904 wines were judged. Brandy was added as a category in 2010 to also award the finest standard and pot still brandies of world class standards that are produced in South Africa. Veritas celebrated 25 years of excellence in 2015 with 1 863 wines entered and Double Gold and Gold winning wines brandies. As the longest running and biggest competition in South Africa, the Veritas Awards has earned its reputation as one of South Africa’s most authoritative and credible competitions for market ready wines and is backed by a stringent judging system. The Awards with its coveted Veritas emblem, has become synonymous with top quality wines.
The results are trusted implicitly when international as well as local wine buyers use them to assist in their buying decisions and also when the ordinary wine lover simply selects a bottle from the shelf to enjoy with dinner. Veritas is the only wine competition in South Africa for the industry by the industry and there is no commercial gain for the organisers, the South African National Wine Association (SANWSA). The Veritas website features a comprehensive list of results dating back to the start of the competition as well as a useful search facility. This has great significance to follow the success story of the hundreds of participating wineries since the inception of Veritas.
South African Brandy also at Veritas
The distinctive Veritas symbol of excellence which guides wine connoisseurs towards true quality now also adorns SA’s top brandies. Brandy, South Africa’s largest selling and favourite spirit, is since 2010 officially part of Veritas, the country’s most sovereign wine competition.
The ‘Oscars’ of wine competitions, the Veritas Awards has for 20 years been South Africa’s most highly esteemed indicator of quality in market ready wines, and for the first time ever brandy will also stand in line to be sipped, discussed and judged. This new class to SA’s most authoritative wine competition provides the country’s flourishing brandy industry – which up to now had to compete mostly in international competitions – with a major local platform to show its mettle. This unanimous decision which is welcomed by the brandy fraternity was taken earlier this year by the SA National Wine Show Association (SANWSA), the presenter of Veritas. According to Duimpie Bayly, chairman of the SANWSA, the South African wine and brandy industries share a proud history built up over more than 350 years. That brandy, a noble product of the grape, now forms part of Veritas is a natural extension of this link.
South Africa is increasingly renowned for our exceptional standard and potstill brandy which can compete with the finest in the world and the inclusion of brandy is especially appropriate as 2010 has been earmarked as the year to celebrate South African brandy as the worlds finest, in the light of its continued stellar achievements at international wine and spirit competitions. Over the past years brandy has wowed numerous international panels of esteemed brandy palates called upon to judge brandies at various international wine & spirit competitions. Riaan Marais, Chairperson of the SA Brandy Foundation, said participation in Veritas will provide an important new avenue to advocate the consistent outstanding quality of South African brandy, distilled according to arguably the most stringent regulations in the world.
Furthermore it holds special significance to become part of a nationally-held competition as it speaks to the South African consumer. “And rightly so,” says Marais, “as brandy, marked by its distinctive South African character borne of our specific soils, sunny climate and purity production laws, is one of our country’s truly national products and most treasured drinks.” The various brandy categories (standard, vintage and pot still) will be entered in their respective classes. As with the wines entries, the brandies will be judged by specialist panels according to the impeccable Veritas judging system. Dave Hughes, one of South Africa’s veteran international wine and spirits judges and himself a qualified distiller, will chair the judging panel of local and international brandy experts.