A group from the UK-based Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) spent a little more than a week touring the Western Cape in November. It’s the fourth such tour in the past 50 years, and counts as a big deal in terms of the profile of SA wine in a number of markets abroad. When the members of the institute come on tour, it is a little like a visit to an academic institution of a bunch of Nobel prize winners, a quantum of gravitas greater than the core of a supernova.

What they see, what they say to producers and wine marketers and the message they bring to their home markets can, over time, tilt the axis of trade. This visit, the first in more than a decade, is the modern SA wine industry’s first chance to prove to the MWs en masse what influential international critics have been saying for some time about our wines...

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