Wine experts unite for biggest Veritas tasting yetAugust 15, 2007
Judging VeritasSeptember 5, 2007
Are international standards followed?
“Yes, we follow guidelines set by the OIV (Office International de la Vigne et du Vin) based in Paris.”
Where do the cultivar workgroups fit in?
“The cultivar workgroups were initiated by Veritas with an aim to bring oenologists and viticulturists together to promote the future of these cultivars. Membership is free and members organise their own activities.”
How are Veritas panels selected?
“Panels are chosen by the Veritas executive management in consultation with the cultivar workgroups. A judge may represent any sector of the wine industry, but he or she must have a wine judging certificate from the University of Stellenbosch or a Cape Wine Academy Wine Master’s Diploma or similar accreditation.”
And how are international judges selected?
“International judges come from countries where South African wines are sold. We’re on the look-out for experts who judge on a regular basis, as well as for wine connoisseurs – like sommeliers – and wine journalists. Dave Hughes, who has international judging experience of more than 30 years has a sound knowledge of people with expertise abroad and assists us to find the overseas judges.”
Explain the criteria for international judges?
“An international judge on any given panel must be an acknowledged taster in his or her home country and should also have some international experience. A judge may be a winemaker, wine connoisseur, wine journalist or a sommelier.”
What are the lines of communication between judges and the media?
“The convenor of each panel acts as the official source of information regarding the judging of that specific category. They communicate by means of press releases to the media and to all wineries taking part in the competition. International judges also give their opinions on a video shown at the awards dinner, as well as in informal discussions with the media.”
How are local judges assigned to a specific panel?
“Cultivar workgroups nominate specialists in specific categories. Qualified judges sometimes request to serve in a specific panel, because of their interest and knowledge. Panels are finalised by the Veritas management.”
How does the Veritas management ensure judges’ integrity?
“We really do trust our judges’ integrity, as well as input from our conveners, who are competent people with years of experience. The whole process also gets audited by independent auditors.”
How are panel conveners chosen?
“Panel conveners get appointed by the Veritas executive management and on recommendation from the cultivar workgroups. We follow a fully democratic process.”
What is the role of a panel convener?
“A convener must assist in the selection of his/her panel and ensure that the panel is fully conversant with the class to be judged. New judges are familiarised with all procedures. Beforehand, the convenor must also brief the panel about judging procedures, scoring system, mechanics of awarding medals and category of product to be judged during the session. Panels are informed that they judge in accordance with the SANW systems and guidelines.”