This year’s Absa Pinotage Top 10 competition marks the 22nd consecutive year that Absa has sponsored the event, which is organised by the Pinotage Association for the advancement and promotion of wine made from Pinotage grapes.
The aim of the annual competition is to identify ten Pinotage wines which will serve as a benchmark for the development of distinctive South African Pinotage and illustrate the uniqueness of Pinotage in the international wine world.
This benchmarking event is regarded by industry stakeholders as one of the most sought-after accolades presented each year to top producers of the most successful variety to have originated in the Cape.
According to Pinotage Association Marketing Manager Johan Schwartz, the quality of and demand for Pinotage wines has soared since the relationship with Absa. Top brands – commercial, premium and super premium – have grown in strength - both locally and perhaps more importantly, internationally.
“Domestic consumption of Pinotage in 2003 was recorded as 3-million litres – by 2017, this had grown to more than 5-million litres. Export performance is even more Impressive, climbing from 8,4-million litres in 2001 to over 20-million litres in 2017!” he enthused.
“Having a major corporate as a dedicated sponsor has without doubt, been a fundamental driver of the Pinotage success. Absa sponsored competitions have been a fundamental contributor to the cultivar’s popularity and the way the stature of the variety has developed is illustrated by the advent of icon-level Pinotage at an ultra-premium price point” he said.
Objectives of Absa’s involvement
In explaining Absa’s continued support of the Awards, Willie Zastron, Absa’s Provincial Head Business Banking, Western Cape said: “We are honoured to have partnered with the Pinotage Association for the 22nd consecutive year as we continue to promote uniquely South African wine made from Pinotage grapes. That on its own is a clear indication of our commitment to the partnership with the Association, and supporting initiatives such as the Pinotage Awards enables us to fulfil our purpose to be an active force of good in communities we serve. In view of the dedication to consistently improve the quality of Pinotage production, we have seen additional platforms created by the Association to further promote the cultivar. These recognition platforms created opportunities for wine makers to combine their wine making skills with the versatile strengths of Pinotage.
“Over the years this competition has grown into one of the most popular events within the wine industry - enticing wine makers of various skills and from all walks of life to aim for one of the coveted Pinotage trophies as they hone their craft and improve the standard of Pinotage from year to year.
“This partnership reflects our long-standing commitment not only to the Pinotage Association, but to the South African wine industry and agriculture as a whole. Winning wines are high in demand due to the Absa accolade. This in turn accelerates the commercial value of the winning wines, which is one of the main enabling objectives for Absa.
“Our involvement with and support of this competition is driven by our confidence in the new generation of South African winemakers - these winemakers are working hard to increase the prestige and sophistication of wines produced in South Africa.
“Our continued association is testament to our intention to build and maintain lasting relationships within the communities in which we operate. It also provides us with an excellent opportunity to interact with our valued clients, colleagues and members of the winemaking community. The wine industry creates thousands of jobs which in turn create livelihoods in so many wine producing districts.
“This is a very special competition, not only because of the quality of the judges, nor the rigorous selection process, but also because of the critical input given to each participating winemaker” he concluded.
The Top Ten competition winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held at Cavalli Estate in Somerset West on 15 August 2018.