Best new wine writer in SA announcedDecember 7, 2022
VERITAS AWARDS: TASTING THE BEST COUNTRYWIDEOctober 4, 2023
The finest palates of international and local judges will evaluate this year’s entries for the Veritas Awards – for many years seen as a highly important week of South African wine and brandy judging in the oldest and most respected show for these market-ready products since its inception in 1991.
Overseas Judges Sponsored
The regular use of accomplished overseas judges by Veritas has been made possible thanks to a partnership with Dry Ice International, which has agreed to bring the group of highly respected judges to South Africa.
Dry Ice International, led by CEO Deon Roux, is the largest supplier and manufacturer of dry ice in South Africa. He emphasises the crucial importance of reliability and speedy deliveries of dry ice for the wine industry, particularly during the harvesting season. With almost 30 years of experience in manufacturing and distributing dry ice across South Africa and neighbouring countries, the company boasts multiple manufacturing plants and an extensive in-house delivery network. Their expansion into the Western Cape aims to support local wine farmers by ensuring 24/7 availability of dry ice and robust infrastructure to withstand power and water shortages, backed by generators, CO₂ storage tanks, and reliable transport to ensure wine farmers receive dry ice when they need it.
Says Deon Roux “Dry Ice International, transforming cool grapes into fine wines, is a proud sponsor for Veritas 2023.
The chairperson of Veritas, Christo Pienaar, says, “We are delighted to have Dry Ice International on board as a partner, an important supplier whose commitment to Veritas and the international judges confirms their loyalty to the wine industry.”
The international judges are Christine Austin, UK wine writer and author; Jonas Röjerman MW, Swedish wine trader and sommelier; Joe Wadsack, British wine buyer and TV presenter; and Jo Wessels, a well-awarded South African sommelier based in Germany.
Altogether 14 experienced judging panels are meeting at the Johann Graue Hall at Nederburg in Paarl to identify the best entries for the sought-after Veritas medals and name the Vertex Award winner as the top wine overall. This award was named the Duimpie Bayly Vertex Award in 2021 in honour of the late Mr Bayly, a legend and champion of the industry.
The wines and brandies are being tasted over five days until Friday 15 September. The seven most keenly contested categories in terms of entries received are: Red Blends (170), Sauvignon Blanc (141), Cabernet Sauvignon (109), Chardonnay (105), Shiraz (102), Chenin Blanc (97) and Pinotage (83).
The local team of judges comprises various winemakers, researchers, academics, Cape Wine Masters, wine buyers, wine writers and consultants. The Cape Wine Masters continue to play an important role as independent judges at Veritas, with no less than 12 CWMs judging over the five days.
Wine lovers will again also be able to use the “VinoVeritas by CTP” app, developed by CTP/SA Litho, to order the Double Gold and Gold winners immediately following the announcement of the results on 13 October for free delivery by Getwine on their own doorstep. The App can be downloaded on the Android and Google platforms.
Veritas and its partner, Deloitte, will present the wine tastings of the prestigious winners of the Veritas Double Gold and Gold wines in October and November in the main centres. “We are looking forward to share these top wines with our clients, the trade and the consumers in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban,” says Ruwayda Redfearn, Deloitte Africa CEO.
The public tastings will be held at the Deloitte offices on 27 October in Cape Town, 1 November in their head office in Waterfall, Johannesburg, and 8 November in Durban. A tutored tasting of some of the award-winning wines will be held in Gquberha on 15 November.
Details of the tastings are on the Veritas website. Tickets are available on Computicket.
The Veritas Awards, now in its 33rd year, is South Africa’s premier wine competition. Wine cognoscenti and consumers alike rely on a Veritas award as an unrivalled stamp of quality.
The sponsors Nashua and Blue Nova, which joined Veritas last year, are again making a valuable contribution to Veritas’s standing as the country’s leading wine show.
The awards presentation will return to the CTICC with the gala event on Friday 13 October 2023.
International Judges’ CVs
Christine Austin is a UK wine writer, broadcaster and wine judge for several international wine competitions, including the International Wine Challenge as a senior Panel Chairperson. She has also judged at Veritas and spent five years as a buyer for a major supermarket before moving to wine writing for The Yorkshire Post Magazine, among others, and contributing to several wine books.
Jonas Röjerman MW is the MD of Vitis Wines in Stockholm that imports and sells wine on the Nordic markets, previously having been Managing Director of wine importer Tryffelsvinet and working as Head of quality control at Systembolaget, as well as head-sommelier at the five-star Grand Hôtel in Stockholm. He received a scholarship for best in class at the Grythyttan university. He has judged at various wine competitions around the world.
Joe Wadsack studied Chemistry at Manchester University and obtained a winemaking diploma in Bordeaux. He was a buyer for the supermarket chains J Sainsbury and Waitrose and co-presented a TV show on BBC’s Food Channel, Great Wine Walks – taking him to South Africa, Australia, and the fine wine districts of France – as well as later co-authoring the Richard and Judy Wine Guide. He was co-presenter of the flagship TV show BBC Food & Drink a Panel Chair and Senior Judge at The International Wine Challenge, also regularly judging at wine competitions throughout the world, including South Africa at Veritas. He was named International Wine Challenge’s Personality of the Year in 2015.
Jo Wessels is a South African sommelier based in Germany, having studied at Stellenbosch University and working at top restaurants, he qualified as a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. He holds a BSc degree in International Wine Business from Geisenheim University and garnered experience in Michelin-starred restaurants. In 2018 Jo earned the title of SASA Best Sommelier of South Africa and won top sommelier awards in Germany. Jo is currently the sommelier of Mary Jane Space, a fine-dining concept in Heidelberg.
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