Competitions In General

28 Oct

The value of entering wine competitions, of which there are too many in South Africa, is becoming questionable. It has surely served Kanonkop well in the past but do we as an industry need to take a fresh look at what value there is to be had?

For us as producers to “host” some 25 competitions annually just doesn’t make business sense. Whilst one cannot wish away the entrepreneurial spirit of the people and sponsors behind these competitions our industry financially just cannot afford it. Participation costs are exorbitant and the poor consumer is drowned in a plethora of trophies and medals. It is uncommon today to find wine bottles on a shelf looking like Christmas trees did in my youth. Some time ago a colleague jokingly said if he struggles to sell a batch of wine he goes to the nearest printer, quickly develop a few shining gold and platinum stickers………………and the problem is solved.

Another issue at stake: Whilst I am generalizing somewhat, a producer is either terrior driven or market driven. Pending your approach the variables in terms of viticulture and viniculture practices become immense. Neither terroir nor a market driven approach reflects in any competition results. It’s either good or bad. And then, also at the cost of the producer, we have to import foreign judges to tell us what is good or not. Surely the producer’s strategy should reflect in his wine which should basically be market or alternatively terroir driven. For foreign judges to tell us how we should produce Pinotage? If the United Kingdom consumers love coffee Pinotage surely give it to them. But don’t tell us this is a good Sauvignon Blanc or not, if you have no idea of the immense diversity we have and which is what we should surely build our future on.

And then I have not even touched on the inconsistencies of and discrepancies between the results of all the various competitions.

Time to rationalize!

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