A Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon is this year's top wine

A Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon is this year's top wine
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The SA Terroir Trophy went to the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, named the overall winner from all 264 wines judged for the 2023 SA Terroir Wine Awards.

The highly coveted SA Terroir Trophy for the top wine out of all the entries in all styles and cultivars, this year went to a five year-old Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosch, the Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2018. This estate wine was named overall winner from all 264 wines judged for the exclusive SA Terroir Wine Awards.

The top achiever of the 2023 SA Terroir Wine Awards with the highest number of top quality entries is Rietvallei Wine Estate in Robertson, which thereby also boasts the highest number of top estate-produced wines.

Rietvallei not only received the SA Terroir Trophy for the Top Producer, but also for the third successive year walked away with the Trophy for the Top Estate. They entered two National Winners, namely the Rietvallei JMB Cabernet Franc 2019 and the top red blend, the Rietvallei Estéanna Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2019, as well as six area winners in the Robertson District.

At the same time, this year’s top single-vineyard wine derives from the Elgin District – a wood-matured Chardonnay. A single-vineyard wine represents the most genuine expression of a terrain-driven wine from a specific soil and climate combination. Altogether 66 single-vineyard wines were judged this year and the SA Terroir Trophy for the Top Single-Vineyard Wine was awarded to Almenkerk Wine Estate's Almenkerk Chardonnay 2020.

The fact that the unique Cape winelands can boast with the most versatile wine terrains worldwide, was this year once again emphasised at the 18th SA Terroir Wine Awards. The SA Terroir Trophy for the Top Area was awarded to the Malmesbury Ward in the Swartland. In this respect the most important contribution was made by Arbeidsgenot Wines in Riebeek-Kasteel (part of the Malmesbury ward) which yielded three National Winners. It was actually Arbeidsgenot’s first participation in this showpiece competition, where their lesser-known cultivars excelled, i.e. the Arbeidsgenot Grenache Blanc 2022, Roussanne 2022, and Verdelho 2022.

The five SA Terroir Wine Awards trophies this year originated from four different wine terrains in the Cape winelands: Malmesbury, Robertson, Stellenbosch, and Elgin. The national winners of all the styles and cultivars originated from more than 15 terrains in the Cape winelands and thereby really emphasised the variety of its terroir-driven wines.

“The diversity of our wine areas was once again proven at this year’s SA Terroir Wine Awards,” said Christo Pienaar, chairperson of the South African National Wine Show Association (SANWSA). “Quality is the core theme of the judging and it is significant to see year after year which terrains in our very special winelands deliver the best of which cultivars and styles.”

Altogether 35 wines achieved the standard points to be named National Winners.

2023 SA Terroir National Winner wines

Cabernet Franc


Rietvallei JMB Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Sauvignon


Alto Cabernet Sauvignon

Cap Classique


Lourensford Cap Classique Cuvée 124 Brut Zero

Cape Style


Stettyn Family Vineyards Cape Vintage

Certified Heritage Vineyard Wine (Fortified)


Muratie Ben Prins Cape Vintage

Certified Heritage Vineyards Wine


Old Road Wine Co. Stone Trail Chenin Blanc



Almenkerk Chardonnay (wooded)



Springfontein Terroir Selection Chenel (wooded)

Chenin Blanc


Bergsig Patmos Chenin Blanc Reserve (wooded)



Welbedacht Bakleiblok Cinsault



Neethlingshof Estate Gewürztraminer

Grenache Blanc


Arbeidsgenot Grenache Blanc



Saronsberg Grenache

Low Alcohol Rosé


Slanghoek Vinay Vin Rosé



Vergenoegd Löw Malbec Valentina



Meinert Merlot



Saronsberg Mourvèdre



Nuy Barbiri Idro Barrel Matured Red Muscadel



Benguela Cove Sauvignon Blanc NLH

Petit Verdot


Le Bonheur Petit Verdot

Pinot Noir


La Vierge Apogée Pinot Noir



Doolhof Single Vineyard Pinotage



Rietvallei Estéanna Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc



Eerste Hoop Blushing Bride Rosé



Arbeidsgenot Roussanne

Sauvignon Blanc


Lutzville Vineyards Diamond Collection Sauvignon Blanc



Benguela Cove Catalina Sémillon (wooded)



De Grendel Op die Berg Syrah

Straw Wine


Villa Esposto Muscat d’Alexandrie Straw Wine



Kranskop SV Tannat

Touriga Naçional


Boplaas Touriga Naçional



Arbeidsgenot Verdelho



Deetlefs Signature Viognier

Weisser Riesling


Bergsig Weisser Riesling

White Cultivar Blend


Flagstone Treaty Tree Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon (wooded)

This year’s judges were Jeff Grier (chairperson) Cape Wine Master from Villiera; Elunda Basson, cellarmaster of Steenberg; Conrad Louw, regular lecturer at the Cape Wine Academy and Cape Wine Master; Anton Swarts, senior winemaker at Spier and Cape Wine Master, and Janine van Zyl, a qualified sommelier engaged in her Cape Wine Master studies.

During the awards function at the well-known Lanzerac Hotel in Stellenbosch, the 50th anniversary of the Wine of Origin Scheme officially implemented on 1 September 1973 was toasted. A scroll of recognition was handed over at the function to Olivia Poonah, Executive manager of the Wine and Spirit Board that controls the WO scheme.

The SA Terroir competition has its origin thanks to the WO scheme’s system of single-vineyard, estate and ward, this also being the foundation of the competition. South Africa’s WO scheme is recognised globally as a leading system aimed at verifying the integrity of the wine in the bottle and confirming claims made on the label.

In addition to the trophies and national wines awarded, the top wines from the various areas are also named. Highlights of the function are to be aired on the TV programme Ontbytsake on Saturday 2 September.

DSTV kykNet’s Ontbytsake is one of the three financial partners which this year again supports the SA Terroir Wine Awards, along with WinField United South Africa and SA Litho.

The full results are available on the website www.terroirwineawards.co.za

The sponsors

WinField United South Africa drives partnerships and innovative solutions and projects to future-proof agriculture in South Africa. One of the projects which WUSA recently completed, is the Climate Smart Agriculture Project. Under this project Metos SA, a Winfield United SA company, installed more than 200 weather stations across the Western Cape to continuously log environmental conditions. This data can be used by producers to aid on-farm decision-making and is also utilised by TerraClim to model climate change in this province at a higher resolution. The wine industry is characterised by a strong focus on the climatic influences impacting on it.

Jan Vermaak, CEO of WinField United South Africa, says, “Our partnership with the SA Terroir competition is the first step to becoming involved with South Africa’s choice wines, right from the vineyard to the end-product.”

SA Litho Label Printers, in turn, believes a great product is nothing without great packaging. In today’s highly competitive retail environment, leaving a lasting impression on your customers means making your first one really counts. As industry leaders, SA Litho Label Printers combines advanced technology with ingenuity to produce quality packaging and print solutions that ensure your brand owns the shelf.

“We are proud to partner up with the SA Terroir Wine Awards, where the high quality and uniqueness of the wine region’s terroir is celebrated along with the winemaking process,” says Dawrian Salies, general manager of SA Litho Label Printers.

Regarding Ontbytsake as partner, their programme is seen as the ideal platform to promote business which is close to the new owners’ hearts. These ‘heartfelt’ matters include promoting tourism and associated industries like wine production and promotion. Thus, extensive exposure is given weekly on Ontbytsake, kykNET channels 144 and 145, to several wine producers entering the SA Terroir Awards, including new entrants in South Africa, but at a fraction of the normal airing costs.

“By joining as sponsor and also giving exposure to the SA Terroir competition, we give viewers the opportunity to get to know choice wines and thereby also acknowledge the winemakers for their extraordinary abilities,” says Louis Mclaren, owner and executive producer.

Stay in touch via social media:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SATerroirAwards
Twitter: twitter.com/SATerroirAwards
Instagram: www.instagram.com/saterroirawards
Stay connected: #saterroir


Enquiries to Elsabé Ferreira at tel 021 863 1599 / office@terroirwineawards.co.za

Photo captions:

Photo 1: The jubilant Trophy winners: Kobus Burger Rietvallei Estate: Top Estate and Top Producer; Bertho van der Westhuizen Alto Estate: Top Wine; Joris van Almenkerk, Almenkerk Estate: Top Single Vineyard; Jaco Brand Arbeidsgenot Wines Top Area: Malmesbury

Photo 2: The Trophy winners, SA Terroir management and Sponsors: Bennie Howard SA Terroir, Jan Vermaak CEO Winfield United SA, Kobus Burger,Bertho van der Westhuizen, Christo Pienaar SA Terroir, Joris van Almenkerk, Jaco Brand, Dawrian Salies GM SA Litho and Louis Mclaren, executive producer and owner Ontbytsake.

Photo 3: Bertho van der Westhuizen Top Wine Trophy winner with Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 and chairman SA Terroir Christo Pienaar.

Photo 7: The 50th anniversary of the Wine of Origin Scheme officially implemented on 1 September 1973 was toasted at the lunch. A scroll of recognition was handed over at the function to Olivia Poonah, Executive manager of the Wine and Spirit Board that controls the WO scheme. With the executive committee of SA Terroir awards – Bennie Howard, Christo Pienaar, De Wet Viljoen, Andre Pienaar and in the front Olivia Poonah and Elsabé Ferreira.

Tel: +27 27 216 1530     Fax: +27 27 216 1561     Email: ontvangs@klawerwyn.co.za
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