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Change is difficult to measure when you’re in the midst of it. Looking back has its own limitations, however, mainly because you cannot recapture the zeitgeist of the time. Occasionally — at least with wine — you can review the past in the way that archaeologists work their way through the multiple levels of civilisations built on the ruins of those they conquered. You can look at competition results, for example, and talk about the fashions they reflect, as a way of tracking the changes.

This year, being the 20th edition of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, I thought I would examine the 2021 results through a viewfinder which looks at the laureates of the inaugural competition. To put some perspective on the two decades, it seemed useful to add the midpoint — 2011 — to the visual field. I have as much a personal as a dispassionate interest in this exercise. I have been show chairman since 2002. Every year I look very closely at what the judging panels have achieved, but then ...

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