An e-mail from UCT asking for my Top 20 wineries. Seems I’m one of 35 “winewriters, sommeliers and retailers” being approached, 30 local and five” important and locally-well-experienced foreign critics.” Harumph!
What I want from you is two lists: firstly your TOP FIVE wineries (in no particular order). Then another FIFTEEN wineries to complete your list of the top 20; again the order is irrelevant. Do not list ranges, only wineries operating as distinct entities/brands. The resulting compilation will rank the wineries according to the number of votes they receive.
As to criteria, it is often more intuitive, perhaps, how you weigh up a tiny winery with a single good wine against a large producer with a few equally good wines but also a lot of dross, etc, etc. You must decide. The only criterion I am imposing, please, is the modest one that the winery must have a track record of at least three vintages. But let’s again develop a supplementary list in addition: please, if you would, please SEPARATELY nominate UP TO FIVE developing wineries which you think are likely to become strong contenders for a top 20 placing in the near future.
Also, obviously, if you have a financial connection with a winery (as consultant or whatever), please do not list that winery.
UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN
Five reasons I’ll rather sit this one out:
1. All retailers and most sommeliers have impicit financial relations with producers as they buy the stuff, so who will they vote for?
2. If the assessment was done blind, 1) wouldn’t matter, but it ain’t;
3. I’d rather not feed the cultural cringe epidemic – if this list was being made Down Under would the Aussies ask five important and locally-well-experienced foreign critics? NOT;
4. There are already too many competitions;
5. The best that this exercise can do will be to reflect hype and media spend. Very few of the 35 sipping Solomons ever venture out past Strand.
There, Dr. Blade Nzimande and Professor Max Price – I didn’t even ask what a University is doing involved in such half-baked research or who chooses the judges. Which of course will determine the Top Twenty. Or even that judges can make up their own criteria, which rather stuffs things, I would have thought. Scientific it most certainly ain’t but presumably it will make a few bucks for the organizer when he publishes it in the Mail & Guardian.