A beginner’s guide to navigating wine shows

JOBURG, Aug 2018 – In June, Anonymous Sauce attended the Nedbank Trophy Wine Show and this week we’ll be telling you all about it and why you should diarise more wine shows on your calendar.

South Africa has a fantastic culture of annual wine shows though if you’re not a wine aficionado it’s rare that you’ll across anything more than RMB WineX, which is popular for a classy pissup but not necessarily for developing your palate.

In general, wine shows offer a great opportunity to taste new wines. The Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show has the added bonus of allowing you to taste wines that are popular favourites as well as those you may not find at your local liquor store.

Our  top vineyard of the night was old trusty Fleur de Cap. It may not have a reputation for offering up the edgiest wines, but they’ve been exceeding lately, and their unfiltered Chardonnay was the perfect balance between the two worlds of Chardonnay – not your aunty’s butterscotch and toffee but also not so acidic that you’re wondering if it’s really a Chardonnay. There was subtle nose with a very considered texture. Basically it’s the kind of white wine that can hold its own in the valley of top notch SA Chard.

The Lourensford Viognier also stood its ground. Our notes for the evening were pretty illegible (we got a bit carried away with the wine) but its best description would be more-ish.

But wine shows in general can be a little intimidating so here are some basic tips we’ve picked up along the way:

  1. Line the stomach – nothing ruins a wine show like getting to drunk before you have a chance to enjoy it
  2. Do some prep – have a look at what will be showing so that you don’t miss your faves
  3. Pace yourself and taste the special things first – the palate gets a  bit tired after your first 8-9 wines, even if you spittoon, so make sure to get the good ones in
  4. Spittoon – I know it seems counter-intuitive as a wine lover to spit, but  reserve your swallows for the wines that are worth it
  5. Drink water, and plenty of it  
  6. Ask questions – don’t be afraid of sounding ignorant, winemakers and people in the industry love to talk about their craft
  7. This one is slightly controversial but if it’s a show where the cost a glass is included in the ticket price, take home your glass and any other glasses you can find lying around. Don’t be shy. The glasses at fancy wine shows are often of  relatively high quality and also make the perfect party wineglasses, where you won’t cry if they break
  8. This sounds contradictory in light of the point above but, bring a nice glass in case – though some wine shows provide decent glassware, some offer piddly little thimbles that you can barely get your nose into (you can still take those ones home)

Notable Wine Shows on the Joburg Calendar

Nedbank Trophy Wine Show- The best place to taste the wines you see at the grocery store

Cape Wine Makers’ Guild – Where you get to see winemakers flex and show off their best wares amongst their peers (wines are usually auction wines and so priced out of most people’s budgets

Juliette Cullinan

Sommelier’s Selection

Soweto Wine Show





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