The South African Young Wine Show is hosted and presented annually by the South African National Wine Show Association (SANWSA) and gives winemakers the opportunity to showcase their best wines of their current vintage, still at the development stage.

The South African Young Wine Show, one of the oldest wine shows in the world, (the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere) was started by the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society back in 1833. There are eight participating wine regions and they include Robertson, Worcester / Breed Kloof, Stellenbosch, Paarl / Wellington, Orange-Vaal, Oliphant’s River, Swartland and Little Karoo, however individual entries from outside these regions are also welcomed.

Champions are crowned in a variety of categories, but in addition to the 17 SA Championship trophies, the highly regarded General Smuts Trophy
(introduced in 1952) for the overall SA Champion Young Wine and the Pietman Hugo Trophy, for the cellar with the highest score for five best entries, are also at stake.

Wellington Wines proudly won four trophies this year. They include the HJF Bairnsfather Trophy for the Champion Cinsault, the Paul Sauer Trophy for the Class winner Pinotage (wooded), the esteemed Dr A. I. Perold Trophy for the South African Champion Pinotage as well as the coveted General Smuts Trophy for the South African Champion Wine (also awarded for their Pinotage).

Although these wines are not bottled yet, wine lovers can begin to see their release between April and June 2019. The Pinotage is likely to be bottled and labelled under the La Cave brand, after spending a total of 17 months maturing in oak barrels. The maturation process in oak vats contributes to its extensive complexity in terms of both aroma and taste.

“I am very excited about keeping track of the development of this wine over the next few months” says Francois van Niekerk (Wellington Wines Production Manager) Wellington Wines also won the South African Champion Pinotage in 2017 – clearly identifying Wellington Wines as a Pinotage giant in the making.

When asked what they would attribute this enormous Pinotage-potential to, Francois says “First of all, Wellington is a region that is extremely well-suited for the cultivation of high quality Pinotage grapes. Our rich decomposed granite soils and idyllic micro-climates play a major role. Secondly, I think our entire team drives a like-minded passion for what we do, and with that comes the right amount of attention to detail”.

The Pinotage stemming from the Wellington Wine region has not been labelled as “unique” without worthy grounds to prove it, since more and more feedback from consumers world-wide indicate very well-rounded, fruity and well- balanced characteristics, and in so doing, keeping the style of this wine to its original reputation.

Furthermore, Wellington Wines are upfront about attributing the success of their achievements to their entire team. Starting in the vineyard on Johan Steyn’s farm, Watervlei just outside Wellington and ending with the person who hands a bottle to a guest in the tasting room or pours a glass in a restaurant.

The Duke (a new label recently launched by Wellington Wines) portrays a slightly lighter style of Pinotage yet retaining the emphasis on fruit and a lingering finish, has also already achieved a finalist position in the Top 20 – indicating that there is plenty of potential there too. The La Cave 2017 is still young, however once developed over the next few years will again enrol for the Pinotage Absa top 10 challenge. The Cape Blend is another example of how Wellington Wines have incorporated their Pinotage to create a more diverse yet predominantly Pinotage driven blend.

Earlier this year, Wellington Wines also released a White Pinotage, which may still be considered somewhat foreign territory to most red-wine palates, but since Pinotage is generally used to prepare extremely good Blanc de Noir and Rosé wines, this Pinotage could well be compared to the likes of a Blanc De Noir with just less colour.

The variety of Wellington Wines Pinotage and Pinotage-blend wines – as mentioned in this article are available directly from the Wellington Wines Bovlei Cellar at the base of Bains Kloof Pass in Wellington and can also be ordered directly via email. (

Author, Rene Reece, Digital DNA

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