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The Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge will award Gold Awards to spirits and wines of quality, and wines at R150 and below and spirits that are R300 or below that are great value. Wines and spirits that receive both awards will be awarded a Double Gold award.

TIMELINE FOR 2023

Entries open 7 March 2023 and Early Bird special ends at midnight 4 July 2023
Early bird special R890.00 excl VAT per entry
Regular entries fees applies from 5 July to close on 8 August 2023
Entries at R1095.00 excluding VAT per entry
Delivery of samples on 14 and 15 August 2023

AWARDS

Value and Gold award stickers measure 25 mm across. Here are some close approximations of how these stickers will look. The stickers make use of cold foil to achieve the maximum shine.

MeritAward-Value-2023
MeritAward-Gold-2023

The Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge will award gold awards to spirits and wines of quality, and wines at R150 and below and spirits that are R300 or below that are great value. Wines and spirits that receive both awards will receive a double gold award.

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Belles Bajan Brew

Belles Bajan Brew was awarded a Gold award for their 1966: Artisanal Rum Punch at the 2022 awards, and we…

TROPHIES AWARDED 2022

The press release for the 2022 event with all the results can be found here.

Trophies were awarded for:

  • Best Rum – Earthbound Distillery for their Earthbound Amber Rum.
  • Best Gin – Select Beverage Company for their African Craft Honeybush Gin.
  • Best Chenin blanc – Leipzig Winery for their 2020 Chenin blanc.
  • Best Rosé/Blanc de noir – Van Loveren Family Vineyards for their 2022 Daydream Chardonnay Pinot Noir.
  • Best Red wine – Groote Post for their 2019 Groote Post Shiraz.

SO WHAT IS DIFFERENT IN 2023 ?

Focus on niche and overlooked classes

Focus on Crowd Pleasers

More Spirit Classes

Mead, Cider and Fruit wines

  • Organic Wines
  • Alternative Wine Styles
  • Niche cultivars – like Portuguese cultivars
  • Old Vine wines
  • Shiraz blends
  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Chenin blanc
  • Rosé / Blanc de Noir
  • Red Blends
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Shiraz
  • More rum and gin classes, like Sloe Gin
  • Flavoured spirits of every kind
  • Whiskies, brandy and Mezcal from any country or type.
  • Non grape wines
  • Honey wine (Mead)
  • Apple wine (Cider)

SO WHAT IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER EVENTS?

Wine

Spirit

Pannellists

Awards

This event will use a totally different set of criteria to determine winners. Rosé wines will only be pitted against other Rosé wines, while other classes such as Cabernet Sauvignon will battle it out by setting the standards for judging amongst themselves.

Products will determine the standard within a class, for example, gins will not be pitted against vodkas, and each class will set their own benchmark.

Millennials do not have the same tastes as their parents, nor did they grow up in an era with limited choices dominated by a few major producers. They are more experimental and are not dictated to by tradition and are on their way to becoming an influential fine-wine consuming generation. Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge will roster a significant percentage of younger panellists to give millennials a voice.

Winning wines and spirits will be able to garner a Gold award for quality, as well as a Gold Value Award for value for money, if they qualify. If a product wins both these awards, it will be combined with one Double Gold Award.

Judging

Wine

This event will use a totally different set of criteria to determine winners. Rosé wines will only be pitted against other Rosé wines, while other classes such as Cabernet Sauvignon will battle it out by setting the standards for judging amongst themselves. Similarly, Chenin blanc wines will set the standard amongst themselves and will not be compared to Bordeaux blends.

Spirits

Products will determine the standard within a class, for example gins will not be pitted against vodkas, and each class will set their own benchmark.

Value Scale

Only wines that are R150 including VAT or below, and spirits that are R300 including VAT or below will be judged for the gold value award. The score will then be related to price to determine their value.

Particulars

  • Early bird entries are R890.00 plus VAT each.
  • Normal entries are, R1095.00 plus VAT each.
  • Single and double stickers are R375 excluding VAT per 1000, and come in rolls of 1000, and 2000.
  • A wine sample has to comprise three 750ml bottles, or the volumetric equivalent thereof, and a spirit sample has to comprise two 500 or 750ml bottles, or the volumetric equivalent thereof.
  • No minimum stock quantity is needed.

Categories

To quickly jump to different categories, use these shortcuts:

Spirit Coolers can be entered in class 53. Spirit Coolers.

White Wines

1. Perlé or slightly Sparkling Wine (RS<=10g/L)
2. Perlé or slightly Sparkling Wine (RS>10g/L)
3. Sparkling Fruit Wine
4. Sparkling Mead (Sparkling Honey Wine)
5. Sparkling Flavoured White Wine
6. Sparkling Flavoured Red Wine
7. Sparkling Wine (Not Bottle Fermented) (RS<=15g/L)
8. Sparkling Wine (Not Bottle Fermented) (RS>15g/L)
9. Method Ancestrale
10. Sparkling Wine Bottle Fermented Zero Dossage
11. Sparkling Wine Bottle Fermented (RS<=15g/L)
12. Sparkling Wine Bottle Fermented (RS>15g/L)
13. Low Alcohol White Wine
14. Albarino
15. Bukettraube
16. Cape Riesling (Crouchen blanc)
17. Chardonnay (RS<=10g/L)
18. Chardonnay (RS>10g/L)
19. Chenin blanc (RS<=10g/L)
20. Chenin blanc (RS>10g/L)
21. Clairette Blanche
22. Colombar (RS<=10g/L)
23. Colombar (RS>10g/L)
24. Grenache Blanc
25. Grüner Veltliner
26. Hanepoot
27. Marzanne
28. White Muscadel (RS<=10g/L)
29. White Muscadel (RS>10g/L)
30. Nouvelle
31. Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio)
32. Rousanne
33. Sauvignon blanc (RS<=10g/L)
34. Sauvignon blanc (RS>10g/L)
35. Semillon
36. Verdelho
37. Viognier
38. Weisser Riesling (Rhine Riesling)
39. Other Single White Non-Muscat Cultivar (RS<=10g/L)
40. Other Single White Muscat Cultivar (RS>10g/L)
41. Other Single White Cultivar (RS>10g/L)
42. White Blend (RS<=10g/L)
43. White Blend (RS>10g/L)
44. White wine from a red cultivar
45. Skin-Contact White wine (Orange Wine)
46. Long barrel aged white (white/gris) – 2 or more years in barrel
47. Natural pale (Non – fortified flor aged)
48. Alternative White Wine
49. Sun Wine
50. Blanc de Noir and Rosé (RS<=10g/L)
51. Blanc de Noir and Rosé (RS>10g/L)
52. Flavoured White Wine Still
53. Spirit Coolers

Red Wines

54. Low Alcohol Red Wine
55. Barbera
56. Cinsaut
57. Cabernet Franc
58. Cabernet Sauvignon
59. Carignan
60. Grenache Noir
61. Nebbiolo
62. Nero (Nero d’Avola)
63. Pinot Noir
64. Pinotage – Non-coffee style
65. Pinotage Coffee Style
66. Primitivo
67. Sangiovese
68. Malbec
69. Mourvedre
70. Nebbiolo
71. Petit Verdot
72. Petit Syrah (Durif)
73. Ruby Cabernet
74. Shiraz (Syrah)
75. Souzao
76. Tannat
77. Tempranillo
78. Tinta Barocca
79. Tinta Roriz
80. Touriga Nacional
81. Touriga Franca
82. Touriga Francesca
83. Other Red Cultivars
84. Bordeaux Styled Red Blend (May only contain the 5 Bdx cultivars)
85. Cape Blend (Must contain at least 30% Pinotage)
86. Rhône Style Blend
87. Shiraz Blend (must contain minimum 30% Shiraz)
88. Red and White Cultivar Blend
89. Other Red Blend
90. Alternative Red Wine
91. Flavoured Red Wine Still
92. Red Vermouth
93. Sweet Red (RS>10g/L)
94. Other Type of Wine

Sweet Wines

95. Natural Sweet Wine (RS>50g/L)
96. Late Harvest (RS>30g/L)
97. Special Late Harvest (RS>50g/L)
98. Noble Late Harvest/ Botrytis wine
99. Icewine
100. Straw Wine
101. Cape White Port
102. Cape Pink Port
103. Cape Ruby Port
104. Cape Tawny Port
105. Cape Vintage Port
106. Cape Late Bottled Vintage Port
107. Port Other
108. White Non-Muscat Jerepigo
109. Red Non-Muscat Jeripigo
110. Hanepoot Jeripigo
111. White Muscadel Jeripigo
112. Red Muscadel Jeripigo
113. Fino Sherry
114. Oloroso Sherry
115. Cream Sherry (Full Crème)

Wines not from grapes

3. Sparkling Fruit Wine
4. Sparkling Mead (Sparkling Honey Wine)
94. Other Type of Wine
116. Rice Wine Unflavoured
117. Rice Wine Flavoured
118. Fruit Wine Unfortified
119. Fruit Wine Unfortied and Flavoured
120. Fruit Wine fortified
121. Mead European/American Style
122. Mead African Style
123. Cider Normal
124. Cider – Perry
125. Cider – Wood Aged Cider
126. Cider – Ice Cider
127. Cider Flavoured

Spirits

128. Absinthe White (Blanche)
129. Absinthe Green (Verte)
130. Absinthe – Other styles incl. Bohemian
131. Vodka/Eau de Vie unflavoured
132. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Apple Flavoured
133. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Berry Flavoured
134. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Citrus Flavoured
135. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Cucumber Flavoured
136. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Strawberry flavoured
137. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Other Fruit Flavoured
138. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Caramel Flavoured
139. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Chocolate Flavoured
140. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Coconut Flavoured
141. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Herb Flavoured
142. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Nut Flavoured
143. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Spice Flavoured
144. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Vanilla Flavoured
145. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Vegetable Flavoured
146. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Other Flavours
147. Gin – Dutch type /Jenever Young (Jonge)
148. Gin – Dutch type /Jenever Old (Oude)
149. Gin – Dutch type /Jenever (Korenwijn)
150. Gin – London Dry
151. Gin – Old Tom style
152. Gin – Plymouth style
153. Gin – Barrel Aged
154. Gin – Navy Style
155. Gin – Sloe Gin
156. Gin – New style
157. Gin – Flavoured
158. Gin Other
159. Tequila
160. Mezcal
161. Sotol
162. Witblits – Unaged brandy made from grapes
163. Brandy (from grapes) Non Vintage/ Age not Defined
164. Brandy (from grapes) 3-8 Years
165. Brandy (from grapes) 9-12 years
166. Brandy (from grapes) 13 or more years old
167. Brandy (from grapes) Buchu flavoured
168. Brandy (from grapes) Ginger flavoured
169. Brandy (from grapes) Honeybush flavoured
170. Brandy (from grapes) Other Flavour
171. Grappa / Husk brandy – unflavoured
172. Grappa / Husk Brandy – infused or flavoured
173. Brandy from Fruit – Apple – Unaged
174. Brandy from fruit – Apricot – Unaged
175. Brandy from fruit – Cherries – Unaged
176. Brandy from fruit – Citrus – Unaged
177. Brandy from fruit – Fig – Unaged
178. Brandy from fruit – Maroela – Unaged
179. Brandy from fruit – Peach – Unaged
180. Brandy from fruit – Pear – Unaged
181. Brandy from fruit – Plum – Unaged
182. Brandy from other Fruit – Unaged
183. Brandy from fruit – Flavoured
184. Brandy from Fruit Aged 3 years or less
185. Brandy from Fruit Aged 3 years or more
186. Brandy Other
187. Whisky Scottish Blended
188. Whisky Scottish Single grain
189. Whisky Scottish Single malt
190. Whiskey Irish Blended
191. Whiskey Irish Single Grain
192. Whiskey Irish Single Malt
193. Whiskey USA Bourbon
194. Whiskey USA Blended
195. Whiskey USA Single Grain
196. Whiskey USA Single Malt
197. Whiskies – Rest of World – Blended
198. Whiskies – Rest of World – Single Grain
199. Whiskies – Rest of World – Single Malt
200. Whiskies -Other
201. Rum – Unaged – not spiced or flavoured
202. Rum – Unaged Spiced
203. Rum – Unaged Flavoured
204. Rum Aged (0-3 years)
205. Rum Aged (3-9 years)
206. Rum Aged (10-14 years)
207. Rum Aged (15 years or older)
208. Rum Aged with Solera Method
209. Spirits Other

Liqueurs

210. Aniseed Liqueur
211. Cassis Liqueur
212. Citrus Liqueur
213. Chocolate Liqueur
214. Coconut Liqueur
215. Coffee Liqueur
216. Non-flavoured Cream Liqueur
217. Flavoured Cream Liqueur
218. Elderflower Liqueur
219. Ginger Liqueur
220. Peppermint Liqueur
221. Marula Liqueur
222. Herb Liqueur
223. Egg Liqueur
224. Fruit Liqueur
225. Herbal/Botanical/Spiced Liqueur
226. Nut Liqueur
227. Dairy/Cream Liqueurs
228. Honey Liqueur
229. Whiskey Liqueur
230. Brandy Liqueur
231. Other Liqueur

Questions?

About the event

The Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge was established five years ago to award both quality, and value wines and spirits with gold awards. Awards will go to spirits and wines of excellent quality, and wines at R150 and below and spirits that are R300 or below that are great value. Wines and spirits that receive both awards will receive a double gold award.

For wine:

Focus on niche and overlooked classes:

  • Organic Wines
  • Alternative Wine Styles
  • Niche cultivars – like Portuguese cultivars
  • Old Vine wines
  • Shiraz blends

Focus on Crowd Pleasers:

  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Chenin blanc
  • Rosé / Blanc de Noir
  • Red Blends
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Shiraz

For Spirits:

More Spirit classes:

  • More rum and gin classes, like Sloe Gin
  • Flavoured spirits of every kind
  • Whiskies, brandy and Mezcal from any country or type.

Mead, Cider and Fruit wines:

  • Non grape wines
  • Honey wine (Mead)
  • Apple wine (Cider)
  • An award shows that your product was evaluated and awarded by independent third-party sommeliers and wine and spirit experts, supporting your claims of superior quality.
  • Awards are a symbol of quality to use in marketing – Artwork can be downloaded for free.
  • You will receive an award certificate. If the same product is marketed under different brand names, you can receive extra certificates for those at no extra cost.
  • An award will serve as content for social media and PR campaigns.
  • An award will highlight the brand’s prestige and standing.
  • An award could just give you that extra edge you needed, making a buying decision so much easier.
  • Stickers will be available at a cost of R375.00 excluding VAT per 1000.

Gold awards will be awarded to excellent quality products, excellent value spirits at R300 and below per bottle, and wines that are R150 and below per bottle. Products that are both excellent value and excellent quality will earn a Double Gold award.

Stickers may be purchased from the organisers and may not be printed by any other party.

There will be only one print run, and extra stickers will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Register online and thereby creating an account.
  • Read all about the entry process below and enter your products online.
  • Make payment for your entries.
  • Send your samples at the appropriate time for the judges to receive them in time.
  • Judging process
  • Results are released
  • Registration and entries open – 7 March 2023
  • Early bird close – 4 July 2023 (After this the normal entry fee applies)
  • Final Close for entries – 8 August 2023

Delivery of samples to the venue outside Stellenbosch, South Africa – 14 and 15 August 2023 (Monday and Tuesday).

Results released 21 August 2023

Early bird entry fee – R890.00 excluding VAT

Normal entry fee – R1095.00 excluding VAT

Registration

As long as a wine is being sold in South Africa, that wine can be entered. Wines produces in other countries do not have to be certified locally.

Every year, the details of companies change, or we need additional information. We, therefore, require all companies to register afresh every year. If you have registered for the year, please see the question below.

When you register, you receive an email with your username and password. Please search for this email, and if necessary look in your spam folder.

To avoid missing any emails, or correspondence, it is the responsibility of entrants to add the domain “themeritchallenge.com” to the safe sender’s list, to avoid missing any correspondence. In Outlook, go to the “Home” Tab, and in the “Delete” group, select the arrow next to “Junk”. Select “Junk Email Options”. In the “Junk Email Options” dialogue box, go to the “Safe Senders” tab. Select Add. Add the domain themeritchallenge.com and click “OK”. The domain will then appear on the safe sender’s list. Select “OK”.

If you cannot find your login details, please contact us.

Once entries have been completed, the entrant may print the invoice for the entry fees online, after logging into their account.

There are three ways to pay:

  • Bank EFT
  • Walletdoc – All credit cards including Amex accepted (please email us for a link)
  • Payfast online payment – Some credit cards including Amex not accepted.

Once you have paid your entry fee, there are no follow-up fees unless you want to order stickers.

You are responsible for all costs associated with delivering the samples.

Entries that are not fully paid by the cut-off date will be disqualified. Samples of disqualified products will not be judged or returned.

No refund of entry fees will be done once entries have closed. If the entry is withdrawn, or if the sample does not arrive in time, no refund will be given. It is the responsibility of the entrant to manage entries and delivery, to make sure the correct samples arrive on time, and only samples that have to be judged are entered.

Entering

White Wines

1.Perlé or slightly Sparkling Wine (RS<=10g/L)
2. Perlé or slightly Sparkling Wine (RS>10g/L)
3. Sparkling Fruit Wine
4. Sparkling Mead (Sparkling Honey Wine)
5. Sparkling Flavoured White Wine
6. Sparkling Flavoured Red Wine
7. Sparkling Wine (Not Bottle Fermented) (RS<=15g/L)
8. Sparkling Wine (Not Bottle Fermented) (RS>15g/L)
9. Method Ancestrale
10. Sparkling Wine Bottle Fermented Zero Dossage
11. Sparkling Wine Bottle Fermented (RS<=15g/L)
12. Sparkling Wine Bottle Fermented (RS>15g/L)
13. Low Alcohol White Wine
14. Albarino
15. Bukettraube
16. Cape Riesling (Crouchen blanc)
17. Chardonnay (RS<=10g/L)
18. Chardonnay (RS>10g/L)
19. Chenin blanc (RS<=10g/L)
20. Chenin blanc (RS>10g/L)
21. Clairette Blanche
22. Colombar (RS<=10g/L)
23. Colombar (RS>10g/L)
24. Grenache Blanc
25. Grüner Veltliner
26. Hanepoot
27. Marzanne
28. White Muscadel (RS<=10g/L)
29. White Muscadel (RS>10g/L)
30. Nouvelle
31. Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio)
32. Rousanne
33. Sauvignon blanc (RS<=10g/L)
34. Sauvignon blanc (RS>10g/L)
35. Semillon
36. Verdelho
37. Viognier
38. Weisser Riesling (Rhine Riesling)
39. Other Single White Non-Muscat Cultivar (RS<=10g/L)
40. Other Single White Muscat Cultivar (RS>10g/L)
41. Other Single White Cultivar (RS>10g/L)
42. White Blend (RS<=10g/L)
43. White Blend (RS>10g/L)
44. White wine from a red cultivar
45. Skin-Contact White wine (Orange Wine)
46. Long barrel aged white (white/gris) – 2 or more years in barrel
47. Natural pale (Non – fortified flor aged)
48. Alternative White Wine
49. Sun Wine
50. Blanc de Noir and Rosé (RS<=10g/L)
51. Blanc de Noir and Rosé (RS>10g/L)
52. Flavoured White Wine Still
53. Spirit Coolers

Red Wines

54. Low Alcohol Red Wine
55. Barbera
56. Cinsaut
57. Cabernet Franc
58. Cabernet Sauvignon
59. Carignan
60. Grenache Noir
61. Nebbiolo
62. Nero (Nero d’Avola)
63. Pinot Noir
64. Pinotage – Non-coffee style
65. Pinotage Coffee Style
66. Primitivo
67. Sangiovese
68. Malbec
69. Mourvedre
70. Nebbiolo
71. Petit Verdot
72. Petit Syrah (Durif)
73. Ruby Cabernet
74. Shiraz (Syrah)
75. Souzao
76. Tannat
77. Tempranillo
78. Tinta Barocca
79. Tinta Roriz
80. Touriga Nacional
81. Touriga Franca
82. Touriga Francesca
83. Other Red Cultivars
84. Bordeaux Styled Red Blend (May only contain the 5 Bdx cultivars)
85. Cape Blend (Must contain at least 30% Pinotage)
86. Rhône Style Blend
87. Shiraz Blend (must contain minimum 30% Shiraz)
88. Red and White Cultivar Blend
89. Other Red Blend
90. Alternative Red Wine
91. Flavoured Red Wine Still
92. Red Vermouth
93. Sweet Red (RS>10g/L)
94. Other Type of Wine

Sweet Wines

95. Natural Sweet Wine (RS>50g/L)
96. Late Harvest (RS>30g/L)
97. Special Late Harvest (RS>50g/L)
98. Noble Late Harvest/ Botrytis wine
99. Icewine
100. Straw Wine
101. Cape White Port
102. Cape Pink Port
103. Cape Ruby Port
104. Cape Tawny Port
105. Cape Vintage Port
106. Cape Late Bottled Vintage Port
107. Port Other
108. White Non-Muscat Jerepigo
109. Red Non-Muscat Jeripigo
110. Hanepoot Jeripigo
111. White Muscadel Jeripigo
112. Red Muscadel Jeripigo
113. Fino Sherry
114. Oloroso Sherry
115. Cream Sherry (Full Crème)

Wines not from grapes

3. Sparkling Fruit Wine
4. Sparkling Mead (Sparkling Honey Wine)
94. Other Type of Wine
116. Rice Wine Unflavoured
117. Rice Wine Flavoured
118. Fruit Wine Unfortified
119. Fruit Wine Unfortied and Flavoured
120. Fruit Wine fortified
121. Mead European/American Style
122. Mead African Style
123. Cider Normal
124. Cider – Perry
125. Cider – Wood Aged Cider
126. Cider – Ice Cider
127. Cider Flavoured

Spirits

128. Absinthe White (Blanche)
129. Absinthe Green (Verte)
130. Absinthe – Other styles incl. Bohemian
131. Vodka/Eau de Vie unflavoured
132. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Apple Flavoured
133. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Berry Flavoured
134. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Citrus Flavoured
135. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Cucumber Flavoured
136. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Strawberry flavoured
137. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Other Fruit Flavoured
138. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Caramel Flavoured
139. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Chocolate Flavoured
140. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Coconut Flavoured
141. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Herb Flavoured
142. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Nut Flavoured
143. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Spice Flavoured
144. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Vanilla Flavoured
145. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Vegetable Flavoured
146. Vodka/Eau de Vie – Other Flavours
147. Gin – Dutch type /Jenever Young (Jonge)
148. Gin – Dutch type /Jenever Old (Oude)
149. Gin – Dutch type /Jenever (Korenwijn)
150. Gin – London Dry
151. Gin – Old Tom style
152. Gin – Plymouth style
153. Gin – Barrel Aged
154. Gin – Navy Style
155. Gin – Sloe Gin
156. Gin – New style
157. Gin – Flavoured
158. Gin Other
159. Tequila
160. Mezcal
161. Sotol
162. Witblits – Unaged brandy made from grapes
163. Brandy (from grapes) Non-Vintage/ Age not Defined
164. Brandy (from grapes) 3-8 Years
165. Brandy (from grapes) 9-12 years
166. Brandy (from grapes) 13 or more years old
167. Brandy (from grapes) Buchu flavoured
168. Brandy (from grapes) Ginger flavoured
169. Brandy (from grapes) Honeybush flavoured
170. Brandy (from grapes) Other Flavour
171. Grappa / Husk brandy – unflavoured
172. Grappa / Husk Brandy – infused or flavoured
173. Brandy from Fruit – Apple – Unaged
174. Brandy from fruit – Apricot – Unaged
175. Brandy from fruit – Cherries – Unaged
176. Brandy from fruit – Citrus – Unaged
177. Brandy from fruit – Fig – Unaged
178. Brandy from fruit – Maroela – Unaged
179. Brandy from fruit – Peach – Unaged
180. Brandy from fruit – Pear – Unaged
181. Brandy from fruit – Plum – Unaged
182. Brandy from other fruit – Unaged
183. Brandy from fruit – Flavoured
184. Brandy from Fruit Aged 3 years or less
185. Brandy from Fruit Aged 3 years or more
186. Brandy Other
187. Whisky, Scottish Blended
188. Whisky, Scottish Single grain
189. Whisky Scottish Single malt
190. Whiskey Irish Blended
191. Whiskey Irish Single Grain
192. Whiskey Irish Single Malt
193. Whiskey USA Bourbon
194. Whiskey USA Blended
195. Whiskey USA Single Grain
196. Whiskey USA Single Malt
197. Whiskies – Rest of World – Blended
198. Whiskies – Rest of World – Single Grain
199. Whiskies – Rest of World – Single Malt
200. Whiskies -Other
201. Rum – Unaged – not spiced or flavoured
202. Rum – Unaged Spiced
203. Rum – Unaged Flavoured
204. Rum Aged (0-3 years)
205. Rum Aged (3-9 years)
206. Rum Aged (10–14 years)
207. Rum Aged (15 years or older)
208. Rum Aged with Solera Method
209. Spirits Other

Liqueurs

210. Aniseed Liqueur
211. Cassis Liqueur
212. Citrus Liqueur
213. Chocolate Liqueur
214. Coconut Liqueur
215. Coffee Liqueur
216. Non-flavoured Cream Liqueur
217. Flavoured Cream Liqueur
218. Elderflower Liqueur
219. Ginger Liqueur
220. Peppermint Liqueur
221. Marula Liqueur
222. Herb Liqueur
223. Egg Liqueur
224. Fruit Liqueur
225. Herbal/Botanical/Spiced Liqueur
226. Nut Liqueur
227. Dairy/Cream Liqueurs
228. Honey Liqueur
229. Whiskey Liqueur
230. Brandy Liqueur
231. Other Liqueur

For certified wines:

For certified wines, one entry consist of a wine from a particular application number. The same wine with different application numbers will be considered as different wines.

An uncertified wine does not constitute a wine that will be certified at a later stage. Wine that will be certified in future, may not be entered, until it has an application number and has been provisionally certified after being tasted by the wine and spirits board.

Other products that will not be certified:

If the same product that is chemically, and taste-wise identical, come in different forms of packaging (for example glass and plastic refills) or in different sizes (250 ml, 500 ml etc.), they only have to be entered once in whichever size presented. We will provide additional personalised certificates to all the packaging sizes if necessary, but the certificate is normally made out to the product, and not the particular packaging format.

If the same product (that is chemically and flavour-wise identical), is available under different brand names, the product may only be entered once, and we will provide additional personalised certificates to all the brand names if the product is awarded.

The same product cannot be entered twice. The same product may not be entered by different parties or people.

  • A product may only be entered into one category per year.
  • Please include the flavour or any other distinguishing details of your products after the name of your product, to be able to identify every product afterwards.
  • Products that are entered must be sensorially and chemically identical to commercial products they represent in every practical way.
  • Companies may enter as many products as they want.
  • You are welcome to choose your own category or contact us.
  • The organisers may change the category of the product to a category more suitable for judging at its own discretion.

When you enter, you are asked to upload photos of the products that can later be used in social media to promote the winners. It is highly advised to upload an image to make use of the opportunity, but it is not compulsory.

The photo/graphic should have the following characteristics.

  • Square image with product in the centre with a white or see-through background.
  • The product featured should be the exact product entered.
  • The photo must feature the product alone without any decoration, accompaniments, or text.
  • Besides the product in its own packaging, the photo should not show any other company or product logos.
  • Photos that do not adhere to these criteria might not be used.
  • The image should measure 1080 x 1080 pixels or more.

There are three ways to pay:

  • Bank EFT
  • Walletdoc – All credit cards including Amex accepted (please email us for a link)
  • Payfast online payment – Some credit cards including Amex not accepted.

Once you have paid your entry fee, there are no follow-up fees unless you want to order stickers.

You are responsible for all costs associated with delivering the samples.

Entries that are not fully paid by the cut-off date will be disqualified. Samples of disqualified products will not be judged or returned.

No refund of entry fees will be done once entries have closed. If the entry is withdrawn, or if the sample does not arrive in time, no refund will be given. It is the responsibility of the entrant to manage entries and delivery, to make sure the correct samples arrive on time, and only samples that have to be judged are entered.

  • Registration and entries open – 7 March 2023
  • Early bird close – 4 July 2023 (After this the normal entry fee applies)
  • Final Close for entries – 8 August 2023

Delivery of samples to the venue outside Stellenbosch, South Africa – 14th and 15th August 2023 (Monday and Tuesday).

Results released 21 August 2023

Early bird entry fee – R890.00 excluding VAT

Normal entry fee – R1095.00 excluding VAT

Sending samples

DHL is our preferred logistics partner.

You may use any courier you choose, but DHL is our preferred partner, especially for samples that come from overseas. They have intimate knowledge of local conditions, and when there are problems, we have a direct line of communication with them, whereas other couriers may not jump to the task. It is up to you.

When making use of DHL, please contact:

Marijke Douglas by email at Marijke.Douglas@dhl.com or phone her on +27 (0)21 872 4717 for more details.

Samples must be delivered between 09:00 and 16:00 on the 14th and 15th of August 2023 (Monday and Tuesday).

Participants may use any courier, but please ensure that samples are delivered to:

The Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge
C/o Wanda Cronjé
Nietvoorbij Experimental Cellar
Nietvoorbij,
Klapmuts Road (R44),
Stellenbosch
South Africa

The person receiving the samples:

Wanda Cronjé

Email:wanda@ttpromotions.co.za

Tel: 082 920 1783

Samples must be delivered between 9:00 and 16:00 on the two days allocated.

Judging of products

We make use of the best sommeliers, Cape Wine Masters, and wine and spirits experts.

During judging, products are always evaluated double-blind, meaning that the tasters have no idea of who produced the products, or the name of the products, except the type of product evaluated, and the needs and expectations that the product is supposed to fulfil.

 

The judges each make up their own minds as to the quality of the product, without conferring with each other to reach a consensus. The judges’ score is not subject to their own taste, instead, they evaluate products from the viewpoint of consumers who loves products in that category.

Sticker and Award FAQs

The award may only be used for the particular product that was entered, but if the exact same product (that is organoleptically and chemically identical) is marketed under a different brand name, the award may be used on that product as well. An additional award certificate will be granted at no extra cost to the other identical products.  For wine, the award may only be used on wine with the particular application number that entered.

The stickers will be available approximately two weeks after the results have been confirmed.

The stickers will be available for collection at an address in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa, for the account of the entrant. It is the responsibility of the entrant to arrange payment for the stickers, and arrange for the pick-up of the stickers.

  • Stickers come in multiples of 1 000.
  • Stickers are 25 mm in diameter. Double award stickers measure 25 x 47mm.
  • The stickers are printed with bright, cold foil.
  • The stickers come on rolls that have a 41 mm core diameter, and are wound leading edge left.
  • Different core sizes, or winding techniques if needed, must be specified when the final sticker count is confirmed.

Stickers will be available to be used with winning products at R375.00 excluding VAT.

  • There are no licensing costs, and the entrants are free to use the award artwork as they see fit for a period of three years.
  • Stickers may only be printed by the Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge.
  • Sticker and award artwork may be incorporated into the labels of products at no extra cost.
  • Artwork may only be used in association with the product that won the award, for a period of three years.
  • Award artwork may be used on the awarded producer’s website, or email signature to show that they won an award, but must be associated with the specific products that won the award.
  • Award artwork may not be used in any way where it is implied that other products that did not win awards, won awards.
  • If the product changes significantly chemically, or sensorially, the award cannot be used in association with the product anymore.

Miscellaneous FAQs

Discounts will be given to entries in the form of a reduced fee (the early bird fee) for entries done before 6 July 2023.

Products from countries outside South Africa are welcome to enter, and do not need any certification.

  • A product may only be entered once, even if it is available under a different brand name.
  • Entries will only be accepted in English.
  • Tank samples will not be accepted as entries into the event.
  • There is no minimum stock quantity needed to enter a product.
  • A product that received an award in a previous year’s event may be entered again.
  • Each participant will be responsible for all delivery costs, customs, duties, taxes and insurance. These must be paid by the participant before sending the entry samples, and the participant will be responsible for clearing and the associated costs at customs where applicable.
  • It is the participant’s responsibility to have insurance for samples, as they will be transported at the participant’s risk. Tank Town Promotions (Pty) Ltd will not be accountable in any way whatsoever for any loss or damage to the samples before, during, or after the event.
  • All samples are to be clearly labelled to identify the entries. This information includes the name of the manufacturer, the commercial name of the product, and the particular variant of the product if appropriate.
  • Because this is an international event, the basic guidelines for classes must be followed, but it is up to the entrant to choose a class that is appropriate relative to their own frame of reference. The judges reserve the right to move the product to a more appropriate class.
  • The same product, even if under a different brand or name, may only be entered once.
  • Any products left over after judging become the property of the event.
  • Only commercially operated importers, producers or distributors that abide by the food laws of the country of origin may enter.
  • Winners will be asked to supply the event organisers with high-resolution pack shots for use on its website, and in marketing materials. By entering this event, the participant grants the Gold Wine Awards unlimited use of these images.
  • Be sure to securely wrap entries with bubble wrap or similar material to secure your entries against breakage. Please wrap your final package in a plastic bag and make it leakproof to prevent leakage and damage to other products. Label  the samples as fragile.
  • Specialised packaging material or any other packaging material will not be returned. Specialised packaging material can significantly preserve the final quality and viability of the sample being judged.
  • If styrofoam peanuts are used for packaging, please secure them in a container that will not cause leakage or spillage of the packaging materials.
  • International entries must take the necessary precautions to prevent breakage and hold-ups in customs, and are encouraged to use local agents to deliver samples.
  • If more than one box of samples is delivered, please mark the boxes as “Box 1 of 5”, “Box 2 of 5” etc.
  • After winners are announced, no additional samples are needed.
  • Leftover samples will become the property of the event.
  • The rules of the event may change at any time and are at the sole discretion of the organisers. The amended rules will be published on the website. If an entrant does cannot abide by the rules, they must withdraw the relevant entries.
  • Please be aware that to enter this event, you have to also abide by the website terms, Privacy Policy and General Event terms as set out at www.goldwineawards.com

For spirits or other uncertified products, no WSR certificate is needed.

Only wine from South Africa need WSR certificates.

  • Unlabelled samples must be representative of the final product, and must be in their final bottled state.
  • Tank samples are not allowed.
  • Unlabelled samples must have a sticker on the bottle with all the relevant entry details.
  • Wines can be entered as long as the wine has a current tasting date and was approved by SAWIS.

The tasting procedure will be audited by a reputable auditing firm to ensure the judges are not influenced and the tasting is done blind and conforms to international standards.

An electronic certificate will be sent by email to the winners. If the same product is available under different product names, additional certificates can be requested at no extra cost.

Some of our partners that help make this event a success

Contact

General enquiries and administration

Sanet van Heerden (hello@themeritchallenge.com) or phone her on 084 446 0412.

Bottles needed for SAMPLES

A wine sample has to comprise three 750ml bottles, or the volumetric equivalent thereof, and a spirit sample has to comprise two 500 or 750ml bottles, or the volumetric equivalent thereof.

Drop-off location for samples

To be accepted, samples should be delivered between 9:00 and 16:00, on the two days allocated, to the drop-off location.

Address:

Nietvoorbij Experimental Cellar
Care of Wanda Cronjé,
Nietvoorbij,
Klapmuts Road (R44),
Stellenbosch

Attention: Wanda Cronjé
Tel: 082 920 1783
Email: wanda@ttpromotions.co.za

Directions:
When you enter the main gate at Nietvoorbij, go through the security boom and drive up the road all the way until you reach the white walls at the top. You then turn left towards the Experimental Cellar and drive past the stairs on the right. Keep driving around the building, and to the right you will see the entrance to the back door of the cellar where the samples must be delivered.

Rules

  1. Submission of samples and/or payment of entry fees constitutes acceptance of all the rules.
  2. Tank samples will not be accepted as entries into the event.
  3. All non-flavoured wines must be accompanied by a SAWIS (South African Wine Industry Information & Systems – www.sawis.co.za) application number, and the stickers awarded may only be applied to the wine attached to the application number. If a certain wine has more than one application number, the wines must be entered separately.
  4. Each non-flavoured wine has to have a current WSR2 or WSR4 certificate showing that the wine was approved on the strength of taste and analysis by SAWIS, or a Department of Agriculture Wine-on-Line screen capture printout to show the wine has a current tasting date. This certificate must be current (i.e. the wine must have been tasted and approved by the board no more than one year before the first day of delivery in the case of a white wine and 18 months in the case of a red wine. A sample will not be accepted without this certificate. No refunds will be paid if the WSR2 or WSR4 certificate is not current.
  5. Each category will be determined by the product information on the label.
  6. There is no minimum quantity needed to enter a product.
  7. There is no limit to the number of entries per producer. However, each wine, flavoured wine or spirit may only be entered once into the event (even if it is under a different label), and any participant may enter more than one wine, flavoured wine or spirit in a class. Examples are wineries that produce several wines of the same varietal type, but with different vineyard designations or vintages.
  8. A wine that has not been certified as a cultivar wine, although it may be one, may be entered into a blended category.
  9. A product that received an award in a previous year’s event may be entered again.
  10. Entries and registration will be accepted online from the start of entries up to midnight on close of entries. Proof of payment must be emailed to hello@themeritchallenge.com before midnight on the closing date for entries to be accepted.
  11. Invoices for entries must be printed online by the participant, and paid before the final close of entries.
  12. Small categories may be put together at the discretion of the organisers if there are too few entries in certain categories.
  13. A wine sample must comprise three 750ml bottles, or the volumetric equivalent thereof, and a spirit sample must comprise two 750ml bottles, or the volumetric equivalent thereof.
  14. The samples must be delivered to the drop-off point between 9am and 4pm on the two days allocated to be accepted into the event.
  15. Winners will be notified by email, and stickers will be available for collection about two weeks later. Proof of payment for both the entries and stickers is needed before stickers can be collected. Stickers generally come in multiples of 1000 and 2000.
  16. Quantities of stickers ordered that are not multiples of 1000 will be rounded up and invoiced as such.
  17. By entering the event, the entrant commits to paying for the number of stickers indicated before the required deadline for the products that receive awards.
  18. The producer may only use the stickers awarded on the particular product that was entered and won the award. Stickers may not be put onto another batch of product similar to the one entered, that did not win an award in this year’s event. Participants may only market their winning products in conjunction with the year of the event the product won the award.
  19. The event logo or stickers may not be displayed on their own for purposes of marketing, but must be accompanied by the details of the particular product that won, or they may be photographed on the product that won the award.
  20. Any samples remaining at the conclusion of the judging become the property of the event.
  21. The judging process will be entirely confidential, and no details will be released concerning the judging process and reasoning. No feedback of any nature will be given.
  22. The decision of the judges is final, and no changes will be made to awards after the judging process is complete. In the event of a dispute, the event management’s decision will be final.
  23. No refund of entry fees will be made.
  24. By entering the event, the entrant states that the information provided is factually and legally correct.
  25. If a participant does not follow all the rules of the event or legal requirements as required by SAWIS, the event has the right to disqualify the particular entry concerned or the entire year’s entries, or ban the producer from the event.
  26. Tank Town Promotions (Pty) Ltd will not make a list available of all the producers that took part in the event, or reveal the scores assigned to any product, or make available the details of products that were not awarded. It remains the prerogative of Tank Town Promotions (Pty) Ltd to publish results of awarded products as they see fit.
  27. Entries will only be accepted in English.
  28. Entries must be completed in full, and entries that were not completed in full could be declared void.
  29. Employees of the event and their immediate family are not allowed to enter the event.
  30. If an entrant does not comply with the event rules, their entries may be cancelled.
  31. The producer whose product is entered must be fully aware of their submission, and must grant the person entering the event the right to enter the product and order stickers. If this is not found to be the case, the person entering the event will be liable for any financial commitment made.
  32. In the event that for any reason possible the judging of the wine cannot take place, or entrants cannot be given results, half of the entrants’ fees will be refunded. No other damages will be awarded by the event, or any of the companies involved.
  33. For any claim to be made against Tank Town Promotions (Pty) Ltd for defective stickers, the stickers must be returned to Postnet in Stellenbosch within 7 days after the date of delivery to Postnet. Tank Town Promotions (Pty) Ltd will within its discretion either replace or pass a credit for defective stickers so proven, but shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, or any other loss, including loss to third parties and legal expenses, arising out of errors in carrying out providing stickers, or by delay in delivery, or by unsuitability of goods for use intended.
  34. Event management cannot be held liable for any damage incurred to stickers once labels have been accepted by a client or by a third party transportation company.
  35. Event management may change the event rules without notice, and publish them on the website without giving notice to entrants. If an entrant does not want to comply with the new event rules, they can cancel their entries up to the date entries close. After this time, entrants have to comply with the event rules.