International Wine Challenge

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About International Wine Challenge

The International Wine Challenge (IWC) owned by William Reed Business Media is now in its 35th year. The IWC is accepted as the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competition which assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage Throughout the rigorous judging processes, each medal winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 10 different judges and awards include medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended awards

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The International Wine Challenge Digital Newsroom is a simple and useful resource for you to keep track of all the latest news stories. High resolution images and complete press releases are available to download from here, and you can connect with our various social media profiles easily. Suggestions for improvements are welcome.

Contact Details

Elly Barham-Marsh Helen Kenny
Manifest London
t. +44 (0)203 1379 270

International Wine Challenge

Victorious Vino: South African winemakers impress at International Wine Challenge 2017, producing 288 medal winners

Under embargo until 11am 17.05.17

Standout performance from South African winemakers at 34th International Wine Challenge  

  • 23 Gold medals, 121 Silver and 144 Bronze awarded to wines from the Cape
  • Stellenbosch and Elgin most successful regions for the country, each securing 6 Golds
  • One Gold medal awarded to South African bubbly
  • South African winemakers demonstrated their prowess at the International Wine Challenge 2017, picking up a host of medals, including 23 prestigious Golds. A total of 288 medals were awarded to wines produced in the Cape, including 121 Silver and 144 Bronze, as the country matched its strong performance from 2016.
  •  South African white wines took the lion’s share of the top prizes, with 14 of the Gold medals awarded, including one sparkling and one botrytis entry. Of those winners, South African favourites Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc led the charge, although less widely planted grape varieties, such as Riesling and Grenache Blanc, also earned Gold medals.
  •  South African reds also performed well, with 9 Gold medals across a range of styles. Recognised local varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz scored well, yet one of the biggest surprises of the competition was the success of South African’s Pinot Noirs, with three Golds.

Regional victories

  • Gold medal successes spanned multiple regions including Constantia, the Cape Peninsula, Overberg, Paarl, Tulbagh, Walker Bay and the Western Cape, yet it was Elgin and Stellenbosch which came out on top, each producing 6 Gold medal winners.
  •  Top Elgin winery, Paul Cluver Wines, picked up a trio of Gold medals across a range of less typical South African styles. Its Paul Cluver Seven Flags Pinot Noir 2015 was one of the country’s three Gold medal-winning Pinot Noirs, and it also produced the only Gold medal winning botrytis style white wine with its Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest 2014. Its third Gold was awarded for the Paul Cluver Dry Encounter Riesling 2015.
  •  Fellow Elgin producer DGB received a pair of Gold medals across red and white styles, with its Boschendal Elgin Chardonnay 2015 and its Boschendal Elgin Pinot Noir 2015 scoring highly. The Neil Ellis Whitehall Chardonnay 2015 picked up the final Gold for the region.
  •  Over in Stellenbosch, producers had success with South African favourites Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Top Chardonnay entries were Rustenberg Five Soldiers Chardonnay 2015 and DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2016, both of which won Gold medals. DeMorgenzon was awarded a further Gold medal for its Demorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2016 and Stellenrust Old BushVine Chenin Blanc 2015 earned a further Gold with the Cape’s signature white variety. Neil Ellis Wines and Origin Wine both received Gold medals for Cabernet Sauvignon entries; Neil Ellis Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 and Grand Vin de Stellenbosch Cabernet/Merlot 2015 respectively.
  •  Typically known for its still wines, there was a single Gold medal awarded to a South African sparkling wine produced in the Western Cape. The Babylonstoren Sprankel 2011 proved popular with the judges, earning itself a Gold medal.

Tim Atkin MW, Co-Chairman of the IWC, commented:

“We’ve seen fantastic examples from all over South Africa this year, but it was producers from the cool region of Elgin, and more historic Stellenbosch that stole the show this year. These producers excelled across a range of styles, showcasing the diversity the country has to offer. One of the most fantastic things about South African wines is that it is often very reasonably priced. So anyone can enjoy an IWC medal-winner from the Cape!”

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