Monthly Archives: August 2014


The South African Wine Index (SAWi) is an objective measure of the perceived quality of a wine, represented as a single percentage score. The score is based on the performance of a wine over a minimum of three vintages in as many as 84 recognised national and international wine competitions and listing reviews.

The SAWi ‘Algorithm of Excellence’ was created in 2007 by the South African ex-diplomat and wine enthusiast, Izak Smit, in response to a call from celebrated local wine judges and producers who saw a need to effectively highlight wines consistently recognised as exceptional. The producers’ desire was to see an independent measure (objectively) of the status of their wines, irrespective of the vagaries (subjectiveness) of the competitions their wines were entered in.

Only 99 of the 914 wines currently featuring in the Index spanning over multi-vintages and which are representative of 88 out of 528 wineries, were good enough to be recognised as part of the above echelon of an exceptional class.

The SAWi methodology has achieved what those celebrated wine producers hoped it would, with the best scoring wines being acknowledged at the exclusive annual SAWi Awards function. Of the 6000 wines indexed, only the above 99 were eligible to have been mentioned and a SAWi Award thus constitutes an accepted aspirational benchmark for serious local producers, carrying more weight than myriad wine competition awards generally known to the public.

Due to the endorsement of the South African wine producers, SAWi and the value of a SAWi accolade have become better known to discerning wine consumers of late, and SAWi is ideally positioned to enter the targeted high-end consumer market as the definitive measure of South African wine quality.

Along with this unparalleled measure of quality, SAWi embodies a unique philosophy that serves to define a new brand concept with respect to South African wines and the South African wine industry. Only SAWi is able to bring top producers together around the common theme of consistent excellence without the need to resort to a competitive environment, and thus promotes South Africa as a collective producer of exceptional wine, rather than the individuals able to make the odd exceptional wine.

Moreover, SAWi shares the top producers’ commitment to the principles of meaningful social redress from within the local wine industry, and is able (via a strategic plan drawn up for such purpose) to both highlight and facilitate the coordination of this change, as the trusted representative of the best the industry has to offer.


An index is a single number, the result of a mathematical equation
designed to aggregate a set of data effectively,
allowing us to compare like with like.

As a comparative value in wine quality judging it represents
the objective measure of the perceived quality of a wine
highlighting wines consistently recognized as exceptional.

In setting an aspirational benchmark in wine, it brings together
top producers under a new brand concept promoting SA as a collective.