Orange River Cellars from the Northern Cape put in another domineering performance at a leading South African wine competition, winning seven coveted awards at this year’s Top 100 SA Wines/National Wine Challenge held in Cape Town recently.
The Northern Cape winery won two Grand Cru Awards (Best in Category), garnered three Double Platinum Top 100 spots and scored two Double Golds. Orange River Cellars’ Grand Cru awards went to Red Muscadel 2017 and Straw Wine 2018, while Top 100 and Double Platinum places were accorded to Red Muscadel 2017, Lyra Vega 2017 and Straw Wine 2018. Double Gold awards were presented to Orange River Cellars’ brilliant new dry white wine release Lyra Quasar 2018 and White Muscadel 2017.
Now its ninth year, the Top 100 SA/National Wine Awards is one of South Africa’s leading wine competitions judged by a panel of local and international wine experts. According to Johan Hugo, chief marketing officer of Orange River Cellars, having three wines recognised among the Top 100 in South Africa is a tremendous honour for any winery.
“Our country has never produced as many wines of such exceptional quality as is currently the case,” says Hugo. “With some 8 000 various brands in South Africa alone, to see your wines adjudged among the country’s top 100 is a tremendous achievement for our wineries, grape growers, our team of viticulturists and the winemakers.”
Hugo says that this year’s Top 100/National Wine Challenge once again showed that Orange River Cellars’ image as an exclusive producer of fortified and sweet wines is a thing of the past. “Orange River Cellars has always enjoyed acclaim for its Muscadel and other sweet wines due to the perfect vineyard conditions for growing Muscat de Frontignan as well as the grapes for our famous Straw Wine,” he says.
“However, as this competition once again shows, Orange River Cellars is now making some of the finest dry red and white wines in the country. For Orange River Cellars Lyra Vega, a blend of Petit Verdot and Shiraz, to take a Top 100 spot among South Africa’s leading wines underscores the fact yet again that our vision to make some of the best wines in the country is being realised.”
Hugo says the success spilled over to the Lyra Quasar, Orange River Cellars new dry white wine made from Colombard which took a Double Gold at this year’s Top 100/National Wine Challenge. This white wine accolade follows on last year’s achievement at the Veritas wine competition where Orange River Cellars won Double Gold medals for its Sauvignon Blanc 2018 as well as Colombard from the same vintage.
Despite the geographical challenges attached to making premium wine in the Northern Cape, the producers, viticulturists and winemakers have shown in the past few years that they are up to the task.
“The fact that we are located 800 km from the traditional Winelands of the Cape means that Orange River Cellars has to work hard to confirm our image as a quality region in the eyes of the consumer and wine critics,” he says. “Besides the acclaim from local and international judges, award shows such as the Top 100 SA Wines/National Wine Challenge are important in acting as an indication of where we are in terms of quality as measure alongside our peers. The latest results have once again shown that the time for Orange River Cellars and the Northern Cape wine region has definitely arrived.”
Hugo says the Top 100 results are an important vehicle for the consumer to use as a guide when making his or her purchasing decision.
“At the end of the day, the consumer is king,” says Hugo. “By being able to endorse your Top 100 achievement with a prominent bottle-sticker, the customer can be assured of the quality in the bottle. And keeping the customer happy should be the number one aim of any wine producer.”