Sunday, February 19, 2006

Wine & Spirit Magazine Honours Warwick

The influential American Wine & Spirits Magazine has just released its list of “Wineries of the Year” and Warwick has made the stringent cut as the only South African winery to be listed. This list of the Top 100 Wineries rewards producers of quality and consistency. The magazine’s panel must have tasted and recommended at least three wines from a specific winery over the past year in order for it to be considered as a potential Winery of the Year. The variables involved in making the list therefore include the number of wines recommended (consistency); and also the number of scores over 90 points, and what the top scores of the wines are (quality).
Wines from all over the globe are submitted to the tasting panel, which is made up of staff members and critics, plus an array of sommeliers, wine store owners, wine teachers, or other wine experts (but never the importers). All wines are tasted blind and any wines recommended by a majority of that panel are then tasted and rated by the critic for that country; in the case of South Africa, Joshua Greene, the editor & publisher of Wine & Spirits. He then scores the wine independently and writes a tasting note for the wine, both of which are published.
Wine & Spirits Magazine is San Francisco-based and has a wide readership, primarily in the USA and also in Europe. Over 200 000 people read every edition, and the quality of the editorial and ratings make it one of the top two American magazines, with great influence on the buying patterns of the American public. In a survey, 98% of the readers of Wine & Spirits said that the magazine’s ratings influence their wine-buying decisions.
With this result, Warwick have built on their ongoing success also having made it onto the list of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of the world with their Cape Blend, the Three Cape Ladies, featuring at number 71. Wine Spectator uses four criteria for choosing their Top 100. The first three are quality, volume and price; but it is the fourth, namely the “X-factor” that is interesting to note – and a justifiable reason why this Cape Blend has received this recognition. They define the X-factor as excitement, the ability to stimulate and surprise… a wine that is different – and this Cape Blend is a wine with such a point of difference “built in” in the form of Pinotage.
When one considers that the USA is one of the largest international markets for fine wine, Warwick’s inclusion on these two lists is indeed a notable success, since these are the two most influential American wine magazines. The listings also build important awareness for the quality of South African wines, which are geared to claim more and more of the US market share.
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