STANDARD BANK CHENIN BLANC TOP TEN CHALLENGE OFFERS WINNERS INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE
For the first time in the nine-year history of
the Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top Ten Challenge, a full house
of the winning wines will be showcased to global trade and wine
enthusiasts. This is according to Ken Forrester, chairman of the
Chenin Blanc Association, the organisation that hosts the annual
He has confirmed that the wines will be lined
up for tasting locally at November’s Chenin Blanc Summit, an
international conference expected to draw around 300 producers,
critics, academics and commentators from across the world. The
Cape was chosen as the venue for the global conference as it has
more Chenin under vine than anywhere else in the world combined.
More importantly, local producers have become internationally
acknowledged for their dynamic, innovative approaches to growing
and making Chenin.
The Top Ten Challenge wines, Forrester
said, represented the best of the best in Chenin in South
Africa. As such, they would also be made available for tasting
at a special event on the eve of South Africa’s triennial wine
exhibition CapeWine 2022 in October.
“Coming after a
sustained dearth in large-scale live wine events, spring
promises to be an exciting time for local Chenin producers,
particularly our Top Ten winners. To exhibit their wines to
committed enthusiasts of the grape should surely be a major
motivation to enter. Apart from the obvious trade potential
there’s also the chance to exchange a host of ideas - stylistic,
philosophical, wine-growing and winemaking.”
Entries for the
competition open June 20 and will be accepted until June 30.
Forrester noted that despite the contraction of the national
vineyard to just under 91 000 ha by 2021, Chenin Blanc remained
South Africa’s most planted variety. Its share had risen
slightly to 18,6% of the total. “This suggests that despite the
industry’s uprooting of vines for reasons of drought, lack of
access to water, economic viability or more lucrative use of
land, Chenin continues to dominate because of the enormous
potential it offers. It would also explain why, according to SA
Wine Industry Information & Systems (SAWIS) the highest number
of new plantings in 2021 were of Chenin vines.
“It would be
hard to find another variety as climate-resilient and
stylistically versatile. That close to a third of total Chenin
plantings are already over 20 years’ old is another of its
attributes. Mature vines add depth of flavour and are better
able to cope with climate stress, providing the opportunity to
work with characterful fruit of outstanding quality. We have
already seen how many winemakers sourcing from registered Old
Vines at least 35 years’ old are garnering critical acclaim.
Early studies involving the University of Cape Town Graduate
School of Business are also positing a positive correlation
between vine age and wine price.”
competition awards a cash prize of R25 000 to each of the
producers of the top ten Chenins, to be spent on farm worker
community projects. Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, Stephan
van der Merwe, head of commercial clients at Standard Bank in
the Western Cape, said: “The express intention of the prize
money is to acknowledge the vital role played by farm workers in
making award-winning wines.”
He added that past winners had
used the money mostly for educational initiatives, from early
learning programmes all the way through to tertiary training.
“There are now crèches and after-care facilities for school
children on some farms, thanks to this prize money. Other
winners have created libraries, computer rooms and other
educational resources for learners, workers, and communities.”
To date, a total of R1,85m has been spent to support farm worker
projects. They also include fresh produce cultivation and
housing initiatives to benefit workers and their communities.
CLICK HERE for the Challenge rules and online entries.
Chenin entries should be delivered to Villiera in Stellenbosch.
The winners will be announced at the end of August.
more information email Ina Smith on
1. This year’s judges
are James Pietersen (panel chair), Wine Cellar’s MD and a
regular judge in this and several other leading local wine
competitions; SA Sommeliers’ Association chair Spencer
Foudaumiere; winemaker Boela Gerber, Cape Wine Master of Groot
Constantia; Penny Setti, former sommelier at Chef’s Warehouse
and now owner of Penny Noire wine bar; Malu Lambert, an
award-winning wine writer and contributor to Platter’s South
African Wine Guide and a selection of titles, including
jancisrobinson.com, Decanter and The Buyer. This year’s
associate judge is Shawn Mathyse, junior winemaker at Ken
2. For a sense of the impact each R25
000 prize can make to people’s lives, watch this short video at
3. In the
2022 edition of the Platter’s South African Wine Guide, 27
Chenins were awarded 5-star ratings. This is significantly more
than achieved any other variety.
The Standard Bank/Chenin Blanc Top 10
Challenge 2021 winning wines.