The Paarl Wine Challenge

This year winemakers and producers can look forward to a new format for the well-establishedPaarl Wine Challenge. Currently in its sixteenth year, the challenge has become a premium showcase of wines produced or vinified in Paarl.  

Going forward, the annual challenge will only feature two categories, namely a varietal specific red and white. The inaugural new format challenge will be open to Cabernet Sauvignon (wooded or unwooded) and Chardonnay (wooded or unwooded) with the varietals for the next five years already selected.  In 2016 the spotlight will fall on Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, while 2017 will feature Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc.  In 2018, it will be the turn for Merlot and White Blends, while 2019 Red Blends and Viognier battling it out.

Other than previous years, the Paarl Wine Challenge will be limited to Paarl Wine of Origin Wines and will also exclude previous winners. Any vintage may be submitted, but all wines entered should have been vinified in a cellar within the boundaries of the Paarl Wine Route.

According to Stephen Richardson, Chairman of the Paarl Wine Route, the Paarl Wine Challenge was originally started to encourage healthy competition amongst wine producers in the region and to provide a much needed marketing platform. 

“Paarl region is definitely building its reputation for exceptional quality wines and outstanding performances by its winemakers.   It is particularly rewarding to see Paarl wines featuring strongly across the board at competitions and challenges such as the SA Young Wine Show, Michelangelo Wine Awards as well as the International Wine and Spirits Challenge,” explains Richardson.

The official tasting will be conducted by an esteemed judging panel chaired by Dave Hughes. Other members of the panel include Nina-Marie Bruwer of the Cape Wine Academy, wine journalist Samarie Smith, sommelier Georgio Meletiou, Mark Norrish of Ultra Liquors representing the retail industry, Johan Jordaan of the Cabernet Sauvignon Interest Group and Izele van Blerk representing the Chardonnay Interest Group.  The official tasting will take place on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 at Nederburg wine estate with the Top Ten entries in each category to be announced at the awards dinner on Thursday, 20 August.  

Winning wines will be marketed as Paarl Wine Challenge Top Ten Wines per category. The top red and top white will receive trophies, while the Top Ten 2015 in each category will be offered Paarl Wine Challenge Top 10 stickers sponsored by Collotype labels.  These wines will also be presented during  the Paarl Showcase in October.  

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