In an evening full of surprises, South Africa emerged triumphant from last night’s Decanter World Wine Awards.

The country won 12 Regional Trophies and an amazing six International Trophies – among them the International Bordeaux Varietal Trophy (Under £10) and the International Rhone Varietal Trophy (Over £10)

Cederberg Shiraz won in the Rhone category, while Amani Vineyards Cabernet Franc-Merlot took the Bordeaux Trophy.

Only 26 International Trophies are awarded. The only other region to come close was Australia with four – but it enters hundreds more wines.

Against intense competition South Africa swept the board in Chardonnay, winning the International Trophies in both the Under £10 and Over £10 categories with Paul Cluver Elgin and Rustenberg Five Soldiers respectively – beating the best that Burgundy, Australia and Washington State could offer.

Then it took the International Sauvignon Blanc Under £10 Trophy – beating top Chilean and New Zealand wines.

  • South Africa is the fastest-growing category in the UK off-trade wine market, according to the latest data from AC Nielsen – growing by 13% in volume, against a total market growth of 1.1%. The country’s value sales also grew by 13%, making it the fifth largest county in the UK market. The UK accounts for a quarter of all South African wine exports.

    Jo Mason, UK market manager for Wines of South Africa, said. ‘South Africa is increasingly viewed as a producer of premium wines with distinctive regional characteristics.’

    Written by Adam Lechmere