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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.

2017 panel of judges comprises of 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 (Davis) 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 of 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 Oenology & 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.
Duimpie Bayly studied B.Sc at the University of Stellenbosch, MS at the University of California (Davis) 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 of 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 Oenology & 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.

 

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.

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).
 

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.
 

Sandile Mkhwanazi

Sandile studied a BSc Viticulture and Oenology degree at Stellenbosch University, after which he worked on harvesting grapes, a crucial part on winemaking, in Bordeaux - the famous wine-growing region in south-western France - at Château Siran. He had a year-long internship at Groot Constantia as a student winemaker, and worked as assistant winemaker and acting viticulturist at Elsenburg Agricultural Institute for two years. Sandile is currently making wine for himself, along with three business partners. He was previously employed as a journalist for Wineland Magazine, and has been an associate judge for several wine competitions, including the Amorim MCC Challenge Awards, Wellington Quest for the Best, Breedekloof Young Wine Show and Which Wine.
 

Kris Snyman

Kris has a Cape Wine Academy Diploma. He was a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Western Cape Junior Sommelier winner and completed the Michael Fridjhon Wine Evaluation Experience, as well as the Jordan Winery Harvest Internship. He has worked in hotels, restaurants and cellars for 15 years. These included the top 10 Overture restaurant at Hidden Valley in Stellenbosch as assistant manager and sommelier. Kris then managed the tasting room at Delaire Graff before joining a Naspers company called 5 Ounces, a lifestyle retailer specialising in wine. Three years ago he joined Cybercellar as an executive to manage merchandise, selections and promotions. This gave 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 also tasted for Vitis Vinefera, Wineland Magazine and Nederburg Auction pre-selection. Kris now is with DGB in a corporate position.