Saturday, August 31, 2013


The Paarl Wine Route Challenge Winners  and dignatories.  From left to right are Neil Pendock, Albie van der Westhuizen (KWV), Michela Sfiligoi (Ayama Wines), Gerhard van der Watt (Perdeberg),  Philip du Toit (Mount Vernon) and Stuart Richardson (Mellasat Vineyards – Chairman Paarl Wine Route)

Ayama Wines had a double whammy at the Paarl Wine Route Challenge this week when their Chenin Blanc 2012 was crowned Champion Wine for 2013 in the Chenin Blanc category,  and the Merlot 2012 was first runner-up  in the “Winemaker’s Choice” category.

Ayama’s Michela and Attilio Dalpiaz are over the moon; “We love Chenin, and always have since we “met” it the first time when visiting South Africa many years ago.  We believe in this varietal and therefore have  18 ha in full production with another 2 ha of newly planted Bush Vines, from a total area under vine of  60 ha.  What is interesting is that the 4 blocks planted in 1989 and 1992 are still producing well with  8 to  10 tons per ha, so we are very happy with our Chenin vineyards at the moment” . This is Ayama’s top selling wine with distribution in 18 countries, as well as a list of awards which include a silver last year at IWSC and a silver at the 2012 Michelangelo Awards.  The cellar door price is R46 per bottle.

The award for the Merlot came as a pleasant surprise and the team is incredibly happy with the recognition for this wine.  Michela says that she chose to enter it because she loves the taste of the berry  and a very well done Merlot reminds you of that . “Although the Merlot category is very highly competitive world-wide, we find that once people have tasted ours, the doors often open with regular orders coming in, “ she commented. The cellar door price is R55 per bottle.

With a star-studded list of wine experts on the tasting panel, this competition means a lot for a new kid on the block,  which Ayama is at this stage.  “I was honoured that our Chenin  Blanc did so well especially with passionate lovers of this varietal like Mr Chenin himself,  Ken Forrester,  on the list.  I feel as if every one of our wines is my “baby” and when they perform, I am so proud of them and all of us at the farm who contribute to their success, “ says Michela.