Raise a glass to South Africa`s Top Organic Wines

More and more people are sampling organic wines, which have come a long way in quality and acceptance. This is great news for the planet, since grapes are among the most pesticide-laden produce.

The good news is that organic wines are becoming much more widely available. South African wine farmers are looking increasingly to organic cultivation and sustainability and their commitment to greener wine production and sustainable farming practices are recognized and celebrated at the Nedbank Green Wine Awards 2013.

This year’s winners were announced on 17 October at Moyo restaurant, situated in the 100-year-old Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town.

Laibach Woolworths Merlot 2012 took top honours as the Best Wine Overall in the Made from Organically Grown Grapes category, while Paul Cluver Gewürztraminer 2012 scooped the Best Biodiversity and Wine Initiative Wine Overall. Delheim in Stellenbosch was the Best Farming Practices Overall Winner, with La Motte named runner-up and a category winner in its own right.

green winners Raise a glass to South Africa`s Top Organic Wines

(from left to right) – Dr Paul Cluver (Paul Cluver wines), Ian Dinan (Getaway), Francois Van Zyl (Laibach), Greg Garden (Nedbank)

Greg Garden, group brand executive at Nedbank, says: “As SA’s green and caring bank, our involvement in the awards is an important component in our overall integrated sustainability commitment. A commitment that, in the past two decades, has seen Nedbank making a significant contribution to the preservation and protection of our environment through initiatives like The Nedbank Green Affinity Programme which, since the establishment of the WWF Nedbank Green Trust in 1990, has provided financial support of approximately R150 million to nearly 200 conservation projects across the country”.

It is through the Green Trust that conservation projects such as the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) continue to make a mark towards transforming the sector.

133 Wines were entered into this year’s competition. The Green Wines were judged in two categories – the Best Wines made from Organically Grown Grapes (this included biodynamic wines), and the Best wines certified under the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative. All the wines were judge blindly.

Judges in the Best Farming Practices category looked at not only what goes into the bottle, but considered the well-being of farm employees and surrounding communities and the wider impact of farming on the surrounding environments. The Best Farming Practices sub-categories were broadened in 2013 to identify wineries showing excellence in sustainable tourism and community development.

green 2 Raise a glass to South Africa`s Top Organic Wines

(from left to right) – Daniël Scheitakat (IPW), Victor Sperling (Delheim), Nora Sperling (Delheim), Duimpie Bayly, Ian Dinan (Getaway)

Quality was key at this year’s judging. Diners might order the first bottle because of the organic novelty value, but the second bottle is sent for because they enjoyed drinking the first.

After tasting through this year’s Nedbank Green Awards winners it save to say that the quality mission was accomplished.

It’s time we all start drinking with a conscience! Be on the look out for wines that display their Green credentials on bottle stickers.

List of 2013 Nedbank Green Awards winners:

Best wines made from Organically Grown Grapes

Best Wine Overall – Laibach Woolworths Merlot 2012
Best Red – Laibach Woolworths Merlot 2012
Best White – Waverley Hills Viognier Semillon Chardonnay 2011
Bloggers’ Choice – Waverley Hills Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier 2010
Best Value – Org de Rac Unwooded Chardonnay 2013

Best Biodiversity and Wine Initiative Wines

Best Wine Overall – Paul Cluver Gewürztraminer 2012
Best Red – Uitkyk Estate Carlonet 2009
Best White – Paul Cluver Gewürztraminer 2012
Bloggers’ Choice – Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2011
Best Value – Backsberg Tread Lightly Chenin Blanc 2012

*Best Farming Practises Winners

Overall Winner – Delheim
Runner-up – La Motte
Best Contribution to Conservation – Delheim
Best Contribution to Farming Practices and Production Integrity – Bartinney
Best (Sustainable) Contribution to Tourism – La Motte
Best Contribution to Community Development – Delheim

The full results and a competition overview is available in South Africa’s Green Wine Guide 2013, bagged free with the November issue of Getaway, which is on sale from 21 October. Results are also available at www.greenwineawards.com.

Wine enthusiasts will be able to taste a sample of the winning wines from the 2013 Nedbank Green Wine Awards in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban in November. More information on these tasting events can be found at www.greenwineawards.com/tasting-events.