This is my ninth report on the South African wine scene. I can vividly recall publishing the first one in 2013, slightly nervous as to how it would be received. These days I’m more confident. If you work hard and speak your truth with honesty and integrity, people will read and listen to you. The same work ethic and desire to do the best you can is one of the many things that appeals to me about the current crop of South African winemakers, growers, viticulturists, marketers and industry representatives. They disagree among themselves, but they share a goal: to establish South African wine as the New World’s finest producer.
What South Africa has achieved, not just since 1994, but in the nine years that I have been writing this report is truly remarkable. No other wine industry has made such strides, no other wine industry possesses such energy or excitement. Right now, and in the face of the huge challenges the country faces on many fronts, it’s important not to lose sight of that achievement.
As ever, the report seeks to discover and bring into the light the very best efforts of the country’s inspirational viticulturalists and winemakers. This year it runs to 247 pages, with over 1,200 tasting notes for wines I rate as the very best that this country can produce, along with my ‘podium’ recognising individuals and particular wines worthy in my view of special mention.
Compiling my ninth SA report was a continuation of the same remote judging process I followed in 2020 with the generous help of Wines of South Africa (WOSA) and other industry players, not to mention around 70 Zoom calls with local producers.