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The Blaauwklippen Blending Competition: Good Friends, Good Wine, Good Times!

Finalists, the Digital Blenders, recount their experience with the Blaauwklippen Blending Competition over the years. Join their journey:

When we first got together as the Digital Blenders for the 30th Blaauwklippen Blending Competition 3 years ago, we had no idea what we were doing. But what started as simply an afternoon off work has blossomed into a rather serious affair for this small team of creatives, and we’re beyond proud of where our dedication to the art of blending has gotten us. Let’s start from the beginning:

Active Ice is a digital media studio that specialises in online marketing. We’re designers, developers, and content generators. We are by no means winemakers. However, we were lucky enough to take on Blaauwklippen Vineyards as a client, and so a great partnership was born. In 2013 we decided on a whim to take part in their historic blending competition, as we thought it would be an entertaining activity we could do together as a group. None of us really knew much about wine, never mind winemaking. Nevertheless we entered our first blending with enthusiasm. We tried and tested our way through a variety of blends until we were confident that we had come across one that would place quite highly. We were sure we had a winner on our hands. We were already preparing our acceptance speech, safe in the knowledge that this one was in the bag!

We came 2nd last. A crushing blow to our confidence, but it was necessary for us to see that we needed to take this more seriously.

In 2014 we were no longer the newcomers, and so it was with much enthusiasm that we took on the 31st Blaauwklippen Blending Competition. We researched the perfect blend, spent hours deliberating on which would be our submission. A lot of laughter and fun ensued and once entered, we discovered we had placed 48th out of 87 entries, a marked improvement on the previous year’s results and proof that with some small effort we could be up there amongst some of the best amateur wine blenders. We were thirsting for glory and eagerly anticipated the next competition.

Once 2015 finally rolled around we were more than ready, and a group of battle hardened veterans entered the office boardroom to decide upon our champion. Our research served us well as our knowledge of the desired blend, a classic Bordeaux that would stand the test of time, held us in good stead whilst blending. We entered more sure than ever before, and yet we were as surprised as anyone when we were announced as a finalist! Suffice to say, much vino was spilt celebrating such a momentous occurrence.

To be at the awards ceremony was an honour for us all, especially given that we were amongst so many great masters such as the first ever winners of this prestigious competition, previous years finalists and the first ever international finalists. It was an honour to be a part of such a joyous occasion that lent credence to the saying that wine was made to bring friends together. Good wine, good food and good friends meant an incredible afternoon at the stunningly beautiful Blaauwklippen Vineyards in Stellenbosch.

The Blaauwklippen Blending Competition has become a lasting tradition here at Active Ice, one we look to continue for many years to come. The art of blending has forged friendships amongst colleagues old and new, and given us pride in ourselves and our work. If you’ve ever thought about entering, we encourage you to go for it. Bring friends, bring family, bring colleagues and live, laugh, eat, drink and be merry. It’s an event like no other. And if ever you doubt that you’d be able to make it to the top, simply look to us at Active Ice. We started from the bottom, and now we’re here.

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