By winning six gold medals, Orange River Cellars in the Northern Cape was one of the top South African performers at this year’s China Wine Awards, the only wine competition which judges wines specifically for the Chinese market. Orange River Cellars won gold medals for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Red, Pinotage, Ruby Cabernet and Shiraz – all from the 2011 vintage – as well as for its Lyra 2009, a Bordeaux-style blend.
Over 2000 wines from 35 countries were entered for this year’s China Wine Awards, with Orange River Cellars accounting for six of South Africa’s gold medal tally of 37.
“With the growing importance of the Chinese wine market, this is one of the most important competitions for anyone wishing to sell wine to China,” says Koos Visser, marketing manager for Orange River Cellars.
“Taken as a combined market, Hong Kong and China drank 1.8 billion bottles of wine in 2011, growing 33% on the previous year. This growth shows no sign of abating. So receiving six gold medals at a competition judged specifically with the unique Chinese consumer in mind, this is a tremendous achievement for Orange River Cellars and should further help in establishing this region as one of South Africa’s most exciting wine areas.”
Visser, who has visited China to gain experience of the market, says the Chinese show a preference for fruit-driven wines. “The food is diverse and prepared to varying degrees of spiciness,” he says. “A wine must therefore be able to complement a wide variety of foods as the Chinese do not eat one or two courses, but love a spectrum of flavours. Soft, fruity wines are preferred. And with Orange River Cellar specializing in easy-drinking, fruit-forward wines, we appear to be able to offer what these consumers look for in a wine.”
Orange River Cellars’ success at the China Wine Awards follows two other major achievements this year, namely that of a trophy at this year’s National Young Wine Show as well as being named South Africa’s Best Value Winery.