Author Archives: Brett Garner


Cape White and Red Bordeaux and Rhone Blends, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Dessert Wines and Cape Ports again received the highest average point scores.

Shiraz shows the most wines (55) in the GWC, followed by Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cape Bordeaux blends all in the upper forties.

The success of Cape Rhone Red Blends further adds to the stronghold for Shiraz. This blend has certainly much potential to excel further with a wide spread coming from various regions. Grenache is gaining more attention as a single cultivar wine but Malbec is still slow to follow.

Chardonnay, also called the noblest white grape variety, Succeeds in a number of styles, from un-oaked to richly oaked. It remains one of the GWC drivers while being a favourite for blending in Méthode Cap Classic sparkling wines.

Chenin Blanc had very fine performances showing interesting style differences. It shows the same versatility as a leader in blended wines too. This has become a category that are noticeably excelling.

Next to follow in terms of the success table is Cape Red Bordeaux Blends. This cross-regional blend of the Bordeaux type blend in France, acts like Cape Rhône blends, to combine different virtues into a wine which at its best, is greater than the sum of its parts is well exploited locally to be another stronghold here.

Sauvignon Blanc is the third main white wine cultivar and also part of the tradition in defining South African wines. Its
representation in the GWC is less strong than Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc, also in points averages.

However, where Sauvignon Blanc does show its metal is in White Wine Rhone Blends in combination with Semillon. This is a category which could convert more wines into the 95+ class tier.

There are other single cultivar white wines also showing up in much smaller numbers like before, including the traditional Cape Riesling and Gewürtstraminer. It is rather Semillon and Viognier that show the potential to see many more wines being ranked.

Other white wine blends combined only have two representative wines in the GWC and seems not yet to attract serious attention as this remains an all sorts category.

Up next is for bragging rights is Pinot Noir which is very terroir specific and particularly excels in the unique Hermanus and Elgin soil types. It once again showed up an exceptional performance.

The top 10 list here seems not to deviate much but for others on the brink of making the rankings almost ready to show true muscle too.

So, what is next? Well, there is no simple definition of a dessert wine but it includes many made from a grape what is called in a state of noble rot. The position of this category here could be expected given the variety of this wine style that all other countries share.

Now to turn to Cabernet Sauvignon which, along with a few other red wine cultivars, used to be in some way the traditional
backbone of the industry here. Today it still fills the biggest portion of hectares planted but happens to have half the numbers than Shiraz in the GWC.

This could partly be ascribed to the fact that like elsewhere it rather does better in red wine blends, although not really as a leading cultivar outside Bordeaux blends.

Merlot shows the same tendency as Cabernet While specifically sensitive to drought and high temperatures, it just seems not to be a meaningful contributor as a single cultivar to the success of SA’s ’fine wine’ story apart from its role in Bordeaux blends.

While Merlot contributes less than half of its production to single cultivar wines, this shouldn’t provide a negative reflection about how good some examples are.

Pinotage is the hallmark of South Africa’s own wine variety. Its vineyards are the 5th most planted grape here. It has in fact the highest average score in the GWC but only 32 wines represented or less than 7% of the GWC wines with a much smaller selection to choose from.

The general name for Cape Blends refers to Pinotage led wine examples and is perhaps the least exiting success story. This is a wine which can be preferred as a personal choice as there are indeed great examples around and the low numbers shouldn’t be merely discarded.

Méthode Cap Classic Sparkling Wines show good growth and is expected that many more will convert into the 95+. However, while there is ample activity in this category, results are bound to improve further.

The list of Cape Port represented in the GWC hasn’t changed much with the position of top contender changing regularly amongst the top three producers who each shows several examples in the GWC.

Brandies are another of the categories to be proud of. Not only does it regularly outperform others being selected as the world’s best. The strongest challenge often comes from own shores.

Media Contact: Izak Smit
(cell 0825777037)


SAWi presents only 4 Trophies at its annual wine awards. This is for best fine white wine and best fine red wine producers, the best fine wine producer for both white and red wines and a brandy trophy. With some way to go still, perhaps a trophy for best fine sparkling wine could be added in future. So, why are these accolades so limited and different to many other awards outcomes?

Well, the bar is set very high here, otherwise only considering a Platinum Award for having achieved 95+ on a multi-vintage performance basis for a wine and a Grand Gold Award for a similar achievement above 93 points out of 100. No wonder that a SAWi Trophy Award is the ultimate achievement in South Africa’s for wine producers.

In other words, SAWi seeks to recognise those achievers that really stand out amongst all-comers.
This comes from the fact that SAWi measures the performance of all wines annually at once, while when it comes to wine competitions, only those wines that were entered at the time are adjudicated. That is also why in the latter case annual Trophy winners changes continuously.

SAWi also strives to see wineries produce a range of fine wines and not only a once-off standout performance. That is why the SAWi ‘Algorithm of Excellence tracks performance over a multi-vintage basis. The ultimately goal is to see all reserve range kind of wines obtain points scores above 90.

In other words, whether producing 10 wines or only 3 wines, their individual wine point-scores should be in unison. The result is that this shows up the best producers from the rest.
These are without doubt the real leaders of the industry. This makes sense by looking at the SAWi Trophy winners over the years.


Winery of the Year
Joint accolade for
Rijks Private Cellar Reserve Pinotage
Saronsberg Cellar Full Circle Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier

Wine of the Year
Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir
La Motte Shiraz Viognier (runner up)

Winery of the Year
Bouchard Finlayson

Red Wine of the year
Rijks Private Cellar Reserve Pinotage
Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir (runner up)

White Wine of the year
Mulderbosch Vineyards Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
Hamilton Russel Chardonnay (runner up)

Winery of the Year
Hamilton Russell Vineyards

Red Wine of the year
Rijks Private Cellar Reserve Pinotage
Eagles’ Nest Shiraz (runner up)

White Wine of the year
Hamilton Russell Chardonnay
Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (runner up)

Winery of the Year
Bouchard Finlayson

Red Wine of the year
Rijks Private Cellar Reserve Pinotage
Saronsberg Cellar Full Circle Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier (runner up)

White Wine of the year
Hamilton Russell Chardonnay
Ken Forrester The FMC Chenin Blanc (runner up)

Top Wine Producer of the year
Constantia Glen

Best Red Wine Producer (top 3 wines)
Kanonkop Estate
Bouchard Finlayson (runner up)

Best White Wine Producer (top 3 wines)
De Morgenzon
Groot Constantia Estate Chardonnay (runner up)

Best Brandy
KWV 20YO Brandy
Van Ryns 12YO Brandy (runner up)

Top High End Wine Producer of the Year
Saronsberg Cellar

Highest Multi Year Score Achieved for a White Wine (top 3 wines)
Jordan Wine Estate
De Morgenzon (runner up)

Highest Multi Year Score Achieved for a Red Wine (top 3 wines)
Saronsberg Cellar
Kanonkop Estate (runner up)

Highest Multi Year Score Achieved for a Brandy
Joined Accolade
KWV/Van Ryn’s/Laborie Brandies

Top High End Wine Producer of the Year
Groot Constantia Estate

Highest Combined White Wine Score (top 3 wines)
Kleine Zalze Wines
De Morgenzon (runner up)

Highest Combined Red Wine Score (top 3 wines)
Saronsberg Cellar
Bouchard Finlayson (runner up)

Highest Multi Year Score Achieved for a Brandy
Van Ryns 12YO Brandy
Laborie Alambic (runner up)

Top Fine Wine Producer of the Year
Kleine Zalze Wines (runner up)

Top Fine White Wine Producer of the Year (top 3 wines)
De Morgenzon (runner up)
Kleine Zalze Wines

Top Fine Red Wine Producer of the Year (top 3 wines)
Bouchard Finlayson
Kanonkop Estate (runner up)

Highest Multi Year Score Achieved for a Brandy
Laborie Alambic
KWV 20 Year Old Brandy [Runner Up]


Breaking the mind-set that ‘Premium quality wine only came from classical European wine nations and the odd high end Napa Valley cult winery’, was never going to be easy. Neither for South Africa nor newer entrants to the premium wine markets like Chile and Argentina.

But one of the wonderful aspects of the fine wine end of the wine trade is that to change perceptions, you don’t need advertising, call centres or mass media marketing – you merely need credible people of influence to put wine in glasses, tell the appropriate ‘authentic’ story, and importantly, benchmark top local wines in order to befriend the consumer. Fine wine after all is normally bought on recommendation… more push than pull. That is, if you know what fine wine is?

The hand sell of premium SA reds and whites was seriously difficult in the early 2000s. Success relied on tight ranges of high quality top flight wines, plentiful support from winery owners and wine makers, and total belief from the merchant selling the wines. After all, wine in South Africa is still dominated by the volume driven cheap wine class which makes up 75% of bottled wine here. Only a proportion of the balance of 25% can actually be classified as fine wine.

Therefore, it is still a challenge for South Africa’s finest icon wineries to bed down the idea in consumer’s minds that the Cape’s finest could compete with the world’s best on a daily basis. While the quality of SA’s top wines improved, the more journalist were required to sit up, take notice and talk up the more expensive premium offerings from the Cape. But, did they? Have they got their act together? No doubt, consumer scepticism still prevails as consumers here and abroad is still only connecting with the usual commodity type of wines.

Hence the role of the South African Wine Index and its ‘Grand Wines Collection’, slowly laying the foundation for consumers in the broader market to start taking fine South African wines seriously. Today the category offers the most exciting value for money premium wines in the New World. Viva Africa! Your time has finally come.


In 2009 SAWI started out by tracking outstanding achievements in fine wine making with its multi-vintage ‘Algorithm of Excellence’. In this long arduous quest, there were no footsteps to follow, so a road was embarked on which no one has pointed to as yet, but SAWi knew that success comes from changes in the way people think. In the process SAWi followed a goal that was definite and clear.
This brought up the result after 8 years culminating in its ‘Grand Wines Collection (GWC).

Those whose wines were taken up in the GWC are the ones that fight the good fight on a daily basis. In the process, they have taken over the custodianship of esprit or guardianship of the wine industry, being the ones putting in the hard yards day by day; and the renewed focus in the industry today is due to their cleverness and sustained vigour in excelling in winemaking.

While sharing in their achievements, one notice a common spirit amongst these performers, with lots of passion, perfection and pride in what they do, inspiring enthusiasm for those that are to follow. Such passion and care is enlightening the industry anew towards a brighter future.

The SAWi concept is a disruptor in the South African wine world which influences things in the space the industry here finds itself onto new brand building opportunities. The new message is about a noble course going forward. This means that the GWC belongs to a hereditary class with high social status; showing fine personal winemaking qualities. Could this be ascribed to some sort of disruption only or is it the start of the 4th revolution in winemaking terms here in SA?

Today, the message to the world out there is that South Africa has arrived in standing their ground amongst the world’s best in fine wine making as represented in the GWC. It is time to take note.



Anyone old enough to appreciate South African wine has an opinion on the fermented grape: there’re probably as many wine writers and awards as there are wine makers. With well over eight thousand local wines, how do one decide what to drink?
Is choice based on the number of trophy stickers the bottle bears, Google what Christian Eedes drank last night or see how many stars the Platter Guide gave it? Or just based on pot luck?

Opinions are by nature, subjective. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with subjectivity since we’re entitled to our preferences and opinions, it makes determining a reliable wine ‘standard’ difficult. National and international competitions are a starting point as these are generally blind tastings judged by a professional panel but even these have limitations: wine producers often have to pay to enter, limiting the sample size; scoring protocols differ and there’s no measure of a wine’s performance, year on year. And how on earth is the man in the wine shop meant to know which award trumps which?

Let’s illustrate by way of analogy: imagine you wish to invest your savings. Would you be comfortable buying shares based on a single reference point (i.e. company X won a gold medal in the 2010 Da Vinci Start-up Awards) or would you prefer information which tells you how company X performed over the last 5 years in relation to similar companies? The gold medal offers limited information as it relates to an isolated event in company X’s history while the latter offers greater insight into the relative performance of the company over a longer period and is thus more meaningful to your decision making process. Now the company operates within an industry with a known average index of 85 for example and X’s score is 90, you could safely conclude that this company is in the top percentile of the industry and is probably a good investment. This concept of an industry index allows the investor to determine the company’s comparative ‘value’ and forms the basis on which shares can be traded on stock markets.

So, what’s the answer in the case of wine choice?
An Index system process which:
– retrieves existing data and applies a specific formulation;
– finds precise values based on multiple criteria; and
– expresses a particular status (via a standard unit).
As such, an index is a single number, the result of a mathematical equation designed to aggregate a set of data effectively, allowing comparing like with like.
– this symbol affirms the state or condition of something in particular;
– a body of facts/information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid;
– something serving as a visible/tangible representation of a fact or a state of quality.

Indices provide us with benchmarks, their usefulness evident in our daily life: from the CPI (Consumer Price Index) to GI (Glycemic Index) to BMI (Body Mass Index) to the Dow Jones Index. What if this could be applied to the wine industry? Perhaps finding the holy grail of great wine would finally be within reach.
‘An Index of Wine Excellence…’

This is the concept behind SAWi, the South African Wine Index, a score derived from a multi-phase algorithm to help wine lovers identify consistent excellence. Such scores take into account a specific wine’s best results over multiple vintages, national and international accolades won, proven record of quality as well as trophies and Top 10 listings. In other words, only accolades above a gold medal. As such, the collective wisdom of the judging panels, authoritative reviews and the wider wine industry is distilled into a single figure that drowns out much of the subjective noise, making it easy to distinguish truly extraordinary wines.

It has become particularly clear that all those making wine are excited by the potential a reliable, recognizable standard offers the industry. With a credible index as a benchmark, the true value of South African wines can now for the first time be gauged and celebrated. Most importantly, to be rolled out to the two top market segments namely wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs.

Having built out an eight year performance record for all SA Wines, a milestone was reached which enables SAWi to announce it’s ‘Grand Wines Collection’ (GWC) in 2016. This collection represents 400 wines which made the benchmark of 93/100 over a ten year adjudication period. It culminated in a world first wine cultivar ranking list from where unique sets of combined wine lots are offered to the above target market, with SAWi answering the calls of high profile private client individuals to help them to obtain good wine and to build up their private wine cellars. The GWC will be rolled out via unique wine lot compilations. A wine club affiliation process (with mainly wine enthusiasts as members) is well underway too.

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The one asset the world’s richest people are piling into

Competition Matters | DWWA, Points and Medals

Writing on in 2014, Robert Joseph, has this fantastic introductory line to his piece What’s the point of wine competitions?:

“Wine competitions are the worst way to identify the world’s best wines.”

It’s a sentiment we hear at SAWi from time to time – although far less often now than a few years ago. Joseph goes on to apologise to Churchill before concluding his introduction by pointing out that competitions “actually work better than the alternatives.” We have to agree; but when determining SAWi scores we also consider key listings, reviews and comments from the world’s leading wine authorities.

The SAWi ‘Algorithm of Excellence’ distills the collective wisdom of a multitude of authoritative wine competitions, reviews and listings into a single point score which is consistent and drowns out much of the subjective noise of various judging panels.

One of the competitions we include is the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA).

Together with the many entrants, we’ll be keeping an eye on the DWWA 2017 Timeline, so that we can feed the results into our SAWi algorithm ahead of the 2017 Grand Wines Collection update, as well as the 2018 SAWi Wine Excellence Awards.

According to the DWWA site, “DWWA has judges from around the world, including Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers, and many of them are the foremost experts in their field. Judging is organised into categories, initially based on region. For example, Champagne will be judged by a panel of Champagne experts.

The judges taste wines individually. They know the region, style and price bracket, but they don’t know who produced the wine or the brand name. They then compare notes on the wine and reach a consensus on each wine’s medal.

Medal categories correspond to the 100-point scoring system used by Decanter and many top wine critics around the world.”

SAWi also represents wine performance as a value out of 100, but the SAWi Index value is a unity-based normalised score that uses raw data comprised of the wine’s average score over a 10-year period, as well as additional points for consistent top performance and any additional accolades achieved.

As will be appreciated by the DWWA description above, the competition process is rigorous, and a wine that walks away with DWWA Gold Medal can truly claim to be exceptional. More so if it then receives a Platinum Medal or is crowned ‘Best in Show’.

For this reason, the Decanter World Wine Awards and its additional medal accolades carry SAWi’s full endorsement and make a sizeable impact on the SAWi wine rating methodology.

All the best to the many worthwhile South African candidates who will submit their wines over the upcoming months. We look forward to celebrating your success with you.

The South African Grand Wines Collection – Update November 2016

The South African Wine Index is proud to present a biannual update to the first SAWi South African Wine Ranking List, previously published in June 2016. The South African Wine Ranking List identifies South Africa’s top performing wines using the SAWi multi-vintage ‘Algorithm of Excellence’, and these top wines are presented as a collective referred to as the South African Grand Wines Collection (GWC).

SAWi’s unique ‘Algorithm of Excellence’ is applied to measure the performance of individual wines across a minimum of three vintages, and compares and condenses the results from more than 100 multinational competitions, ratings, reviews and listings (acknowledging the nature of the competitions and any additional accolades bestowed on the wine) over a rolling period of ten years, and expresses this as a single value out of 100. The Grand Wines Collection only features wines that achieve 93 or more index points.

As the ranking process considers a wine’s performance over a relatively long period, whole-scale changes to the South African Wine Ranking List are never expected, particularly when considering the top performing wines. This update does, however, highlight considerable movement within certain cultivar or wine style categories, and several newly ranked wines have entered the Grand Wines Collection.

Highlights of the latest update include:
• Tremendous overall movement within the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir categories, with a 54% increase in the number of wines that qualify for inclusion;
• Noticeable overall movement within White Blends (+50%), Bordeaux Blends, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage categories (+44%), followed by Rhone Blends (+34%);
• Some 40 wines, previously scoring just below 93 index points, have joined the GWC and two wines have fallen off the list;
• 57 new wines stand poised to join the GWC;
• There were no additions to the Viognier and MCC categories, and very few to the Semillon, Red Blends, Merlot, Cape Blends, Dessert/Fortified Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc categories;
• The Shiraz category is the biggest with 87 ranked wines, followed by Bordeaux Blends, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, respectively;
• The Rhone Blends, Red Blends and Sauvignon Blanc categories exhibited the greatest movement within the Top Ten and Top Five subsets.

This ranking update lends weight to the reputations of the mainstay of the South African wine industry, but it also highlights that things are changing. The strong standing in the industry of some leading cultivars of the past seems to have become relatively tenuous and the sheer number of consistently excelling wines suggests that there are no longer any single pinnacle varieties.

With the SAWi indexing process recognised as the ultimate quality benchmark for South African wines, the South African Wine Ranking List represents the best wines in this country.

Visit for more information and the full Grand Wines Collection list.

Franschhoek Uncorked 2016

Franschhoek hosts the Franschhoek Uncorked festival on 24 and 25 September and a number of the 18 participating wineries have wines listed in the SAWi Grand Wines Collection.

The 18 wineries (as listed on the official Franschhoek Uncorked Festival programme) and their respective GWC wines, where relevant are:
1. Noble Hill
2. Plaisir de Merle
3. Allée Bleue – Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, Shiraz
4. Boschendal – Reserve Syrah, MCC Brut, Reserve Collection Sauvignon Blanc
5. Anthonij Rupert Wyne
6. Lynx Wines – Shiraz, Viognier
7. Topiary Wines & La Chataigne
8. Maison Estate
9. Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards
10. GlenWood – Vigneron’s Selection Chardonnay
11. Rickety Bridge – Foundation Stone Red, Paulina’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
12. Grande Provence – Chardonnay, The Grand Provence Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon
13. Mont Rochelle
14. Black Elephant Vintners
15. Dieu Donné – Cabernet Sauvignon
16. Haute Cabrière
17. La Bri
18. Boekenhoutskloof – Chocolate Block, Cabernet Sauvignon Franschhoek, Semillon Franschhoek, Syrah (Coastal region), Syrah Franschhoek

While we’re not suggesting that the wineries with GWC wines will have those wines available for tasting as part of the festival programme, we are sure you’ll get a sense of why they’ve managed to achieve at a consistently high level to earn a place on the list, should you visit them.

Feel free to share your weekend experience(s) of the Franschhoek GWC producers via a comment to this post.

2017 SAWi Wine Excellence Awards

The South African Wine Index (SAWi) was established in 2009 with the aim of independently identifying South Africa’s best wines. SAWi’s hope was that the collection of these best wines, or ‘South African Grand Wines’ (see Part 2), would then allow for the international promotion of the South African wine industry as a producer of high-quality wines, in contrast to its reputation at the time as a producer of cheap bulk wine.

SAWi’s unique ‘Algorithm of Excellence’ is applied to measure the performance of individual wines, across multiple vintages, and compares and condenses the results from more than 100 multinational competitions, reviews and listings, acknowledging the nature of the competition and any additional accolades bestowed on a wine, and expresses this as a single value out of 100.

Through the ongoing indexing process, it is now easy to distinguish top performing producers, and which of their wines are consistently accepted as exceptional. In addition to making the international promotion of the best South African wines possible, the Index offers consumers an opportunity to make a reliable decision about which wines to buy – without being subject to the necessary vagaries of annual wine competitions, or a vintage-specific performance.

SAWi sets two aspirational benchmarks against which to measure wine quality: Grand Gold status, which is awarded to wines that score more than 93 Index points, and Platinum status, for wines which score above 95. Together, these sets comprise the ‘South African Grand Wines Collection’.

Sourced from 585 wineries or more than 8000+ wines, the ‘Grand Wines Collection’ currently includes 400 wines, representing 187 wineries.

While SAWi indexes all South African wines as a matter of routine, SAWi members are invited to attend the annual SA Wine Index ‘Wine Excellence Awards’ at which their performance in particular is acknowledged.

The 2017 SAWi ‘Wine Excellence Awards’ were hosted, again, by Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, who accommodated guests in a number of luxurious rooms on the Grootbos property and in nearby De Kelders.

Grootbos regularly tops various international travel lists as South Africa’s leading 5-star family friendly leisure destination for the environmentally and socially conscious. SAWi is proud to be associated with Grootbos, the home of the South African Wine Index Awards and most of SAWi’s top performing wines.

SAWi is pleased to be supported by Union Pay International and the SAWi ‘Algorithm of Excellence’ is endorsed by PKF Chartered Accountants.

Neil Ellis was nominated as the latest SAWi Wine Legend, having, amongst other achievements, being first in sourcing grapes from vineyards and sites he wanted, going single-handily up against the bureaucracy ‘who was stifling everything at the time’. This was part of the revolution South African Wines were waiting for.

Neil joins other SAWi Legends, with the likes of Peter Finlayson, Jan ‘Boland’ Coetzee, Beyers Truter, Etienne le Riche and Hempies du Toit.

Overall trophy honours went to KWV, with unprecedented 15 Platinum accolades. The Trophies for best Fine White and Red Wine Producers of the year once again went to DeMorgenzon (including the highest score for a white wine produced) and Bouchard Finlayson, while the trophy for best brandy went to Laborie.

Wineries with the highest number of accolades were KWV 20 (15 Platinum); Distell 18; Cederberg and Spier 9 each; Groot Constantia and Kleine Zalze 8 each; Creation, Paul Cluver and Saronsberg 7 each; and Diemersdal and Annandale 6 each.

DeMorgenzon, Bouchard Finlayson, La Motte, Rustenberg, Vergelegen, Vriesenhof, Wildekrans and Windmeul all received five awards each. Many other wineries received multiple awards.

What is of particular importance is the consistency in multiple-vintage results for most wines mentioned here. This is paramount in wine competitions.

Comments on Achievements
No doubt that in general SAWi adds a meaningful definition as to the state of SA Wines.
The GWC in particular shows the overall best wines the country has. There is also no question that the so called ‘old guard’ still holds the very front positions.

Highlights of the latest update include the following:
• The GWC now consists of just over 400 wines.
• While Shiraz still dominates the rankings in terms of number of wines, the adjustment in the SAWi Algorithm has seen 23 wines disappearing from the list, just more than as for Sauvignon Blanc.
The only other noticeable downward movement on the ranking list was for white blends.
• The added list of wines that were ‘On the Brink’ of making the ranking list (close onto 93 points) also came down a lot but still stands at 87.
• The number of ranked wines for most of the other cultivars, not mentioned above, stayed pretty much the same on between 10 and 20 wines each.
• Shiraz has the most ranked wines namely 54, followed by Bordeaux Blends 46, Chardonnay 45, Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Cabernet have around 30 ranked wines each.
• Pinot Noir, Rhone Blends and Dessert Wines received the highest average point scores and are at the same time also pitched at the highest individual price at the top.

While it is clear from these rankings which wines are arguably the mainstay of the industry, it is certainly also true that the local wine industry has moved on and is not what it was yesterday, given that the strong standing in the industry of some leading cultivars of the past era seems to have lost the lead and are even perhaps tenuous. The variety of wine cultivars which are excelling today is simply showing that there are almost no longer many single pinnacle wine varieties on their own in the lead any longer that dominates at the very top.

The Grand Wines Collection

The South African Wine Index (SAWi) was established with the aim of setting a quality benchmark for South African Wines. The value of SAWi’s multi-year wine performance adjudication process has earned it official recognition as a definitive measure of a given wine’s quality, irrespective of vintage.

Until the introduction of the Index, the quality adjudication of wine depended on annual events, which by their nature present the once-off and subjective opinions of the adjudicators. This not only makes it difficult to track a wine’s performance over time but, more importantly, it prevents meaningful empirical deductions from being made.

SAWi is proud to present the South African ‘Grand Wines Collection’. The GWC represents a little less than 400 of the 8000 South African wines currently available that have consistently achieved the highest acknowledgement from various wine judging panels and respected wine commentators, all over the world. Each ranked wine in the list below has scored a minimum of 93 Index points. As a collective, the GWC sets a unique benchmark for South African wine quality.

See the Grand Wines Collection here.

All SAWi scores and the NWN ranking are determined using SAWi’s unique ‘Algorithm of Excellence’ (AOE). While the utmost care is taken in the preparation of these scores, errors and omissions are possible. Producers are encouraged to inform SAWi of competition and other results at year end.