Thursday, September 6, 2012


The South African Wine Index (SAWi) acknowledged South African wine excellence at its gala event held at the luxurious Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa in Camps Bay on 22 August 2012.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards from the Hemel-en-Aarde wine route is the top 2012 achiever and announced as the 2012 SAWi Wine Cellar of the Year.  Hannes Storm, Hamilton Russell winemaker, was awarded the 2012 SAWi Winemaker of the Year award and viticulturist, Johan Montgomery, received acknowledgement as the 2012 SAWi Viticulturist of the Year.

Together this dynamic duo, along with foreman Colin Jonkers and his team in the vineyards, also won the 2012 SAWi White Wine of the Year accolade with their Hamilton Russell Chardonnay.

For the third time in a row, Rijks Private Cellar Pinotage received the 2012 SAWi Red Wine of the Year trophy, a mere fraction of a point ahead of Kanonkop Paul Sauer in the second place.

The SAWi award system does not judge a wine or cultivar according to a single harvest result. Rather, judging is based on the combined results a SAWi-registered cellar and its wines achieved over time, at 44 different, multi-national wine competitions, thus measuring its overall quality as attained over a predetermined period.
Top 10 mentions and trophies are also taken into account during these calculations.

SAWi Platinum is the highest accolade that may be achieve by any wine.  A mark of 95+, out of a possible 100, will secure this award.

This is followed by Grand Gold at 93 to 94, and Gold is received for 90 to 92.  No Silver or Bronze is awarded, ensuring SAWi decorated wines really are the cream of the crop.

2012 Platinum, Grand Gold en Top Cellar awards

KWV won an impressive seven awards, followed by Spier and Hamilton Russel Vineyards with five awards each.  Bouchard Finlayson, Cederberg, and Rijks each won four awards, while Kanonkop, Lomond, Ken Forrester, Klein Constantia, Fleur du Cap and Saronsberg were amongst the cellars that had received more than one award. (Top wines listed below)

Rustenburg, La Motte, De Toren, De Trafford, Cape Point Vineyards, Eagle's Nest, Ken Forrester, Paul Cluver, Uva Mira, Oak Valley and Warwick also received Top Cellar 2012 mentions.

 Top Wines

KWV Mentors Shiraz and KWV Jerepigo received Platinum, while KWV Mentors Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and KWV Orchestra each received Grand Gold.

Spier Creative Block Selection Rhone Blend received Platinum, while Spier Private Collection Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Spier Creative Block Bordeaux Blend each won Grand Gold.

Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir, Kaaimansgat Crocodile’s Lair Chardonnay and Hannibal Sangiovese Blend each won Grand Gold.

Cederberg Private Cellar Sauvignon Blanc, Five Generations Chenin Blanc and Cederberg Teen Die Hoog Shiraz received a Grand Gold award each.

Rijks  Private Cellar Pinotage received Platinum, Rijks Private Cellar Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc each won Grand Gold.

Hamilton Russell Chardonnay and Pinot Noir each received a Platinum award.

Kanonkop Paul Sauer received Platinum and Kanonkop Pinotage Grand Gold.

Lomond Snowbush Sauvignon Blanc blend received Platinum, Lomond Syrah and Conebush Syrah won Grand Gold.

Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc won Platinum and the Gypsy Shiraz Grenache got Grand Gold.

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance won Platinum, while the Klein Constantia Marlbrook Bordeaux Blend received Grand Gold.

Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Semillon and Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Viognier blend won Grand Gold each.

Saronsberg Full Circle Shiraz blend received Platinum and Saronsberg Shiraz a Grand Gold.

Eagles' Nest Shiraz, Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Shiraz and Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh Sauvignon Blanc Semillon each won a Platinum award.

Uva Mira Single Vineyard Chardonnay, Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Mulderbosch Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Diemersdal Pinotage, Warwick Trilogy Bordeaux Blend, Cape Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve, Paul Cluver Chardonnay, Raka Biography Shiraz, Nitida Semillon, Meerlust Pinot Noir, Tokara Reserve Collection Stellenbosch Chardonnay and Stellenzicht Golden Triangle Cabernet Sauvignon also won Grand Gold awards.

Top fortified wines

In the fortified wines section Merwida White Muscadel, De Krans Vintage Reserve and Cape Tawny Port, Neethlingshof Maria Riesling Noble Late Harvest and De Trafford Straw wine each harvested a Grand Gold award.

Top brandies

South Africa’s brandies were at the top of their game.  Van Ryn’s 12 year old won Platinum and Van Ryn’s 20-year old took Grand Gold.  KWV won Platinum for their KWV 15-year old, as did Laborie Alambic, and KWV 20-year old received Grand Gold.

Wine Legend
Vriesenhof winemaker and old-Springbok rugby player, Jan ‘Boland’ Coetzee, was honoured as the 2012 SAWi Wine Legend of the Year.  He is a founding member of the Cape Winemakers Guild and a wine consultant for several wine cellars.

His contribution to the global profile of South African wines has made Coetzee a true pioneer in the South Africa Wine industry.

For more information, please visit Sawi Wine Awards or contact Izak Smit at or
+27 82 577 7037