Shiraz Wine Challenge
The jury has not yet decided
Shiraz Day is celebrated in South Africa in August. To celebrate this day, the jury members of the «Shiraz Wine Challenge 2022» meet in South Africa. This is an organised event by Shiraz SA, which is the official association and mouthpiece for all producers and lovers of South African Shiraz.
The organisation’s mission is to create awareness of the outstanding and award-winning wines produced in South Africa from this noble grape variety. At Shiraz Wine Challenge 2022, they will find the best Shiraz from South Africa. Like last year, 12 local Shiraz wines, 3 Shiraz blends and 1 Shiraz rosé wine will be chosen as winners.
Producers submitted their wines at the beginning of July. From 19 to 22 July, the judges Charles Hopkins, Cathy van Zyl, Higgo Jacobs, Riaan Möller and Frans Smit will taste all the wines submitted for this tenth edition. The result will be announced on 17 August.
Who are the jury members? Find out more about the experts now.
Charles Hopkins has been involved in winemaking at the Durbanville winery since 2005. He is also a lifelong student of wine. Even after 30 years of experience in the wine industry and numerous local and international awards, he remains curious to learn more about his winemaking journey.
In November 2019, he reached a significant milestone with his first five-star rating award in Platter’s South African Wine Guide for De Grendel’s 2017 Elim Shiraz. A wine that is particularly close to his heart.
Charles has served the industry as a board member of the Cape Winemakers’ Guild and various producer associations such as the Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage Associations. His wines have received gold and double gold awards and 95 and above points in local and international competitions and wine ratings.
Cathy van Zyl
A graduate of the University of Witwatersrand, Cathy’s first «real» job was writing press releases for banks, investment funds and accounting firms.
Her wine journey began on a bicycle when she asked her husband to ride the famous Argus Cycle Tour; he agreed, but the quid pro quo was that she attend a wine course with him. Since then, she has done more than 21 cycle tours and is the first South African woman to pass the Master of Wine exam while living at the top of Africa.
Cathy judges locally and internationally and is a former chair of the Institute of Masters of Wine’s Education Committee and currently a member of the Council, writes occasionally for wine magazines and websites around the world but spends most of her time as co-editor of Platter’s South African Wine Guide.
Higgo Jacobs is a Golden Vines Awards Ambassador for South Africa and is certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Higgo’s experience in the wine industry spans more than 25 years.
He is a founding member and past chairman of the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) and a Director of the Constitution of ASI (Association de la Sommellerie Internationale), the international regulatory body for the sommelier profession.
In 2019, he partnered with South Africa’s most prestigious auction house, Strauss & Co and wine merchant Wine Cellar to launch the Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions. An experienced competition judge, Higgo is a senior judge at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) and the Decanter World Wine Awards.
«Respect what the Redeberg gives you» is the mantra of Spier cellarmaster Frans Smit. This passionate commitment to creating wines that authentically and vividly express their terroir has earned Frans an impressive list of awards at home and abroad.
Under his leadership, the Spier team received six double and nine golds at the 2017 Veritas Awards, with the 2015 Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc winning the inaugural Veritas Vertex Award. The following year, Spier was named South African Producer of the Year 2018 at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, with the Spier 21 Gables Sauvignon Blanc 2017 winning the Sauvignon Blanc Trophy and the Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2016 winning the Chenin Blanc Trophy.
Riaan Möller grew up in the Cape Winelands, surrounded by Redeberg. After high school, he left South Africa and worked and travelled through Europe for three years. Upon his return, he started working as a cellar master in various wine cellars and eventually worked his way up to the winemaker. In 2002, he decided to learn more about the intricacies of winemaking and joined the oenology programme at Elsenburg College in Stellenbosch, graduating in 2006. Riaan has a wealth of experience ranging from a small boutique to large wineries: Slaley, Kleine Zalze, Ernie Els, Buena Vista Winery in California, Spier and most recently at Perdeberg Winery before joining MAN Family Wines as Head Winemaker.
Riaan is Vice President of Shiraz SA Organisation
If you want to see the last edition of these awards, don’t miss the 2021 Gala.