SA wine writers competition 2021 results announced
The organiser of the new format SA Wine Writer of the Year Competition, the SA National Wine Show Association (SANWSA), has announced this year’s results, stating that while the general standard of entries reflected the current challenging times in the wine Industry, the competition is a shining light for the future of SA wine.
At a time when so many institutions and events are under pressure or even on the wane, nine years along the line the organisation is still on track to encourage and identify new wine writers and develop new avenues for both their exposure and expression.
Dr Neil Pendock, a member of the judging panel and prominent South African wine blogger, writer and judge, said, “For South Africans to write about SA wine is important, for if we (wine writers) don’t tell the story, who will? Reaching out to next generation wine writers would be a good investment for the industry. The wine writer is part of the communication chain connecting farmer to consumer, a chain as strong as its weakest link.”
In addition to the article and blog writing categories, the competition this year for the first time included Instagram to the list of items for entry.
The judges decided that the best article was written by Ines de Sousa, who received R2 500 in prize money for the best article entry, titled “Farming according to moon cycles – science or science fiction?”
On the prescribed subject – Working with the elements (fire, air, water, soil) in the wine world – and referring largely to biodynamic farming, De Sousa concluded as follows: “Using the elements in the vineyard and in astrology appears harmless if not extremely successful in giving back to nature without compromising on quality.”
Speaking fluent English and Portuguese, De Sousa resides in Somerset-West and is a third year student in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch. She has worked in wine tasting presentation at various local wineries. She is currently overseas and will be presented with her certificate in Paarl on her return early next year.
The judges expressed the view that the entries for blogs and Instagram did not meet the standards required and generally lacked substance, accuracy and attention to detail. No overall winner was thus announced, as the score of two divisions had to be totalled to determine the main prize.
The judging panel for the ninth annual round of the competition (previously the SA Young Wine Writers Competition) comprised seasoned South African wine journalists Wanda Augustyn, Cassie du Plessis, Danie Keet, Fiona McDonald and Neil Pendock.
Wanda Augustyn, editor of WineLand Media says, “WineLand started off as a platform to the wine industry to inform and educate. More recently we’ve shone a spotlight on young talented professionals in the wine industry in our 30 under 30 challenge to help path their way to excellence. Now we want to find new voices to join the more familiar ones, to give new writers and communicators a change to provide their own distinctive take on the world of wine.”
The organisers announced that with positive feedback and support from the schools of journalism of the University of Stellenbosch and Cape Peninsula University of Technology a writing school pertaining to the competition will be held in the second quarter of the year to encourage more new wine writers to enter for the competition next year.
The chairperson of the SANWSA, Christo Pienaar, has emphasised the value and importance of the competition. “We believe that we must create a platform for new wine writers to discuss the country’s wines, and we want to encourage young wine writers to convey authority on South African wine and to spread the positive message of our quality wines.”