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Judges

Judging is performed by a panel of experts who are regularly exposed to all the wines from our districts.

The experienced panel initially taste blind to test quality and then rank entrants in the finals where the regional winners compete. The judging is done at Elsenburg Agricultural College and is led by Charl Theron.

“Because it’s all about terroir, the wines are judged according to quality combined with distinctive characteristics created by the soil and climate in the specific area. It was clear that the winemakers did a lot of work with these wines to portray their origin without sacrificing quality. Only the terrain and a dedicated viticulturist and winemaker can produce these results,” Charl Theron

Charl Theron: Technical Coordinator
Lecturer US Tasting Course; part time tutor US Oenology. Regular judge on various panels, including Wine and Spirit Board. First local presenter of accredited course in wine evaluation on the internet, on behalf of the University of Stellenbosch.

2014 panel of judges comprises of seven qualified local experts:

David Biggs

David Biggs

Wine writer, author of 14 wine and cocktail related books,has been a judge for every annual Veritas Awards Competition since its inception. A qualified wine judge, he also serves on the panel of the annual Muscadel Competition and is a founder member of the Wine of the Month Club tasting panel. He has written more than a dozen wine and drinks related books, several of which have been translated in other languages, including Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Swedish. He was presented with a scroll of honour by the Cape Wine and Spirit Education Trust in 2001 for "An exceptional contribution to Wine and Spirit Education." In 2011 David was named a "Living Legend" in the wine industry and presented with a scroll of honour signed by Helen Zille, then executive mayor of Cape Town. He enjoys cooking, painting and playing the piano accordion, all of which he does rather badly.

Duimpie Bayly

Duimpie Bayly studied B.Sc at the University of Stellenbosch, MS at the University of California and PMD at the Harvard Business School, and was one of South Africa's first Masters of Wine. He was employed by the then Stellenbosch Farmers Winery in 1962 and retired as Operations Director of the same company in 1995. He has been involved as President or Chairman in the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society (Agri-Expo), the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative and the South African National Wine Show Association. Today he is Chairman of the Technical Committee and Demarcation Committee of the Wine & Spirit Board and Honorary Life President of SA Society of Enology & Viticulture. He also serves on the Management and Executive Committee of the Pinotage Association.
He has received the following awards: SASEV. Merit Award in 1986; SASEV. Honorary Life President 1994; K.W.V. Wine Man of the Year 1999 and Guild Member SA Brandy Foundation 2005.
 

Karen Glanfield

Karen Glanfield

Karen has been working in the wine industry for ten years spreading her time between Wine Specialist Tour Guide, lecturing, writing, hosting private tasting events and most recently re-launching UnWined Wine Appreciation Courses. She completed her Diploma 1 and 2 though Cape Wine Academy and passed the Stellenbosch Judging Course run by Charl Theron, as well as the Wine Tasting Academy run by Michael Fridjhon. She has sat on various judging panels over the past four years including the Perold Absa Cape Blends Competition, SA Young Wine including the Trophy panel, various Classic Wine panels and was invited to take part in Veritas in 2013.

Andrea Freeborough

Andrea Freeborough is cellarmaster at Die Bergkelder. She has a degree in Viticulture and Oenology and two honours degrees - one in Viticulture and one in Oenology - from the University of Stellenbosch. Since 2005, Andrea – a former winemaker of white wines at Nederburg with a string of awards in tow – has been in charge of the entire working operation of Die Bergkelder. Her day to day responsibilities in the cellar range from co-ordinating wine production, personnel management, development and implementation of business plans to managing budgets. In 2010, Andrea earned the title of South African Woman Winemaker of the Year, one of the many highlights and accolades during her tenor at Die Bergkelder.

 

Neil Ellis

Well known winemaker, wine producer and wine entrepreneur, who has also served on many tasting panels for many years. Neil launched his career in the corporate environment (with KWV, then South Africa’s biggest wine co-operative) before taking up residency at the historic Groot Constantia Estate. Neil then migrated to Zevenwacht, rapidly putting that newly-built cellar on the wine-map. Invariably thought of as an individualist, he started producing wine in 1986 under the Neil Ellis label. In 1993 Neil Ellis and Hans Schroder pooled their talents in a joint venture which has gone from strength to strength. He has been the panel chairman of various categories at the judging of the Veritas Wine Awards and has also served on panels for the SA Young Wine Show. He has been an international judge in Australia and serves on the technical committee of South Africa’s Wine and Spirit Board.

 

Carmen Stevens

Carmen has many years of experience on various judging panels, including SAA On Board Listing for 5 years in a row, Veritas Wine Awards and SA Young Wine Show for 4 years, WINE magazine for 5 years and Swiss International Airlines. She trained at Elsenburg Agricultural College and qualified from Elsenburg in 1995 as a winemaker. In 1996 she started working as assistant winemaker at Stellenbosch Farmers Winery and in 1998 was appointed as winemaker for Tukulu Wines until 1999. She then started as winemaker at Stellenbosch Vineyards as Welmoed’s site winemaker and in 2005 was appointed winemaker for Amani Vineyards.

Samarie Smith

Samarie passed the Diploma of the Cape Wine Academy with distinction and was accepted as one of only 16 wine tasters for the Michael Fridjhon Tasting Academy with an above average performance. She was an associate judge on Classic Wine's Pinotage panel and since last year on the official panel for the niche red wines, including Pinot Noir, Grenache, Mouvedre and Sangiovese. She is also one of the TOPS at Spar wine experts who select their top 10 wines every second month. She has also served on the Sauvignon Blanc panel of the Veritas Awards and judged in the sommelier category at the first Intern Hotel Challenge in Cape Town. Samarie is the wine, dine and travel editor of the Naweek supplement of Die Burger, Beeld and Volksblad.