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 6000 wines, the ‘Grand Wines Collection’ currently includes 494 wines and only 203 wines, representing 66 wineries, have achieved Platinum status.
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 2016 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 and Stanford.
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.
2016 ‘Wine Excellence Awards’ Multi-year Highlights
This year, KWV took the most honours with 11 awards, followed by Cederberg’s and Spier’s 8, Saronsberg 7, while Bouchard Finlayson, Paul Cluver and Diemersdal received 6 awards each. As with a golf or tennis rating system, having received the most accolades does not necessarily imply a number 1 ranking position, but such performances take these wineries close to being coveted trophy winners.
Comments on Achievements
Cultivars: At the seventh annual SAWi awards, Bordeaux Blend achievements dominated, scooping 32 accolades in total, just ahead of Shiraz with 30 acknowledgements, followed by Sauvignon Blanc with 27.
Chenin Blanc followed with 26, Chardonnay (which dominated in 2014) and MCCs with 23, Cabernet Sauvignon 21, Pinotage 18, White Wine Blends 13, Pinot Noir and Rhone Blends with 6, and other Red Blends with 4. In comparison with previous years, there were many more accolades for Brandies and Cape Ports.
Regions: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley dominated with 34 high-end accolades, with Paarl alongside (mainly due to the KWV’s contribution). These were followed by Constantia, Franschhoek and Tulbach on 23 each, Somerset Helderberg and Stellenbosch Central Wineries on 16 each, Elgin, Stellenbosch Kloof, Stellenbosch West, Stellenbosch Simonsberg and Blaauwklippen on 9 each, and Robertson with 7.
For the 2016 SAWi members’ Platinum and Grand Gold Recipients list, click here: 2016 SAWi Platinum and Grand Gold Recipients