In what has become South Africa’s leading Pinotage event, the winners of this year’s Absa Top 10 Pinotage Awards were announced virtually with organisers stressing the importance of nurturing new partnerships.
The awards are the culmination of a 24-year partnership between Absa and the Pinotage Association – a union that ensures the excellence and growth of this uniquely South African cultivar. This year, 149 entries were received despite ongoing challenges amid the covid-19 pandemic.
Absa Top 10 Pinotage laureates included Rijk’s Wine Estate in Tulbagh and Beyerskloof of Stellenbosch, both from the Western Cape, who are no strangers to the podium. Entrusted with crowning the winners were Cape Wine Master and panel convenor Winnie Bowman, Tsogo Sun sommelier Georgio Meletiou, Spier cellar master Frans Smit, wine writer Fiona McDonald and viticulturist Solly Monyanane, a protégé judge in 2019.
‘Partnerships and consistency maketh the vision’
To appreciate the evolution of wine styles that conform to the classics of the world and to make milestones achievable, it is about partnerships and consistency of an association with a vision, says Beyers Truter, chairman of the Pinotage Association.
“The Pinotage Association’s vision for 2025 is to get all stakeholders in sync with regards to Pinotage research, knowledge transfer and marketing. We want to double Pinotage’s contribution to the economy in the period ending in 2025 when Pinotage will be celebrating its centenary.”
Truter says, “This will be possible with the commitment from our partner Absa and their continued support to the wine industry.” He also stressed the improved quality of Pinotage and winemakers’ greater understanding of their terroir as the fundamental ingredients of their success recipe.
John Tshabalala, the managing executive of Absa in the Western Cape, expressed his pride in partnering with the Pinotage Association for the 24th edition of the event. “The local wine industry is not only synonymous with South African excellence but supports thousands of jobs while making a meaningful contribution to the economy and communities.”
Western Cape steals the show
Truter says he is not only delighted with the quality of the wines that won, but also that they represent the vastness of the Cape Winelands. The winner’s representation includes Stellenbosch, Durbanville, Paarl, the Swartland and Worcester.
Five of the top 10 winners were recurring champs.