As with most things in SA wine, the decision whether to enter the latest wine competition, Top 100 SA Wines, the Oral Oscars, has become a political hot potato. Some thoughts on whether to enter or sit this one out:
Ten reasons to enter Top 100 SA Wines:
1. If a Ukrainian nurse, Elizabeth Taylor sunglasses and designer bling kept Muammar Gaddafi in power for 42 years, surely gaudy stickers can sell bottles of wine;
2. To support WOSA – the WOSA CEO is invited to serve on industry executive to “to assist in the global repositioning of South Africa’s fine wines”;
3. To support the little guy in his legal struggle with the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show;
4. To show confidence in a panel dominated by British Masters of Wine;
5. To challenge the dominance of the sighted Platter wine guide;
6. To bring new blood into the wine exhibition circuit;
7. Bringing Tim Atkin, Jamie Goode and co. to SA may result in a mini tourist boom at the top end of the market;
8. To give wine hacks something to carry on about;
9. To aid the hard-pressed local sticker printing industry, knocked by the collapse of exports of bottled wine;
10. To give credibility to the competition.
Ten reasons not to enter Top 100 SA Wines:
1. How many medals does Château La Tour wear? Do French first growths enter such competitions?
2. To stick it to WOSA and the white, male, middle-aged members of the self-appointed industry executive;
3. To put a Johnnie come lately back in his box. There are altogether too many vintrepeneurs sucking blood from the SA wine golden goose and this competition is just too expensive;
4. To strike a blow against cultural cringe and stick it to in a panel dominated by British Masters of Wine;
5. To show support to Platter, which needs all it can get;
6. There are altogether too many wine consumer shows which cost the industry millions;
7. Reducing the carbon footprint of SA wine by leaving Tim Atkin, Jamie Goode and co. in their bedsits in Blighty;
8. To bring down the curtain on the Beano comic antics of some irresponsible elements in the SA wine press;
9. To increase the green footprint of SA wine by limiting environmentally unfriendly bottle stickers;
10. With big names staying away in droves, how representative will this Top 100 be?
Considering all the coverage that the competition has received, have many producers put their hands up publicly and said “yes, we’re entering” or “no we’re not”?
Actually, a point no-one is considering and dawned on me having a glass of white the other evening: what is to be gained by staying away? NOTHING! And, interestingly, if the big names stay away for fear of being laughed at, then the spoils will be all the better for those who enter! I’m no fan of competitions per se, but it seems the odds of entering and coming away like Colin Firth at the Oscars is rather high.
Competitions that come from within our industry are mere self-promotion. Those that come, unexpectedly and uninvited, from outside the industry should be embraced, at least, as the outside world showing an interest!