New Cape Winemakers Guild selection criteria to boost creativity and diversity of Auction wines

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The selection criteria of wines for the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction have been revised to boost creativity and achieve greater diversity of wines crafted exclusively for this Auction.

In terms of the new criteria adopted by the Guild this year, the final selection of the auction line-up will no longer be at the behest of tasting panels alone, but all 43 members will be able to have a wine on auction, provided it is free of technical defects and meets the highest standards of wine health measurement.

"We look forward to creating the most exciting and varied selection of fine wines available on auction by harnessing the exceptional talent of every one of our members to raise the quality and international ranking of South African wines," says Guild Chairman Louis Strydom, who believes the new selection criteria will encourage members to be bold and to experiment in terms of terroir, cultivar and wine styles.

All wines will still be subjected to tastings by Guild members and chemical and microbiological analysis to ensure they meet the Guild's high standards; but contrary to previous Auctions, the final decision now lies with the Guild member submitting the wine.

"As the Guild is a dynamic, growing organisation with tough admission criteria, based largely on experience, recognition by their peers and awards achieved in leading wine competitions, every member is more than capable of producing outstanding wines," added Strydom, who believes the new criteria will unlock the creative potential of every Guild member who can now have a wine on Auction every year and feel free to push the envelope and pursue more unusual styles.

The Guild's management committee introduced these changes after it appeared that the Auction wine selection process had the unintended consequence of encouraging the production of wines that would please the tasting panel and therefore created an averaging effect to the detriment of more unique and unusual styles.

"Winemakers were more inclined to submit very good, but safe wines in order to secure selection in blind tastings, but this inevitably led to a narrowing down of the stylistic qualities of our Auction wines," said Strydom.

The Guild is committed to raising the bar by encouraging the best expression of the diverse terroirs and believes that this can only be achieved if its members encourage one another to engage in creative experimentation that will ultimately improve the standards and distinctiveness of South African wines.

Recognised as South Africa's leading auction of rare wines open to the liquor and restaurant trade as well as the general public, the Guild Auction will remain unique in offering small quantities of wine, specially crafted to showcase the potential of South African wines to the trade and private buyer.

The 27th Nedbank CWG Auction will be held at the Spier Conference Centre in the Stellenbosch Winelands on Saturday, 1 October 2011.

Wine enthusiasts will be able taste the 2011 Auction lineup at Auction Showcases in Cape Town on Thursday, 11 August, and Johannesburg on Thursday, 1 September. With the shift in focus to more unique offerings, pre-auction tastings are more important than ever for potential bidders to identify the rare and unusual that please their palates prior to the auction.

For further details and to attend the Auction tastings, visit or contact the Guild Office on Phone: 021 852-0408 or

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