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Local wins Veritas wine writer award

Burgeoning young wine writer Llewellyn Lambert from Franschhoek, with a strong background in the hotel and hospitality industry and with his own online publication, has clinched the coveted Veritas Young Wine Writer title for 2018.

Lambert, general manager of the Franschhoek Boutique Hotel, has developed his online publication with a hospitality-driven travel website featuring items on lifestyle, travel and food & beverage.

Entrants were required to share their insights on strong brands in the South African wine industry, which have strengthened Brand SA in recent years.

Referring to Brand SA, Lambert wrote, “This is where the significance lies, making big business by using big brands creating a culture of curated experiences, education and with social media in hand spreading the word and value of our wines and hospitality offerings.”

The participants also had to submit a more informal, conversational blog entry. Here too, he impressed with his views on how to get the most out of a mere 24 hours in the Winelands. Under the heading “The best way to spend a fruitful day in the Winelands – my suggestions for tourists about planning such a day,” he presented a compact checklist to ensure you make the most of your excursion.

Lambert won R15 000 in prize money, and runner-up Catea Sinclair from Hermanus – a business owner, entrepreneur in wine-related fields, and runner-up two years ago in the competition too, collected R7 500.

The judging panel, comprising the seasoned South African wine journalists David Biggs, Cassie du Plessis, Dave Hughes, Danie Keet, Neil Pendock and Samarie Smith, were unanimous in their praise for overall winner Lambert’s “enthusiastic and positive approach, easy reading, relevant facts, clear and concise insights”.

They described this year’s general standard of writing as being clearly based on good research and knowledge, well reasoned and flowing from enthusiasm for the industry – in fact, overall the best entries yet in this competition.

The young wine writers’ competition received a significant boost this year with the announcement of two new partners.

The new media partner is WineLand Media, and Wanda Augustyn, editor of WineLand magazine, announced at the prize giving that hers would be the first publication to publish the two top-rated articles. Moreover, the winner and runner-up will be commissioned by WineLand to write articles for the media house’s various platforms in 2019.

A huge opportunity for the winner was also announced at the ceremony. Higgo Jacobs, chairperson of the South African Sommelier Association, the competition’s second partner, offered article winner Lambert its only media seat at the World’s Best Sommelier Competition in Antwerp, Belgium, from 10 to 15 March 2019. The South African candidate for the world contest is Jo Wessels, runner-up of the Veritas Young Wine Writer Competition last year.

The Sommeliers Competition, presented by ASI (Association de la Sommellerie International) is staged every three years, since its inception in 1969.

These announcements were made at the prize-giving presented by the South African National Wine Show Association (SANWSA) – custodians of this competition and presenters of the SA Young Wine Show and Veritas Awards – at the Lanzerac Hotel in Stellenbosch on Wednesday 5 December.

SANWSA chairperson Christo Pienaar said at the event that he was highly impressed by the standards of the entries, and that it bodes well for the industry to have such a good response from young wine writers.

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