Cape Town, South Africa – South African flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), announced the winners of its annual wine selection process at a prestigious banquet in Cape Town. The wine awards banquet is the culmination of SAA’s rigorous selection process which started in August.
For the 2015 SAA Wine Selection year, more than 800 wines were submitted by South African wine producers. A panel of the most distinguished, independent, local and international judges assessed the wines over a period of three days of blind tasting sessions.
“South Africa is ubiquitously known for its quality and diverse wine offering. It is not hard to imagine how challenging it was to arrive at naming the winning wines to be served to our esteemed passengers on-board SAA flights, marking the 29th anniversary of selecting the best-of-the-best wines for the airline. As SAA, we would like to congratulate and recognise the winners for their efforts and for the amazing quality of wines submitted,” says Bongi Sodladla, SAA Senior Food and Beverage Manager and Sommelier, who led the process.
The following entries received trophies for having the highest score across the board from all 11 judges:
White Wine of the Year
Winery: Alvi's Drift Wines International
Wine Description: Alvi's Drift Chardonnay 2013
Red Wine of the Year
Winery: Hartenberg Farm
Wine Description: Hartenberg Shiraz 2010
Methode Cap Classic of the Year
Winery: KWV SA
Wine Description: Laborie MCC Blanc de Blanc 2010
Port of the Year
Winery: Boplaas Landgoed
Wine Description: Boplaas Cape Tawny Vintner Show Reserve N/V
Chief Executive Officer Award: De Wetshof Estate Trust
Chairperson's Award: Joy Wines
The judges for this year’s awards were:
Bongi Sodladla is SAA’s Group Sommelier and Global Food and Beverage Manager. She coordinates the SAA Wine Selection and Wine Awards for the airline and is a full-time member of the tasting panel. She graduated as the first black woman sommelier in 2010 through the Cape Wine Academy, and has since completed the Wine Evaluation Course run by Stellenbosch University’s Department of Viticulture and Oenology. She is also a tasting panel member for other wine competitions; for example, the Veritas Awards.
Sandra Lotz has been the manager of Shiraz since 2008, and was previously CEO of Paarl Vintners for 12 years. She serves on the Wine and Spirit Board’s Paarl tasting panel and, in addition to SAA, also tastes for various wine competitions, such as SA Young Wines and the Veritas Awards.
Danielle le Roux graduated with a BSc in Viticulture & Oenology from the University of Stellenbosch. Thereafter, she set off to explore some of the world’s main wine regions, working vintages at Chateau de la Colline (France); Verité (California) and Terreno (Italy). She graduated as a Cape Wine Master in 2009, and serves on the tasting panels for Veritas, SA Young Wine Show and the Wine and Spirit Board. She contributes to WineLand’s tasting column, and is a qualified Pinotage judge.
Tatiana Marcetteau was born in the heart of the French wine region, Bordeaux. She is the Food and Beverages Manager and Sommelier at the Taj in Cape Town and has tasted on SAA in previous years.
Miguel Chan hails from Mauritius and is Group Sommelier for Southern Sun hotels, with overall responsibility for the group’s beverage and food standards. Miguel represented South Africa in 2007 at the Inaugural Concours International des Jeunes Sommeliers in Frankfort, where he reached the finals. He has been a taster for Platter’s South African Wine Guide, Old Mutual Wine Trophy and other competitions.
Gregory Mutambe is a sommelier at Azure Restaurant, at Twelve Apostles. His passion for food and wine is aptly demonstrated in the restaurant’s extensive wine list. He tastes for other competitions, among them the Best Value Wine guide and Platter’s South African Wine Guide.
Andrea Freeborough is Cellarmaster at Die Bergkelder. She is committed to ensuring that the successful winemaking team produces outstanding wines for both the premier Fleur du Cap Unfiltered and Bergkelder Selection tiers. In 2010, Andrea earned the title of South African Woman Winemaker of the Year, just one of the accolades that she has received during her tenure at Die Bergkelder.
John Salvi is an English Master of Wine who has lived for the last 35 years in Bordeaux. The title of Master of Wine is the highest internationally recognised accolade for depth and breadth of wine knowledge. He is also an oenologist who studied under the famous Professor Peynaud at Bordeaux University.
Petronella Salvi is South African by birth, French by residence. She is the managing director of Vino Fino Wine in Style. She has participated in a variety of prestigious wine-tasting competitions; for example, the Swiss International Wine Awards, the Michelangelo Awards and many others. She is also the member of Circle of Wine writers in the United Kingdom.
Lyn Woodward works as a freelance food stylist, editor and wine commentator. In addition, to having worked at The Cape Wine Academy for seven years, Lyn has completed all of its wine courses—she achieved Cape Wine Master status in 2010.
Nomonde Kubheka is Soweto-born but now a proud Capetonian who obtained her BSc Agriculture degree in Viticulture & Oenology from the University of Stellenbosch. A former winemaker at KWV, Nomonde now works as a freelance facilitator for the Pinotage Youth Development Academy, which is based in Stellenbosch. She has tasted for other wine competitions, among them Diners Club Winemaker/Young Winemaker of the Year.
The logistical process of the tasting is coordinated by Bennie Howard, well-known Cape Wine Master.
About South African Airways
South African Airways is a Star Alliance member that offers flights to 38 destinations worldwide. Domestically, SAA operates 544 flights a week between Johannesburg – Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth. Regionally, SAA offers 24 destinations across the African continent and its international network creates links to all major continents from South Africa through 10 direct routes. In the regional category, SAA has received the Skytrax ‘Best Airline in Africa’ Award for 11 consecutive years.