PIWOSA vs Tim Atkin’s Cape Wine Classification

With Tim Atkin’s Classification of Cape Wine producers¬†causing some healthy and lively debate on social networks I thought it would be interesting to compare his list to the membership card of the¬†Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa (PIWOSA).

PIWOSA’s aim is to promote it’s members (and by implication South Africa) to highlight that there are some exceptional wines coming out of the Cape. ‘Premium’ is possibly second only to ‘handcrafted’ when it comes to the most overused and throw-away term when it comes to describing wine. It seems that if your wine is in a bottle and doesn’t make the drinker ill it is generally described as premium. But I agree with what they are trying to achieve. It is needed.

This aim naturally would be aided by the recognition and appreciation of international wine writers and commentators, whether producers like it or not. At the higher price point in an overcrowded market like the UK, these guys have influence.

Tim Atkin has classified South African wine producers in a hierarchy from First to Fifth Growths and then Cru Bourgeois. So how do the PIWOSA members feature on his classification?

Ataraxia – Third
Beaumont – Third
Cederberg – Second
The Drift – N/A
Glenelly – Third
Jordan – Crus
Journey’s End – N/A
Ken Forrester – Fourth
Mulderbosch – Crus
Mullineux – First
Newton Johnson – Second
Paul Cluver – First
Raats – Third

Well represented overall, and of course his classification is his opinion. Producers like Gary and Cathy Jordan are undoubted in their commitment to raising the profile of SA wines, but may be hampered by their large ranges when it comes to Atkin’s Classification. As Tim said on Twitter “I looked at the whole range of a producer’s wines, as well as track record, where appropriate.”

I would be interested to hear what has been happening from PIWOSA’s side. Seems a bit quiet, although they do have a schedule of UK wine tastings and events lined up in the UK in June. Are they looking to add more members or

2 Responses to “PIWOSA vs Tim Atkin’s Cape Wine Classification”

  1. Harry says:

    Chris, that’s a very interesting comparison, and worthwhile to make.

    If I put on my consumer hat I would give more regard to Atkin’s list as an opinion is better than a marketing group, in my, err, opinion.

    Good to see though that PIWOSA’s list matches up so well with Atkin’s. I think they need to use lists such as Atkin’s to further their marketing aims. Take on the list and support it, rather than distance themselves from it. United fronts and all that.

  2. Raphael says:

    My opinion is that in the end Tim Atkin’s opnion, PIWOSA excelent job are doing what WOSA should do that is to promote South African Wine.

    When you read the latest report by Stephen Tanzer on IWC you see clearly his comment in the issue.

    Worldwide consumers are looking into SA wines only on a value perspective meaning that bottles over 10USD FOB price are becoming very difficult to sell. See the main changes on the availability of top wines in the USA.

    And here in Brazil where we proudly support the flag to only import SA wines we see that wines can have 100 points from top critics but they don’t move.

    Other than the UK (where WOSA investments where focused and a bit now in Germany) for more that we try to preach about quality or history we need a strong backup that can only come from an organized organ or entity that we clear don’t see this days.

    So whether is WOSA, PIWOSA, Tim Atkin, TWA, Stephen Tanzer or any other way to inform the industry needs to be able to showcase this power of high quality wines that SA produces today.

    I drink on a daily basis lot’s of different wines from Argentina, Chile and other countries and I can confidently says that SA today produces better quality wines then all this countries and why they are not able to break the barrier of the consumer mindset?

    We need a strong unit when talking about SA wine and I hope to see this soon being done!