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South African Airways (SAA) toasts the winners of its annual wine selection

CAPE TOWN. 3 November 2013. South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s leading airline, is proud to announce the winners of its annual wine selection process.

The winners were announced at a prestigious banquet in Cape Town attended by the country’s foremost wine makers. The wine awards banquet is the culmination of SAA’s rigorous selection process which started in August.

This year, the South African wine producers submitted a record entry of 1017 wines for the 2014 SAA Wine Selection year. A panel of the most eminent, independent local and international judges assessed the wines over a period of three days of blind tasting sessions.

“Choosing SAA’s on-board wines is one of the longest traditions in the airline. This is the 29th year that the airline has selected only the finest South African wines. Only the best of the best, and proudly South African wines, will be served on board the airline’s entire route network and its lounges,” says Kim Thipe, SAA Head of Marketing.

The six category winners, who received trophies for having the highest score across the board from all 12 judges were:

Méthode Cap Classique of the Year: Villiera Brut Natural Chardonnay 2009
White Wine of the Year: Spier Creative Block#2 2012
Red Wine of the Year: Provenance Rooi Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot/ Malbec / Carb Franc / Petit Verdot 2011
Port of the Year: Boplaas Cape Tawny Show Selection Reserve Tinta Barocca/Touriga Nacional/Souzao
CEO’s Award went to DGB, the leading South African wine and spirit producer, wholesaler and distributor of premium wine brands including Boschendal, Bellingham, Douglas Green, as their wines won the most accolades, with more than four of their wines who made it on the 2014 listing.
The Chairperson’s Award went to DGB for the largest volume of wine supplied to SAA per annum.

This year’s judges were

1.    South African judges
Mrs. Bongi Sodladla
Bongi, is SAA’s Sommelier and Global Food & Beverage Manager. She coordinates the SAA Wine Selection and Wine Awards for the airline. She is a full time member of the tasting panel. The fifth graduate in South Africa to achieve the Sommelier prestigious qualification and the first black woman through the Cape Wine Academy. She also judges in other wine competitions such as the Veritas Awards.
Ms. Yegas Naidoo
Yegas is one of SAA’s frequent flyers and a Voyager Lifetime Platinum member. She is the founding director of Wine Street CC and a regular member of the SAA wine selection panel. She also judged the annual International Wine Challenge (IWC) in the UK, the India Wine Challenge, the Calyon Trophy Bordeaux Blend Challenge and the Fairbain Trophy Wine Selection.

Mrs. Sandra Lotz

Sandra is Manager of Shiraz SA since 2008. Previously she was the CEO of Paarl Vintners for 12 years and serves on the Wine and Spirits Board’s Paarl tasting panel. She has tasted for various wine competitions including the SAA wine listing.

Mrs Susan Erasmus
Susan is a viticulture and oenology graduate from the University of Stellenbosch and spent time in France perfecting her craft. She heads up the team in the cellar at Vrede en Lust and has an innate passion for winemaking and the vineyard. This passion shines in her crafting of wines in a classical new world style. She is the proud winner of the Landbou Weekblad South African Woman Winemaker of the year competition for 2007.

Mrs Danielle le Roux
After graduating with a B.Sc in viticulture & oenology at the University of Stellenbosch, she set off to explore the wine regions she was interested in, working vintages at Chateau de la Colline (France), Verite (California) and Terreno (Italy) to deepen her understanding of wine. She graduated as a Cape Wine Master in 2009. Danielle serves on the tasting panels for Veritas, SA Young Wine Show, SA Wine and Spirit board, contributes to WineLand’s tasting column, and is a qualified Pinotage judge.

Miss. Carmen Stevens
Carmen is a graduate of Elsenburg Agriculture, and is cellarmaster at Amani Vineyards since 2005. She has tasted for SAA before and also tastes in other wine competitions such as Veritas, SA Young Wine Show, Winelands magazine and Swiss International Airlines.

Miss. Tatiana Marcetteau,
Tatiana is Food and Beverage Manager at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town and was born in Pessac, a suburb of Bordeaux in France. Tatiana’s current position includes overseeing all beverage activity at the Taj such as staff training, stock level management, and the ordering and pricing of all beverages. Tatiana is a natural when it comes to her chosen profession - she believes that doing what you love makes you naturally good at it.

Mr. Gregory Mutambe
He is a Sommelier at Azure Restaurant, at the Twelve Apostles Hotel, Cape Town and has a true passion for wine and food which has allowed him to compile an extensive wine list for guests’ enjoyment. He tastes for other competitions such as Best Value Wine guide, John Platters Guide.

Mr. Colin Frith
Colin, is an experienced wine judge, having judged on the S.A. National Wine Show for over 20 years, as well as for Veritas, John Platter Wine Guide, Diners Club Wine Maker of the Year, a regular panel member for Winelands magazine, Swiss Air awards, and many regional wine shows. He is an honorary member of the Institute of Cape Wine Masters.

Mr. Miguel Chan
Mauritian-born Miguel Chan is Group Sommelier for Southern Sun Hotels, with his day to day task the responsibility of the Wines and Beverage Standards. Chan represented South Africa in 2007 at the Inaugural Concours Internationales des Jeunes Sommeliers final, in Frankfurt, Germany.  He has been a wine taster for the Platters South African Wine Guide, the Old Mutual Wine Trophy and other competitions.

International judges

Mr. Ralf Rudolf Anselmann
Born in 1965 into a traditional family-owned wine estate, Mr. Anselmann grew up in constant contact with viticulture and wine making. He holds the title Diplom-Agraringenieur (Masters Degree) and studied agriculture and viticulture at the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim. He is the owner and technical director of the “Weingut Werner Anselmann”, one of Germany’s largest wine experiences in wine making and sensorial analysis. He participates as wine judge in more than twenty countries and at numerous international wine competitions. He is also a member of tasting panels of wine magazines and an authorised expert of the Chamber of Agriculture.

Mrs Debra Meiburg
Debra is based in Hong Kong and a celebrated wine journalist, TV personality, wine educator and in-demand speaker who is pleasing palates across Asia with her fresh take on the world of wine. Awarded Master of Wine, the highest wine industry honour, Debra has a serious palate for wine, but her approach is a little “tongue in cheek”.

About SAA
South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, operates to 42 destinations worldwide.
In its domestic market SAA has an extensive schedule operating 660 flights in total per week between Johannesburg – Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, from its Johannesburg hub, as well as code-shared flights between Lanseria – Cape Town and Durban. SAA offers more frequencies than any other airline in South Africa.
Regionally, SAA offers 26 destinations across the African continent including Abidjan, Accra, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Entebbe, Harare, Kigali, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Ndola, Pointe Noire, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.
SAA’s international network creates links to all major continents from South Africa through 11 direct routes and code shares, with daily flights from Johannesburg to London (Heathrow), Frankfurt, Munich, Mumbai, Perth, Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, Washington, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. SAA has codes share agreements with 27 other airlines across the markets it serves. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC).
SAA is a Star Alliance member which offers more than 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries. SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for eleven consecutive years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on-time airlines.

For more information contact:
SAA Group Corporate Affairs

Tlali Tlali
SAA spokesperson
Tel: +27 11 978 3819
Mobile: +27 82 333 3880
Twitter: @flysaa