Selective Palate Ensures SAA Serves the Best

30 August, 2002, JOHANNESBURG: Too young, or no body. Or simply not up to the standards our passengers would expect to be served on our planes.
This is the task the noses and taste buds of some of the world`s foremost wine tasters have been set to determine which wines will be served on board South African Airways next year.

The SAA wine selection is in motion - an annual prestige event since 1986.

To make the SAA on board wine listing is an outstanding achievement underlined by the recent American Business Traveler magazine award for our on board wines served in Business Class.

This rigorous selection process started on 12 August when SAA invited local wine makers to enter their prize wines. SAA sends out letters to all wine producers listed in the John Platter guide and advertises to invite wine makers to submit entries by 16 August.

This year the competition was tough once again, with almost 700 entries from various local wine estates.


Tuesday, 27 and Wednesday, 28 August, the panel of esteemed local and international judges did the tasting at the Nederburg wine estate in Paarl, under the strict eyes of independent auditors Deloitte & Touche.

They will taste wines in different classes from the top wineries in the country. The white wines will showcase Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and a selection of other white varietals. The reds will consist of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Merlot and a selection of blends.

The international judges for the selection for 2003 are respected names in the wine tasting industry.

International judges are Mrs. Lynne Sherriff and Mr. Anthony Hanson from Britain, Mr. Stephen Tanzer from America, Mr. Robert (Bob) Cartwright from Australia, Mr. Peter Sisseck from Spain, and Mrs. Laurence Feraud from France.

Mr. Jerome Barret who is an expert on French champagne will oversee the selection of the French Grand Cru Champagnes.

Local judges are Mrs. Marilyn Cooper, Dr. Henry Davel and Dr. Cornel Spies from Johannesburg, and Mr. Dave Hughes, and Mrs. Jo-Anne Mettler from Cape Town and Miss Yegas Naidoo from KwaZulu-Natal.

Mr. Jabulani Ntshangase will present a wine class at Nederburg, to be attended by SAA sponsored Wine Trust students, cabin crew, their trainers, the SAA Food and Beverage Department and other staff.

Once the wine tasters have established the rankings, the Procurement Division of the airline buys wines for the various classes for the 2003 calendar year.

The winners in the categories of Top Red, White, Port and Mèthode Cap Classic of the airline`s onboard selection will be announced on the 26th October during the SAA Wine Awards Evening at the Lord Charles in Somerset-West.