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Blaauwklippen Blending Competition - 18th June '24


 Are you an aspiring wine blending champion? The time has come for wine enthusiasts and clubs to once again battle it out in the annual Blaauwklippen Blending Competition. Launched in 1984, the Blaauwklippen Blending Competition is the only one of its kind in South Africa, aimed at consumers rather than producers, inviting wine-lovers to try out the art of wine blending for themselves. “Blends are a much-loved category of red wine, with so many possibilities and variations in character and style. This competition affords wine lovers the opportunity to get hands-on experience in blending – a combination of science and art that captures the strengths of each varietal to create a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts,” says Blaauwklippen winemaker, Narina

Cloete. Apart from the fun of entering and getting together to make up a good blend, it shows wine lovers just how crucial it is to find the right balance. A difference of one or two percent of a particular component can make a big difference to the final result.


Since founded by Walter Finlayson in 1984, the competition has become known as South Africa’s longest-running wine blending competition. 1984, this was the time when Apple launched its Macintosh PC, Archbishop Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize, Mrs Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of the UK, and Nelson Mandela saw his wife Winnie for the first time in 22 years.


The competition was the idea of Angela Lloyd, who at that stage worked at the Cape Wine Academy Wine Tasting Centre, and who suggested the idea to then -winemaker Walter Finlayson. A total of 47 wine clubs entered in the first year. Initially the competition chose regional i.e. provincial winners, and the final winner was selected at the awards ceremony, the award-winning blend being made up for sale thereafter. Mr Finlayson was a double Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year during his time at Blaauwklippen, in 1981 and 1982, with the variety Zinfandel. In an attempt to market Blaauwklippen nationally, the suggestion of a blending competition reaching wine societies around the country perfectly matched his marketing strategy, and they received a fantastic response. The Cape Wine Academy name was incorporated in the title of the competition in early days, but is no longer used.


Entrants are supplied with a kit of wines from Blaauwklippen and specifications on the use of the varietals, as well as a brief on the final product. The judging panel consists of some of the nation’s most astute wine personalities, as well as Blaauwklippen winemaker Narina Cloete. In addition to the trophy, the winning club earns recognition on the label of a limited edition magnum release of their blend bottled, which is then sold by Blaauwklippen. This is an example of very special bonding

between a wine estate and wine consumers. It creates a brand loyalty and enables very special participation of wine aficionados in the estate’s winemaking process. Currently we celebrate 41 years of the Blaauwklippen Blending Competition.


For this year’s competition, the challenge is to create a serious Bordeaux style blend with components from a very challenging 2023 vintage. Blenders will receive 4 wines (1 x Cabernet franc, 1 x Malbec, 1 x Merlot, 1 x Petit Verdot) and all 4 components must be used in the final blend. A maximum 65 % of each Cultivar may be used and a minimum of 5% of each component must be included in the blend.


Your recipe will be made up in the Blaauwklippen cellar and a blind tasting by our panel experts will reveal the top four blends. The semi-finalists will be invited to a gala dinner with selected guests and media where the winner for 2024 will be announced. So please come on Tuesday, to experience the fun of blending, the Blaauwklippen way!

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