Ricochet News

Top wine estates showcase Cape Vintner Classification site-specific wines

May 17, 2018
Top wine estates showcase Cape Vintner Classification site-specific wines

More than 50 of South Africa's most outstanding site-specific wines were enjoyed at a function held at the magnificent hilltop Vergelegen cellar recently in Somerset West. Guests included leading wine producers, wine makers and wine writers.

This exceptional tasting was the fruition of several years of hard work and collaboration by the Cape's top wine producers. They have established an independent association to build South Africa's reputation as a producer of world-class wines and to promote the Cape's distinctive site-specific wines. Known as the Cape Vintner Classification (CVC), it currently has 22 members and an additional eight are in the process of accreditation.

Welcoming the guests, CVC chairman Neil Ellis said that the organisation aims to ensure that quality Cape wines are recognised alongside the best in the world. "We have developed a system for both vintners and wines which will allow for the accreditation, governance and promotion of distinctive Cape site-specific wines and assure customers of the integrity of CVC members."

The organisation operates within the structures of the Wine of Origin scheme (which confirms that grapes from which a wine is made come from a specific area). All CVC members meet its criteria for ownership of vineyards, or management of vineyards through registered, long term leases. CVC members are also subject to independent audits to ensure they adhere to four association cornerstones. These are based on robust technical and environmental criteria, cellar door facilities, ethics and wine quality.

The exceptional wines tasted at the CVC event represented less than 5% of the vineyard area of members, by volume. Their selection followed a rigorous process, under the guidance of Mr Ellis, in which CVC members submitted their wines for blind tastings by independent judging panels.

"With the overarching objective of establishing South Africa as a leading producer of world-class wines and promoting the Cape's site-specific wines, a key factor is the CVC's ability to identify and accredit wines which clearly reflect quality, consistency and sense of place," said Mr Ellis.

The Wine and Spirit Board has authorised the CVC to accredit wines that meet these standards as site- or sites-specific wines.

Wine writer Michael Fridjhon compared the CVC showcase to creating art: "Some people create works of art in mixed media, others in one single medium such as marble or oil. With this CVC selection, it is a restricted medium and the best expression of it."

At a lunch following the tasting, Mr Ellis said: "To achieve our goal, for the next 10 years we will need patience and persistence. This kind of winemaking needs hard work, perseverance, self-denial, dedication, discipline and respect for authority. There is an African saying that if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

He emphasised that the organisation was welcoming and based on people and passion. "We need to embrace our rock stars, there are many producers doing wonderful things," he said. To find out more about the CVC: www.cvc1659.co.za

Images: Photographer Andrew Brown, supplied by Vergelegen.

Main image: Left to right, Vergelegen MD Don Tooth, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde, and CVC chairperson Neil Ellis.

Above: (left to right) Wine writer Michael Fridjhon and Danie de Wet, owner of De Wetshof.

Above: (Left to right) Roland Peens (Wine Cellar Director), Olivia Poonah (Wine & Spirit Board Secretary), Mark le Roux (Waterford winemaker) and wine icon Duimpie Bayly.

Above: (Left to right) Katherine Miller (Wine of the Month Club Marketing Manager), Prosper Gundura (Goodfellows Sales) and Natalie van Almenkerk, owner/director Almenkerk wine estate.