Veritas announces winner of Young Wine Writer of the Year competition

Burgeoning young wine writer Raphaela van Embden from Cape Town has clinched the coveted Veritas Young Wine Writer title for 2019.

Van Embden, with dual South African and Austrian citizenship, has several wine courses and work stints in wine-related fields behind her, including cellar work during a harvest at di Lusso Wine Estate in Mudgee, Australia. She is currently a management consultant at Collectivantage, as well as Wine Commerce researcher at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.

Entrants were required to share their insights on the growing importance of virtual labels and wine e-commerce through the latest technology, while looking into the impact of various virtual labels. At the same time, they had to submit a more informal blog entry, dealing with the rise of rosé wine and the trend towards more pale and dry styles.

Under the clever title (A)Recommended Reality, Ms Van Embden wrote that the 8 000 year-old wine word is all about “real estate”, of origin and terroir right through to shelf space, where Augmented Reality (AR) wine labels are now “instantly crossing the constraints of space, one downloaded app and scanned label away”.

“Whether or not AR will tremendously boost wine e-commerce trade, there is no doubt that we are moving towards a digitalised future that will truly eliminate geographical boundaries, and the wine industry is no exception,” she concluded.

With regard to the advent of new rosé styles, she blogged under the heading A cachet for rosé that, since the advent of Instagram in 2012, “trendy, shutter-happy millennials pulled rosé from its dusty, forgotten corner into the photogenic limelight” and that it has since then “become a lifestyle brand where prestigious clean, crisp, sophisticated and photogenic rosé’s will be at home with the most serious of wine critics and in the clutched fists of hashtag-wielding millennials alike.”

Van Embden won herself R15 000 in prize-money, while runner-up Alisa Knoblauch – a Stellenbosch-based digital marketing consultant and administration officer for the wine export company Tamasa Wines – collected R7 500.

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