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Gauteng Wine Club Trumps Top Blends in International Wine Competition

The WWIWWEW Wine Club from Gauteng walked away with glory when they were announced the winners of the 29th annual Blaauwklippen Blending Competition, beating 76 other blends!

This unique competition is the only wine contest in South Africa where amateur wine clubs are given the opportunity to submit their own blends for judging by a panel of professional wine experts. Prizes include wine from Blaauwklippen and glassware from Vitria, who has been a sponsor of this competition since its inception. Finalist clubs are treated to a fun filled and informative weekend in the winelands, courtesy of the Protea Hotel Stellenbosch and every finalist club is treated to a personal visit and exclusive wine tasting by Rolf Zeitvogel, Blaauwklippen’s Cellar Master. The winning club gets the honour of having their blend bottled under the Blaauwklippen Barouche label and sold commercially. The label for the winning blend is based on a specially designed artwork by well-known Stellenbosch artist, Frans Groenewald. The wine is sold in Magnum bottles from selected retail outlets, and from the tasting centre on the farm at R134 per bottle.

In the final round of the battle of the blends the WWIWWEW Wine Club was up against:

– The Three Sheets To The Wind Wine Club, a Gauteng based club that was established in 2006, and also the 2011 champions of the Blending Competition. The ten members of The Three Sheets To The Wind Wine Club meet formally every second month and a lot more regular socially.

– The Babalost Wine Club hails from George. This is their fourth entry and first time in the final. The club was formed five years ago, and their name is a wordplay on the Afrikaans term “babelas” meaning “hangover”. The club meets up formally about three times a year.

– The Bacchanalian Society, also from Gauteng was formed in 1975 at a prawn fondue dinner when a guest raised his glass and toasted, “hail Bacchus, god of wine”. The club has 27 members and they meet monthly.

Blaauwklippen introduced an additional award in 2008, the Newcomer Trophy. This Trophy goes to the highest scoring wine of a wine club which has never entered the competition before. The honours went to Le Nose Wine Club from Somerset West.

For 2012, entrants received a selection of four wines from the 2011 vintage (single vineyard Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel and a single vineyard Shiraz).

After the clubs had determined the ideal percentage of blending components to create their final wine, the 77 creations were tasted by a panel of wine judges to determine the final four. The challenge to the clubs was to produce a complex, serious, dry red blend with subtle tannin structure and a good balance – a wine with finesse and freshness which can be enjoyed soon, but also allows potential for cellaring.

The triumphant wine was a sophisticated blend of 32% Shiraz, 30% Zinfandel, 20% Cabernet Franc and 18% Petit Verdot.

“Blaauwklippen aims to give South African wine enthusiasts a real life taste of the wine industry, as well as a chance to become involved in the process of wine selection first hand. This competition has become an institution on wine club calendars and definitely give the clubs something to look forward to each year,” says Rolf Zeitvogel, Blaauwklippen Cellar Master and convenor of the judging panel.

“The number of entries and repeat entries underscores the popularity of this competition and the role it has on the wine club calendar. We are also encouraged by younger participants taking part in the competition. With the Newcomer Award we aim to take the competition to the emerging market, and hopefully introduce the art and fun of blending to a wider audience. This year we received six international entries from Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, Namibia and Germany, which entered two blends.”

Zeitvogel’s panel of judges this year consisted of Andrew Chigorimbo (wine lover and aspiring sommelier), Albert Basson (Blaauwklippen Assistant Winemaker), Clive Torr (Cape Wine Master and winemaker), Samarie Smith (wine judge and journalist) and Edo Heyns (wine judge and journalist).

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