Sauvignon blanc has a ‘new’ champion!

Sauvignon blanc is the third most widely-planted white grape variety in the Cape Winelands and among the most extensive in New World wine countries. It is SA’s most popular grape variety and accounts for about 40% of all white wine sales in the country.

With this in mind, the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group has evolved into Sauvignon Blanc SA to better promote the quality of South African sauvignon blanc locally and internationally. The organisation’s task has further been bolstered by the appointment of Agri-Expo, the long-standing promotion and marketing agency for the agriculture sector, to take care of day-to-day operations.

“The previous management committee laid a solid foundation with invaluable support over the past eight years,” says RJ Botha, chairman. “The new team will build on this success with an eye to creating even more opportunity for our members and South African sauvignon blanc.”

Among the members’ new benefits will be the specialist insights of Dr Carien Coetzee from Basic Wine, who has been contracted to write a series of exclusive technical reports. In addition to having a PhD Agric Oenology from the University of Stellenbosch, her experience includes attending the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in New Zealand and serving on the tasting panel for the Concours Mondial du Sauvignon international wine competition.

Sauvignon Blanc SA’s transformation also includes a re-designed website,, integrated with social media platforms to maximise the conversation around the variety.

Anyone can become a member of Sauvignon Blanc SA to access the benefits of pooled expert knowledge. Members’ networking and information exchanges include technical seminars and workshops, selection and training of specialist tasting panels for wine competitions and early-warning marketing opportunities and events.

From a public perspective, most people get to know the organisation through its prominent annual FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 competition, which was started in 2007 to reward producers making wines of true distinction. Cape Wine Master Dr Winifred Bowman, an experienced judge and commentator, is the convenor of the panel.

The championship’s important dates for this year are the opening for entries at end July, judging from 3 to 6 September and the gala awards evening on Wednesday, 9 October. A technical seminar based on this year’s performance is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 20 November, in Franschhoek.

The members of the Sauvignon Blanc SA committee are chairman RJ Botha (Kleine Zalze Wine Estate), vice-chairman Thys Louw (Diemersdal Estate), Carien Coetzee (Basic Wine), JD Pretorius (Warwick Wine Estate), Lukas Wentzel (Groote Post Vineyards), CP Conradie (Conradie Penhill Artisanal Wines), Emul Ross (Hamilton Russell Vineyards) and Daniel Keulder (Nitida Wine Farm).

For more information or to sign up to the Sauvignon Blanc SA newsletter, call 021 975 4440 or visit Join the online conversation about #SauvignonBlanc and tag Sauvignon Blanc SA on Twitter @SauvignonSA and on Facebook and Instagram as @sauvignonblancsa.



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