South African Airways celebrates 30 years of offering the best South African wines on board

25 February 2022

South African flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA) celebrates the 30th year of offering the best South African wines on board with the announcement of the winners of the 2016 wine listing.

SAA started the rigorous wine selection process in October 2015.

“Wine makers from across the country participated in the process and we have received a considerable number of entries as in previous years. The SAA wine selection process, now in its 30th year, is an eagerly anticipated event on our annual calendar. 

“The selection is an integral part of our overall customer experience and unique value proposition of promoting South African wine exclusively to our worldwide passenger base,” says Kim Thipe, SAA Head of Marketing. 

SAA traditionally selects 24 white and 24 red wines from amongst the thousands of wines submitted, to be served on board SAA flights and in its Business Class lounges.  Wines are scored and the results compiled with both internal and external auditors.

Once done SAA allocates the wines for service in a particular month and a particular class of travel. For the 2016 SAA Wine Selection year, more than 730 wines were submitted by South African wine producers. A panel of the most distinguished, independent, local and international judges assessed the wines over a period of three days of blind tasting sessions.

“South Africa is ubiquitously known for its quality and diverse wine offering. It is not hard to imagine how challenging it was to arrive at naming the winning wines to be served to our esteemed passengers on-board SAA flights, marking the 30th anniversary of selecting the best-of-the-best wines for the airline. As SAA we would like to congratulate and recognise the winners for their efforts and for the amazing quality of wines submitted,” says Thipe.

Miguel Chan, Tsogo Sun’s Group Sommelier, facilitated this year’s judging which was done in partnership with Tsogo Sun.  Miguel Chan hails from Mauritius and is Group Sommelier for Southern Sun hotels, with overall responsibility for the group’s beverage and food standards. Miguel represented South Africa in 2007 at the Inaugural Concours International des Jeunes Sommeliers in Frankfort, where he reached the finals. He has been a taster for Platter’s South African Wine Guide, Old Mutual Wine Trophy and other competitions.

The category winners, who received trophies for having the highest score across the board from all 8 judges, were:

White Wine of the Year

Red Wine of the Year 

Methode Cap Classic of the Year (Joint Winners)

Port of the Year

Chief Executive Officer Award (joint Winners):    Accolade Wines SA and KWV SA
Chairperson's Award:                      The Cape Wine Company


The judges for the 2016 selection were:

Yegas Naidoo, Nomonde Kubheka, Luvo Ntezo, Laurie Smorthwaite, Tatiana Marcetteau, Wellington Melo (Brasil), Christopher Bates, Master Sommelier (USA); and Richard Kelly, Master of Wine (UK). This year’s selection panel is a combination of both previous and new judges with the international judges representing three of the seven continents SAA flies to.  Several of this year’s diverse panel of judges, hail from the travel and hospitality industry with expertise in catering to both domestic and global traveller tastes and expectations. The judging were done at the Cullinan Hotel, Cape Town. 

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