Monthly Archives: December 2013


SAWi Awards at Grootbos

Posted under Local Wines by Grootbos on 11th December 2013

The First Algorithm for Measuring Quality Wine
On Wednesday evening, 3 December 2013, we hosted the SAWi (South African Wine Index) Awards. We had wine-makers, connoisseurs and sommeliers under one roof for an exquisite evening of fine dining and a prestigious award ceremony. The ceremony was held in the very exclusive Villa where the wine enthusiasts were surrounded by incredible art and breath-taking views. There were representatives for the respective wineries situated across South Africa to receive the various accolades. Before we name the winners however, let’s delve into the history and cause of SAWi first.

This is the fourth year of the SAWi awards but the project has been running for seven years. It is a completely new, innovative way of rating wines as quality is not determined by tasting the wines but what then?…now we’ve got your attention!

Rather than relying on the subjectivity of the taste bud and people’s natural instinct to rely on familiarity, SAWi created an algorithm that would objectively determine the long-standing quality of different wines in South Africa.

With this ground-breaking list, wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs will be able to choose sensational wine with more ease. Since the method is not applied anywhere else in the world, this credible methodology for adjudicating wine quality will certainly create global awareness about the sensational local wines that South Africa produces.

Now let’s talk about the algorithm:
The first step involves pulling results from 84 different international and national wine panels and expert reviews. By generating a consensus from a variety of wine experts we can get a holistic idea of the quality of the wine. Each nominal point is varied according to the weight of the award (based on the composition of tasting panels and number of medals on offer) or review and whether it is national or international.

Another major aspect is to measure the consistency of the wine so that long-standing quality is discovered and wineries with the optimal resources, knowledge and ingredients pinpointed. Although the project has only been operating for six years the idea is to build it out to a ten year window period for greater accuracy.

The results are measured out of 100. A score of 93~94/100 results in a ‘Grand Gold Award’ while the highest award, the Platinum Award, is 95/100. Of the 6 000 different types of wine in South Africa, only 30 (0.5%) received a Platinum Award so far. That means only 3% of the 586 wineries in South Africa received a SAWi Award! Adding to the fact that SAWi is not a competition, it is one of the most objective, fair and reliable wine guides in the world. Well drink to that!

Let’s raise our glasses and clink to the following local wine-masters that stood the test of time:
(We decided to only mention the wineries and wine-sommeliers from our neighbourhood, the Overberg.

– Peter Finlayson took the Wine Legends Award home, one of the most prestigious titles awarded at the ceremony. He also won Winemaker of the Year with three other winemakers.
– Hamilton Russell took home six different awards. They took home White Wine of the Year for the Hamilton Russell Chardonnay; two Platinum Awards for the Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay and Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir; two Top Cultivars Awards for Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir and Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay and then lastly one of the Top 10 Wineries Award.

– Bouchard Finlayson took home an impressive nine awards! They shared the Winery of the Year; four Platinum Awards for the Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, Hannibal, Kaaimansgat Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay and Tete de Cuvee Galpin Peak Pinot Noir; one Grand Gold for Bouchard Finlayson Walker Bay Missionvale Chardonnay; two Top Cultivars Awards for Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir (sharing) and the Galpin Peak Pinot Noir and then finally one of the Top 10 Wineries Award.

– Creation took home four awards. One Platinum Award for Creation Wines Syrah Grenache; two Grand Gold Awards for Creation Wines Pinot Noir and Viognier and one of the Top 10 Wineries Award.
– Lomond took home 3 awards. Two Grand Gold Awards for Lomond Sugarbush Sauvignon Blanc and Lomond Syrah. They were also awarded with one of the Top 10 Wineries Award.
– Sumaridge took home a Platinum Award for Sumaridge Pinot Noir and one of the Top 10 Wineries Award.