2017 marks the 21st year of the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition – a remarkable relationship between Absa Bank and the Pinotage Association on a journey that began in 1996 and which continues to benefit South Africa’s most successful ‘indigenous’ variety, the wonderful Pinotage varietal wines and blends as well as the many producers, their employees and the wineland communities in general.
From humble beginnings, the annual Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition has grown to become one of the South African wine industry’s most anticipated events. Absa’s substantial support for Pinotage over the past couple of decades has made it possible to conduct various research projects and to engage in social initiatives that have been warmly received.
Johan Schwartz, Marketing Manager of the Pinotage Association, reports that to celebrate the sponsorship coming of age and the special association between Absa and Pinotage, there will be some changes to the competition this year: the number of finalists has been increased to 21, reverting back to 20 in 2018; and as announced earlier in the year, a new category has been introduced to showcase older wines.
The new category in the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition is specifically for wines that are at least 10 years of age and the winning producer will be presented with a specially-crafted Museum Class trophy. Particularly excited about the development is Beyers Truter, founder and chairman of the Pinotage Association, who says that: “It is a fantastic addition to the competition and highlights how top Pinotage wines are fulfilling their promise of great maturation potential.”
Truter reiterates that: “Pinotage has come a long way with Absa, who have been there from the start of the Association, supporting our vision to establish and improve this uniquely South African wine variety as a well-loved and respected brand. Absa is a key member of the Pinotage family,” says Truter, lauding their commitment over the past 21 years and the pioneering partnership that has spawned various other industry programmes and initiatives.
According to Doug Walker, Managing Executive of Absa Western Cape, Absa remains thrilled to be involved with Pinotage and to be associated with the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition over the past 21 years. “This competition highlights the best wines and salutes the efforts of industry participants in creating world class and uniquely South African masterpieces.” He says Absa regards it as a privilege and an honour to have been part of the Pinotage journey and looks forward to building on this exceptional partnership.
The 21 finalists in this year’s competition will be announced next week, with the grand finale culminating in the 2017 Absa Top 10 Pinotage awards ceremony to be held at Cavalli Estate in Somerset West on 3 August.