Blood sucking vampires or a valuable marketing resource?

With the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show and Top 100 SA Wines washing their dirty laundry in public, producers must be enjoying this behind the scenes glimpse of the show industry which makes orders of magnitude more money for show owners than making wine does for them. It is not a pretty sight.


While Trophy accuses Top of plagiarism, what is amazing is the overlap of judges between the events. Top panel chairman Tim Atkin has done time as a Trophy judge as has Sam Harrop while Cathy van Zyl was a Trophy judge last year and is a Top this year. All three are MWs, part of a gang who seem to operate like bounty hunters in the Wild West. Although after displaying an impressive negative correlation of -0.77 with Trophy owner Michael Fridjhon earlier this year at the controversial Chenin Challenge, she must be a doubtful starter for Trophy judge this year.

Of course consistency is of little import to SA wine show judges as Trophy Christian Eedes will confirm when he dished out a measly two Platter stars to a Mischa Merlot that the Michelangelo International Wine Awards lauded double gold. But then Mischa was tasted sighted for Platter.

I hear that when the Mischa 2008 Shiraz was tasted blind at the Wine Cellar in Observatory last week, assembled pundits couldn’t tell it apart from the Rhône blends of M. Chapoutier. What a difference a view of a label makes!

But at the end of the day, SA wine gets the competitions its deserves and big name winemakers have been conspicuously silent thus far. With the honorable exception of a leading Paarl winemaker who won’t be entering Tops after comment on the show was dismissed as “Beano comic antics” in a passionate e-mail to producers.