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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.

2015 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.

Jeff Grier

After graduating from Stellenbosch University in 1979, Jeff managed to gain international experience in Europe before returning to South Africa in 1981. In 1983, the Grier family purchased Villiera Wines and Jeff took over the wine making function in 1984. A 10 year royalty agreement with Jean Louis Denois from Champagne ensured regular contact with Europe. Although the focus was on Méthode Cap Classique in the early years, Jeff recognized the potential for Villiera to excel in other styles. Each trip to Champagne involved visits to other regions in Europe and the desire for knowledge took him to the New World as well. In 1987 Jeff received his Cape Wine Masters Diploma. He was now sufficiently qualified and experienced enough to tackle a relatively large range of wines on his family Estate. Numerous personal achievements for Jeff Grier: John Platters Wine Man of the Year; Diners Club Wine Maker of the Year; Winner of WINE magazine’s Chenin Blanc Challenge; Winner of the Paarl Vintners Challenge (best Cape Blend); Paarl Region’s Wine Personality of the Year; Wine of Month Club winemaker of the year; in 2011 third 5 star rating in John Platter’s guide for Cap Classique; Best Sparkling Wine (Monro Brut 2007) in the 5 Nations Challenge; Best Wine at 5 Nations Challenge (Southern Hemisphere).
 

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.

Lizelle Gerber

Lizelle exploded onto the South African wine scene in 2000 during her tenure at Avontuur Estate raking in an avalanche of awards and accolades for her wines. Her career began in the military before a chance visit to a friend at Elsenburg College propelled her attention towards wine. After successfully graduating from Elsenburg as a winemaker, Lizelle worked at Zevenwacht Estate and spent a harvest in France’s Alsace region. Her stellar performance at Avontuur grabbed the attention of many suitors and after a brief stint at Eikendal, Lizelle joined DGB as Bellingham winemaker in 2004, before her appointment at Boschendal.

Elize Coetzee

She completed her BSc degree at the University of Stellenbosch and in 2001 started working as assistant winemaker at Flagstone Wine Cellar. She then was assistant winemaker at Distell for Zonnebloem wines and later was promoted as winemaker at Distell and in 2015 as the cellar master. Her experience in the world of winemaking includes St Julien in Bordeaux, Sonoma in California and Moselle in Germany. She also serves as a judge on the Wine and Spirits’ Board panels. Some of the Distell brands which include her responsibilities are Chateau Libertas, Two Oceans, Graca, Overmeer, Zonnebloem and the Cellar Cask range.

 

Pierre Marais

For many years the cellar master of the Bergkelder, Distell´s maturation cellar and production cellar of reserve range wines and top range wines. Serves on various panels, including the Wine and Spirits Board for the evaluation of certified wines.

Kris Snyman

He joined Cybercellar two years ago as an executive to manage merchandise, selections and promotions which gives him access to the largest range of wines available from any retailer in Africa, allowing him to evaluate hundreds of wines monthly as well as attend panels and selection committees. He has a Cape Wine Academy Certificate & Diploma, is a Chaine des Rotisseurs Western Cape Junior Sommelier winner, completed the Michael Fridjhon Wine Evaluation Experience and did Winemaking Internship & Harvest at Jordan Estate. He has worked in hotels/restaurants/cellars and more recently in ecommerce for the past 15 years, but more focused on wines when working at a wine shop in London and also Overture restaurant on Hidden Valley, Stellenbosch as Assistant Manager and sommelier which has been a Top 10 restaurant in SA numerous times. He has most recently tasted for Vitis Vinefera, Wineland Magazine and Nederburg Auction pre-selection.