The Platter Guide hosted its annual release and awards ceremony in Cape Town earlier in November. With five-star laureates, category winners and wineries of the year, there are now so many awards that its press release reads a little like a middle-school yearbook. By 2020, expect the list to include the country’s best LGBT rosé producer and a special mention for the brandy distiller with the longest beard. What used to be John Platter’s personal selection of the top wines he tasted in preparing the guide, has morphed into a wine competition in everything except name. This is no bad thing: Platter Guide tasters have access to more wines than judges in any reputable local competitions, so their list of SA’s best wines is bound to be more complete. While it’s been said many times that the process by which these wines are identified has flaws, it’s worth adding that it also has its virtues. The first round judging is sighted, so the shortlist of 500–800 wines — 651 in 2018 — which then ...

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