In its best showing in a South African wine competition to date, a Western Cape winery, Org de Rac, garnered two top 10 spots in the annual competition for signature blended red wines organised by leading wine portal WineMag.co.za.
Org de Rac’s Die Waghuis Red 2018 and its Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2019 beat some of the most illustrious names from the Cape’s premium wine regions, taking two coveted top 10 spots. This validates the wine estate’s vision of making quality organic wines from classic grape varieties in the Swartland region.
“These are two big accolades for Org de Rac, on so many fronts,” says cellarmaster Frank Meaker who in his 40 years in the industry has made wine in most of South Africa’s regions, showing a particular affinity for blended red wines.
“The two wines that shone at this year’s WineMag red blend report represent every red grape variety farmed on our Org de Rac property,” says Meaker. “You know the old saying: you are only as strong as your weakest link. Well, looking at the diverse spectrum of cultivars in these two winning wines, all the links are tight, strong and in great shape.”
Die Waghuis 2018, Org de Rac’s flagship red wine, is a blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Verdelho, while the other winning wine brings together Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
“This latest brace of awards vindicates the faith the late Nico Bacon, founder of Org de Rac, had in planting a spread of classic red wine varieties on our patch of earth, deep in the Swartland bordering the town of Piketberg,” says Meaker. “Two decades after the vineyard planting began and 20 years of nothing else but organic viticulture, we are now seeing his vision and our commitment to making great South African red wines come to fruition. With these latest awards I can say that proud is not the word.”
‘Authentically South African blend’
Meaker says that through Org de Rac’s achievements at top competitions, such as the one for WineMag’s Signature Red Bleds, the perception of organic wine is being turned on its head.
“Especially in South Africa, too many people – critics, wine-buyers and consumers – see the concept of organic wines as being a secondary sector, driven by some lentil-eating bunny-huggers more concerned about doing good for the planet than focussing on wine quality,” he says. “The concept of organic is aimed at improving grape quality by farming as close to nature as possible without adding chemical fertilisers and pesticides. We live this ethos to make fine wine. This is the ultimate goal.”
According to Christian Eedes, chairman of the tasting panel and Winemag.co.za editor, the purpose of the signature red blend tasting is to explore to what an extent an authentically South African blend is emerging. “It seems, however, that there is still a lot of experimentation going on with a very wide range of varieties and styles being used – that’s to be encouraged but it makes difficult to discern any meaningful trends,” says Eedes.