The national winners from all the cultivars and styles entered this year for the Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards, derive from 17 terrains across the Cape winelands – a clear sign that the country boasts numerous terroirs (wine terrains) whose soils and climate yield quality wines of different cultivars.

Only wines certified as single-vineyard wine, estate-produced wine, wine from a ward or district not divided into more than one ward, are judged.

The five trophies and certificates of the national winners were presented at a luncheon in Overture Restaurant of well-known chef Bertus Basson in Hidden Valley, on Wednesday 22 September. 

The cultivar in this year’s competition that performed particularly well as one eminently suitable to our winelands, is also the most prolifically planted in South Africa, namely Chenin Blanc. This is certainly good news for the industry and bodes well for this grape’s future.

The trophy for the overall top wine was this year awarded for the third time. From almost 300 entries, the Novare Trophy for SA Terroir Top Wine went to Villion Henning Chenin Blanc 2020, a Certified Heritage Vineyard wine of origin from the Bot River Ward in Walker Bay.

Moreover, the Novare Trophy for SA Terroir Top Single-vineyard wine was also awarded to a Chenin Blanc, from Stellenbosch – the Koelenhof Stellenbosch 1679 Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2019. A single-vineyard wine is the best example of a terroir-driven wine and forms an important part of the SA Terroir Wine Awards. 

Chenin Blanc is one of the five cultivar wines that received the most entries, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

The Novare Trophy for the SA Terroir Top Wine Estate and SA Terroir Top Producer, were both awarded to Rietvallei Estate in Robertson.  Rietvallei this year bagged the national winners of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, as well as five winners of all the terroir wines from the Robertson District, namely Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Muscadel, Sauvignon Blanc and Red Blend.

The annual Novare Trophy or Top Terroir Area is awarded on the basis of a specific soil and climate terrain yielding the most awarded wines. This sought-after trophy was awarded for the second time to the Simonsberg-Paarl-Ward in Paarl, thanks to the wine entries from Anura, Glen Carlou, Mitre’s Edge, Mt Vernon and Plaisir de Merle. 

The complete list of national winners at the 2021 Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards is: Ondine Cabernet Franc 2015, Glen Carlou Gravel Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2018, Villion Henning Chenin Blanc 2020 (top Heritage Vineyard Wine), De Grendel Op Die Berg Chardonnay 2020, Rietvallei Chenin Blanc 2020, Kaapzicht Skuinsberg Cinsaut 2020, Bon Courage André’s Fame Colombard 2021, Neethlingshof Gewürztraminer 2020, Lynx Grenache 2019, Benguela Cove Malbec 2019, Benguela Cove Joie de Vivre Brut 2017, Lanzerac Merlot 2019, Bon Courage Edellaatoes 2018, Le Bonheur Petit Verdot Reserve 2019, Mischa Reserve Petite Sirah 2020, Old Road Wine Elgin Pinot Noir 2019, Groot Constantia Pinotage 2019, Saronsberg Full Circle 2019 (red blend), Nuy Rooi Muskadel 2010, Nitida Riesling 2020, Stettyn Family Vineyards Rosé 2021, Mischa Roussanne 2021, Anura Signature Sangiovese 2016, Rietvallei Estéanna Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Old Road Grand Mère Sémillon 2018, Saronsberg Shiraz 2019, Villa Esposto Straw Wine 2019, Piekenierskloof Tannat 2020, Baleia Tempranillo 2019, Deetlefs Signature Viognier 2019 and Nitida Coronata Integration 2018 (white blend). 

In addition to the trophies and national winner wines, the top wines in the different areas are also named. The full results are available on the website

The selected panel of judges comprises Jeff Grier (chairperson), Elunda Basson, Samantha De Morney, Carl Schultz and Anton Swarts.

The CEO of Novare, Ola Leepile, said, “We are extremely proud to be in partnership with The SA National Wine Show Association (SANWSA) to continue our sponsorship and hosting the 15th annual Terroir Wine Awards. In line with Novare’s philosophy of striving for excellence, the awards acknowledge and recognise exceptional quality, emphasising the best wine within its area, region or origin. The growth in number of new vineyards entering the competition each year demonstrates the importance of this accolade within the wine industry, where leading wineries can compete against each other and be part of this particular platform to showcase their outstanding wines.” 

According to the chairperson of SANWSA, which organises the Wine Awards, Christo Pienaar, “South Africa is one of the few wine countries worldwide with a demarcation committee of a wine and spirit board that analyses terrains and identifies them as individualistic. Wines of specific origin can be certified and stated as such on the label. This facilitates the amazing discovery of all the characterful wines with good structure created throughout our winelands. The soil and climate are fully utilised by the viticulturists”.

At the 16th annual Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards’ judging, SANWSA’s protocol list for safe judging, was fully implemented,  which includes the following arrangements: An online form for screening to be completed by everyone; a fully sterilised ozone-treated judging hall; temperature-checking and hand sanitation on arrival; compulsory face-masks and judges maintaining a safe distance of 2 m; clean glasses for each round of wines and all glasses and coffee mugs cleansed in an automatic washer at 80°C.