SAWTC 2024

The South African Wine Tasting Championship 2024 is set to open its doors on the 15th of June 2024.


The realm of wine tasting witnessed another victory as Benthe Legg secured her SAWTC title once more, reaffirming her position as a true champion. This year’s ranking reflects a remarkable trend with four women among the top five Supertasters, culminating in a celebration of women’s prowess in wine tasting.

In the realm of blind wine tasting, experience proves to be the ultimate asset. Benthe Legg retains her coveted title as the reigning national champion, a distinction she first earned last year with an exceptional score exceeding 150 out of a possible 200 points. Despite her extraordinary talent in the realm of blind wine assessment, Legg’s professional journey diverges from the wine industry, as she globe-trots on behalf of a major shipping company. Just a few years ago, her wine knowledge was modest until her partner, Gavin Smith, introduced her to the art of blind tasting. Over time, Legg not only matched her mentor’s prowess but also claimed the national championship consecutively.

Hot on her heels are three formidable women—Heidi Kritzinger, Karlien Groenewald, and Anita Stretcher-Nel—underscoring a distinct female dominance in this year’s competition.

The SAWTC 2023 event embraced a remote format similar to the previous year, involving the shipping of anonymous wine samples nationwide for contestants to identify from a provided list of selections originating from premier South African wineries. This format, conceived during the pandemic, offered wine enthusiasts a genuine national competition, attracting participants from every province.

As we anticipate the SAWTC 2024, our hopes rest on a return to in-person competitions, supplemented by a hybrid alternative to accommodate those unable to partake in physical wine tasting.

The selection included an array of wines from renowned wineries: Aaldering, Klein Constantia, Mullineux, Creation, Almenkerk, Le Riche, David Finlayson, Le Chant, Atlas Swift, Kanonkop, Mellish, Hartenberg, Nederburg, Durbanville Hills, DeTrafford, Sijn, Meerlust, Roodekrantz, Hasher, Spier, l’Avenir, Stellenbosch Vineyards, Villiera, Neethlingshof, Metzer, Radford Dale, Lievland and Thistle & Weed

Each candidate received video tutorials for these wines, presented by Cathy Van Zyl MW, offering valuable insights and hints.

While the SAWTC draws wine aficionados from diverse backgrounds, there’s a growing aspiration for greater inclusivity among the top 20 contenders. A fresh generation is diligently striving to unseat the longstanding champions and usher in a new era.

To ensure fairness, contestants submitted their answers online, subsequently moderated by artificial intelligence. This process aimed to rectify potential clerical errors and spelling mistakes, guaranteeing a level playing field for all participants.

The upcoming phase involves selecting Team South Africa from the pool of top national champions who qualify for the opportunity. Those chosen to compete for a Team SA 2023 seat will receive a selection of 10 South African, and international wines, curated exclusively in partnership with Radford Dale Imports. The selection event is slated for September 3, 2023, with results to be unveiled by wine.co.za. Notably, Sharrol Mukendi Klass, recipient of the Gerard Basset Foundation / ASI Scholarship, will be part of Team SA 2023. The global championship will unfold in Provence, France, on October 14, 2023.

The top 20 SuperTasters 2023 are:

Benthe Legg       

Heidi Kritzinger 

Karlien Groenewald        

Anita Streicher Nel          

Pieter de Waal  

Stefan Marais    

Chris Groenewald            

Gavin Smith       

Gareth Robertson           

Jono Le Feuvre 

Chris Gemmell  

Paul Sheridan    

George Young   

Laurie Cooper   

Klaas Stoffberg 

Samarie Smith-Meletiou              

Thomas Moxon

Armand Ridgard

Shayne Holt

Jo Williams

Pieter de Klerk