The Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show is South Africa’s premier wine competition that recognises the top local wines and winemakers, and honours excellence in the wine industry.
Old Mutual, headline sponsor of the competition since its inception, sees great value in a process which identifies the country’s top wines and makes this information available to the South African wine drinking public. Discernment of future value is a key component of the investment side of Old Mutual’s business, locally and internationally, so the process by which the show’s judges approach the task of sifting through the more than 1000 wines entered annually resonates with the country’s financial services group. Recognising the importance of the rigour which goes into the Show’s judging methodology, Old Mutual takes the top wines on a national roadshow to present them to some 3000 wine enthusiasts in eight cities in Southern Africa.
“Old Mutual is proud of its 15 year affiliation with the country’s top wine competition“, says Karen Thomas, Old Mutual’s Head of Brand. ”The sponsorship is a natural fit for us. Like investments, wines take time to cultivate and develop. What’s more, investing for the long-term, like making world-class wine, requires specialist care and expertise. We are excited to play an important role in discovering talent and highlighting it both locally and on the international stage and we enjoy building relationships with wine lovers all over South Africa. Skills development is an important element of all our sponsorships and we are pleased to also support the development of world-class wine judges through the Wine Judging Academy, run with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.”
Old Mutual’s support of the competition makes it possible for the show’s organisers to assemble the very best international judges to share their views and expertise with the local panelists, and to ensure that international aesthetic criteria form part of the message the competition shares with the industry – both through its results, but also in the feedback session which follows the judging.
The Show’s rules and guidelines are detailed in the entry kit and cover certification requirements, the market-readiness of the wines and the composition of the blends.
The 2016 Show results will be announced at an awards function on 31 May 2016. Results will also be available immediately on the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show App, an innovation introduced in 2015. The app details the results of the show by category, producer and medal. This allows smart-phone users to access the key information needed to optimise their wine-purchasing decisions (at restaurants and wine merchants) for the year ahead.
The judging panel has been chaired by leading wine authority Michael Fridjhon since the inception of the show in 2002. The panel comprises three international judges and six local judges covering a broad range of expertise.
The participation of a team of associate panelists, drawn from the pool of rising South African wine-making, wine marketing and wine-writing talent, ensures that the next generation of the country’s wine judges gains experience in this most rigorous of environments. A different associate judge sat with each panel on each of the medal-judging days of the show. They participate in the tasting and the post-judging discussion, though their scores are not necessarily taken into account in the final tally.
Event partners American Express, Grande Roche Hotel, Nestlé Pure Life, Miele and Riedel enjoy naming rights in respect of some of the trophies. Since the 2010 event, the Chenin Blanc trophy has been named after the late Harold Eedes, who, as publisher of Wine Magazine in the 1990s, played a key role in South Africa’s Chenin Blanc renaissance. In 2012 the Trophy for Best Cape Port was named after the late Tony Mossop CWM.