As year-end approaches, the release of show judging results reaches something of a crescendo. Given the lockdown delays, many of the competitions that normally report earlier in the year have been forced into the last few months. From now on every week will be marked by the publication — with commensurate hype — of a new set of results.

I can’t pretend to be impartial in this: I’ve been chair of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show since its inception. I believe competitions like this play a vital role for consumers and producers. Many high-profile wineries were “discovered” by the Trophy Wine Show. It also served to cross-calibrate Cape wines to the expectations of international markets, while its association with the Wine Judging Academy (run in conjunction with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business) has contributed to a more rigorous judging environment.

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