The World Blind Wine Tasting Championships were held on Saturday 13th Oct in the Lanquedoc - with 23 countries participating. This competition is organised by French magazine la Revue du vin de France and it is 6th year of operation.
South Africa and Zimbabwe were the only teams representing Africa, with TeamSA's 6th appearance and TeamZim's 2nd.
Congratulations to Belgium who not only are the best in the world in the soccer stakes, but now also top of the pops in blind wine tasting!  2nd was Finland and 3rd France.

#TeamSA2018 aka #TeamNederburg are now ranked 10th in the world, with #TeamZim making it to 14th position - a considerable improvement for them from 2017.  

Jean Vincent Ridon, coach of #TeamSA2018 is super proud of his team - as their score of 105 is the best they have achieved in the 6 years since the inception of the competition.
The South African Team have just completed an incredible week, with Jean Vincent as their driver, tour guide and coach, taking them on a whirlwind tour to wineries in France and Spain which most people would give their eye teeth to do.
Heinrich Kulsen, winemaker at Nederburg, accompanied the team, and wherever the team went - they were welcomed with open arms and the team was brought to tears at Chateau Angelus with their bells welcoming them with a beautiful rendition of Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika - bringing the team to tears!

Well done to both African teams - a great result, resulting from great coaching and team work.

Anyone keen to get into the teams for next year - get your palates ready. Keep practising to identify the most you can when tasting blind, and you too could be winging your way to France to compete in the 2019 World Blind Wine Tasting Championships.


Team Africa (SA & Zim) competed, alongside 23 other countries, in the 2017 World Blind Wine tasting Championships held on Saturday 14th Oct at Château de Gilly, in Burgundy.

This was the 5th year that South Africa took part in the Worldwide Blind Wine-tasting ChamCongratulations to the winners: Sweden, followed by England, then Luxembourg, and in 4th place, Team New Zealand, who is captained by another Zim Sommelier who cut his wine teeth in Cape Town, viz Cashias Gumbo.
South Africa came 14th out of 24 teams entered, with Team Zim making 23rd place.  

Jean Vincent Ridon, sommelier, winemaker, host, educator and movie star, started the South African Wine Tasting Championship in 2013 in order to get a team to compete in the World Champs and has taken Team South Africa to France every year since then. He has been their coach, mentor and invaluable tour guide, taking each team to the top European wineries to prepare their taste buds before the main event.

This year, there were so many top tasters in the South African event, many of whom were Zimbabwean, that JV was motivated to create a Team Zimbabwe, made up of entirely Sommeliers who work in Cape Town. So this year, there were 2 African teams up against the world's best tasters.


While China dethrone Spain as World Champion, Team South Africa 2016 achieved a prestigious 6th position at the Wine Tasting World Championship organized by La Revue du Vin de France in Provence. 

The 4th Wine Tasting World Championship saw 21 countries competing for the ultimate title, and the Chinese victory sent a shock-wave in the wine tasting community, with the USA achieving bronze for their second participation. It is clearly a new trend in this competition usually dominated by European countries.

Team South Africa 2016, lead by Anita Streicher Nel in the role of Captain, is comprised by Heidi Kritzinger, Stephanie Wiid and Dean Ehrlich. The 6th position they achieved is the best ever for Team South African, enabling them to defeat the world title owner, Spain, and the majority of the other prominent wine producing countries.

The competition made team South Africa identify some of the 12 wines that were served to Streicher’s team-mates, using just their palate memories to identify the cultivar, country, appellation, vintage and producer of the wines.

The wines were:

- Swartland Chenin 2015 from South Africa by David Sadie

- Wairarapa Chardonnay 2014 from New Zeeland by Ata Rangi

- Rheinessen Riesling 2015 from Germany by Wittmann

- Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc 2005 from France by François Cotat

- 2015 Viognier from Lebanon by Ixsir

- Tuscan Sangiovese 2010 from Italy by Felsina

- Cahors Malbec 2012 from France by Chateau Chambert

- Languedoc Syrah 2005 from France by Domaine Peyre Rose

- McLaren Vale Shiraz 2009 from Australia by D’Arenberg

- Californian Pinot Noir 2012 from the USA by Ojai

- Jumilla Mourvèdre 2014 from Spain by Bodegas El Nido

- Jurançon Petit Menseng 2014 from France by Domaine Cauhape

Team South Africa 2016 was selected out of the winners of the South African Wine Tasting Championships. This yearly competition aims at giving all wine lovers the opportunity to show their talents and the best of them fly to the world championship. Team South Africa 2016 was coached by Sommelier Jean-Vincent Ridon and received the support of Dominique Laporte, Best Sommelier of France, to train before the competition.

Anita declares: "I want to thank each and every one for the support during the preparation and practice in the run-up to the championship; we have been greatly inspired by so many people on our journey. Although it was a very tough contest this year, each member of the team brought their invaluable skill and experience to the table which I believe secured us the 6th world ranking."

The full result is

China with 108 points,  France with 106 points,  USA with 100 points,  Belgium with 99 points, Andorra with 98 points  South Africa with 92 points, Finland with 87 points, Luxembourg with 80 points, Poland with 79 points, Spain with 76 points (World Champion 2015), United Kingdom with 69 points, Russia with 68 points, Switzerland with 55 points,  Sweden with 53 points, Hungary with 53 points, Portugal with 49 points, Argentina with 49 points, Italy with 48 points, Belarus with 42 points, Japan with 36 points, Monaco with 23 points

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 - Chateauneuf du Pape

For its third qualification to this global challenge, Team South Africa achieved its best score ever at the international event.

Lead by Ralph Reynolds, sommelier at Karibu, team 2015 is comprised of Veronica Plaatjies from Mosaic Restaurant, Tongai Joseph Dhafana from La Colombe and Anita Streicher-Nel from Morgenhof.

The World Blind Tasting Challenge, organised by Revue du Vin de France, was held in Chateauneuf du Pape on Saturday 17th Oct, challenging 20 national teams to identify 12 wines from 8 different wine producing countries.

With 98 points, Team South Africa secured a 12th position in the world ranking, its best achievement since their first participation to the event. Jean Vincent Ridon, the team coach is impressed by the achievement of Team 2015 considering the limited access to international wines in South Africa. Identifying wines such as the Croatian Malvasia or the Greek Assyrtiko proved to be impossible for our national champions.

The 2015 Team South Africa members felt part of the global wine tribe, creating special friendships with the best wine tasters of the world. They are looking forward participating again to this international to fly our National colours.

Spain was crowned world champion 2015, a great success after having come last in 2013. It gives hope to the South African Team - that with hard work, everything is possible.

The team is proudly sponsored by Spiedel, Restaurant Mosaic,, Air France and Champagne Jacquart.
Team South Africa 2015 will hope to qualify again for the next year's World Blind Tasting Challenge that will be held in Burgundy in 2016.
The South African Wine Tasting Championship will start selecting the candidates for the next magic team during 2016, so get your taste buds ready!

The wines served blind were: (cultivar / country / Region / Producer / vintage)

Pinot noir France Champagne Bollinger Grande année 2005
Sauvignon New Zealand Hawke’s Bay Te Mata 2013
Riesling Germany Pfalz Friederich Becker Sonnenberg 2011
Malvasia Croatia Istria Kabola Unica Réserve 2009
Assyrtiko Greece Santorin Gaia Assyrtiko Wild Ferment 2014
Sangiovese Italy Chianti Classico Felsina Berardenga 2012
Mourvedre France Bandol Château Vannières 1998
Pinotage South Africa Franschhoek  Chamonix 2012
Grenache France Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2007
Tempranillo Spain Castilla y Leon Quinta Sandoria 2006
Sémillon France Sauternes Château Climens 2008
Grenache France Maury Mas Amiel 2006
The results in order are :
Spain (140 points) , Belgium, Sweden, Andorra, France(105 points), Russia, UK, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Finland, South Africa(98 points), China, Argentina, Luxemburg, Italy, Japan, Monaco, Switzerland, USA.


Mosaic Team South Africa, alongside Team China and Team Belgium at Bollinger Champagne

Samarie Smith, Gavin Whittaker (Captain), Chris Groenewald and Ralph Reynolds in action.

BACK IN TIME, in 2013


The 2013 World Blind Wine Tasting Championships took place on the Saturday the 12th of October at Chateau Larrivet Haut-Brion, next to Bordeaux in FRANCE. 16 countries competed to win the title held by Denmark in 2012.

Organised by “La Revue du Vin de France”; the oldest wine magazine in the world (founded in 1927); the World Wine Tasting Championship saw the first participation of a South African Team, from the national selections made at the South African Wine Tasting Championships 2013.

A team of five South-Africans, led by their coach, has been touring France for a full week, exploring diverse terroirs, improving their knowledge, and getting ready for the World event.

Chantelle Swanepoel, Gavin Whittaker, Khuselo Mputa, Roland Peens and Anton Swarts had to recognise 12 wines, selected from 9 countries, and served blind over a period of 2 hours. They had to find the main variety, the country of origin, the vintage, the region and the wine producer. A very difficult game when wines can be as diverse as 1998 Chateauneuf to Pape Rayas or 2010 Californian Roussane from Bonny Doon.

Belgium uncrowned Denmark and won their first World Championship! Team South Africa achieved a very honorable 12th position for our first participation under the cameras of French TV. Coach Jean-Vincent Ridon is very satisfied and proud of Team South Africa: “Team South Africa performed very well considering that exposing ourselves to various wines of the world is very difficult due to few imported wines being available in South Africa. Team South Africa shares very talented palates and we will endeavor to spread education to secure a higher world ranking in 2014!”

The participation of Team South Africa in the World Championships was an event organised as part of the South Africa – France Season 2012 & 2013. More details on

A road movie about this adventure will be released early in 2014, showing how Team South African bonded together, exploring the diversity of French terroirs and discovering the French lifestyle, interacting with local producers, showing that wine is a common language to all hedonists around the world, whatever community they originate from.

Final results are:

1 Belgium; 2- Denmark; 3- UK; 4- Andorra; 5- France; - 5 Germany ex aequo; 7- Luxembourg; 8- Russia; 9- China; 10- Finland;  11- Sweden;  12- South Africa; 13- Ireland; 13 - Canada (Québec); 13  Argentina ex aequo; 16- Spain

Team South Africa was composed of:

Chantelle Swanepoel (working for Steenberg)

Khuselo Mputa (Sommelier at Aubergine restaurant)

Gavin Whittaker (working for Lutzville Cellars)

Roland Peens (Manager of Wine Cellar)

Anton Swarts (Winemaker for Spier – replacement team member)

Wines Tasted:

1-  Gini Estate "La Frosca" (Italy) Soave Classico 2010 cultivar : Garganega
2- Lackner Tinnacher "Flamberg" (Austria) South Styria 2011  cultivar: Sauvignon Blanc
3- Vins d'Orrange Kama (South Africa) Western Cape 2012 cultivar: Chenin
4- Bonny Doon Cigare blanc (USA) Santa Cruz 2010 cultivar: Roussane (65%) et grenache (35%)
5- Château de Pommard (France) Burgundy Ladoix 1er Cru Gréchons 2010 cultivar: Chardonnay
6- René Mure (France) Alsace Clos Saint Landelin 2011 cultivar: Pinot noir
7- Château Rayas (France) Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1998 cultivar: Grenache
8- Te Mata (New-Zealand) Hawke's Bay Bullnose 2011 cultivar: Syrah
9- Atamisque (Argentina) Mendoza 2009 cultivar: Malbec
10- Alavaro Palacios Les Terrasses (Spain) Priorat 2009 cultivar: Grenache
11- Mount Langi (Australia) Victoria 2005 cultivar: Syrah
12- Château Coutet (France) Sauternes-Barsac 1989 cultivar: Semillon

(ranking and wines as per the website

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