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South African Airways selects onboard wines for 2010

Johannesburg. 26 August 2009.

South African Airways has completed its selection of the finest locally produced wines to be offered on board the airline’s flights during 2010.

This is an important year for SAA as the airline expects to carry thousands of new visitors into and around the country during the World Cup Soccer tournament.

A new category has been added to the selection this year, Rose, and will be offered in Economy Class. The growth of Rose wines not only in South Africa but worldwide has encouraged SAA to include this popular wine style in its selection for 2010.

The selection, conducted annually over three days, is open only to South African wine producers and their chosen wines and is in its 25th year. It provides SAA the opportunity to support and promote the development of South Africa’s wine industry.

“Contributing towards the wine industry’s sustainability will in turn contribute towards the growth of South Africa’s economy and provide more opportunities for individuals to benefit from it.

“At the same time the wine industry in South African celebrates 350 years this year and we are most proud to be associated with such a rich history,” says Nomvula Nkabinde, General Manager Sales and Marketing.

The wine industry in South Africa is a significant provider of job opportunities for citizens, creating new and critical skills. SAA is also one of the single largest buyers of SA wines through its selection process and is proud to continue this tradition after 25 years, of only carrying SA wines onboard its flights.

More than 1000 wines are entered into the selection each year and judged over the three days by a group of local and international experts who offer their valuable time to the process. Their presence is highly valued by local producers who are eager to gain insight into each wine category and have their suggestions for improvement.

This year’s judges were Bengt Kronstam, Carmen Stevens, Francis Bayly, Erika Obermeyer, Philippe Boucheron, Dr Rowald Hepp, Susan Erasmus, Yegas Naidoo, Tariro Masayiti, Luvo Ntezo, Nomonde Khubeka and Sandra Lotz.  The logistical process of the tasting is coordinated by Bennie Howard , well known Cape Wine Master.


The judging process:

The process is meticulously monitored by independent auditors, Ernst and Young.

Judges are divided into different panels and score the 750ml wines within their various categories using a 100-point system. The auditors compile the scores identifying the top scoring wines in each category, which go into the final day’s tasting.

On the final day the top 750ml wines are tasted and scored and the auditors establish a final ranking per category.  Finally the judges taste the highest ranking wines to establish the Trophy winners in the White wine, Red wine, MCC and Port categories. 

Issued by SAA Group Corporate Affairs