World-class selection panel for the 2018 Nederburg Auction

A record number of entries have been received for the 2018 Nederburg Auction, which by all accounts, looks set to be another successful year for the participating producers. It is now up to the Selection Panel to taste and judge all entries blind before any wines are selected for inclusion at the 44th Nederburg Auction to be held in September this year. The wines will be selected by an internationally renowned selection panel consisting of some of the world’s top wine judges.

All wines will be judged through a blind tasting by the eight-member selection panel to ensure that only the top South African wines, from those that were submitted, make it to the Nederburg Auction. The result being that some of the rarest, most sought-after and otherwise unobtainable wines will be going under the hammer later this year. The selection panel will be judging the wines over two days at Nederburg next week.

The stringent selection process is overseen by independent auditors and each wine is scored by at least four panel members with the average score allocated. The international panel has been selected with the buyers at the Auction in mind. The panels diverse backgrounds, individual influences and priorities mean that for a wine to make it to auction it will have seriously impressed the expert palates. No matter what the individual drivers may be, buyers can be assured that the wines selected for auction are all included on merit.

The selection panel is divided into two groups, the first being chaired by local Master of Wine (MW) Cathy van Zyl and the second by British Master of Wine Tim Atkin. The whole process is overseen by Wine Coordinator Higgo Jacobs, the chair of the South African Sommeliers Association.

In addition to Cathy and Tim, other returning judges include Richard Kershaw, Greg Sherwood, Michael Fridjhon and Roland Peens. New to the panel for the 44th Nederburg Auction are William Wouters, Vice President – Europe for the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale and local wine judge and manager of Singita Premier Wine Direct programme, François Rautenbach. In addition to the selection panel, the current title holder for Best Young Sommelier in SA, Wikus Human, will be an associate judge, a fantastic opportunity for him to learn from some of the most experienced palates in the industry.

2018 Selection Panel: Roland Peens, Tim Atkin MW, William Wouters, François Rautenbach, Cathy van Zyl MW, Richard Kershaw MW, Greg Sherwood MW, Wikus Human (Associate Judge) & Michael Fridjohn

Cathy van Zyl MW: Cathy is the first South African to successfully pass the Master of Wine examination whilst living on the tip of Africa, she judges locally and internationally and is a member of the Institute of Masters of Wine’s Council. She spends most of her wine-time as the associate editor of Platter’s South African Wine Guide and has completed over 20 Cape Town Cycle Tours (previously The Argus Cycle Tour).

Tim Atkin MW: Tim is considered one of the most influential people in the world of wine. He spends considerable time in South Africa, South America and Europe tasting, judging, reporting on and contributing to the wine industry at large. He is well respected globally and also produces the annual Tim Atkin South Africa Special Report, now in its 6th iteration. Tim also has a passion for photography and has held exhibitions of his work in various locations around the world including London, Paris and Beirut amongst others.

Richard Kershaw MW: Richard is one of only ten Masters of Wine globally who produce their own wines and South Africa’s only winemaking Master of Wine. He also works as a mentor and educator for the Institute of Masters of Wine, lectures for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and shares his knowledge with students and consumers via talks, tastings and blogs. Richard has chosen to focus on apposite noble grapes (ones with the ability to produce world-class examples) and now has a stable of award-winning, much in demand wines, which are produced at his cellar in the cool-climate Elgin valley.

Greg Sherwood MW: Greg is passionate about the world of wine and trading in fine wines. He has considerable knowledge and expertise in the field of South African wines and has been working at Hanford Wines in London since 2000. This has allowed him to work amongst some of the great wine personalities of the modern era. Greg spends most of his days buying, selling and tasting some of the most finely crafted and sought-after wines in the world.

Michael Fridjhon: Michael is a highly regarded international wine judge and one of South Africa’s leading wine writers. He has over 40 years’ experience in the production, wholesale and retail sectors of the industry and is the author, co-author or contributor to over 30 books. In his weekly column for Business Day, he often provokes very necessary conversations and debate on the current status of the South African wine industry and the people who are employed by it and derive benefit from it. Michael also contributes to various international wine publications and provides all the wine scores for

Roland Peens: Roland is a director of Wine Cellar, one of South Africa’s foremost importers and distributors of fine wines. He is fortunate to spend most days tasting and being surrounded by some of the world’s finest wines. He can be found at most of South Africa’s top wine events, judging, learning and exploring the world of wine. He also holds regular tutored tastings around the country where he shares his knowledge and passion for wine. When he isn’t popping corks, he enjoys cooking, writing about wine, running on the beautiful Cape mountain trails and now more recently discovering the joys of fatherhood.

William Wouters: William is one of two new judges for this years’ selection panel. Since 2003 William has been President of the Belgian Sommelier Guild and in 2017 he was named Vice President – Europe for the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale. Originally from Antwerp, Belgium, he now resides in the Portugese wine region of Bairrada where he has been producing wines with his wife Filipa since 2006 at Filipa Pato and William Wouters Vinhos in Ois do Bairro. William is a sommelier champion, restauranteur, chef and winemaker.

François Rautenbach: François’ passion for wine and the industry has developed over many years. He heads up the Singita Premier Wine Direct programme for conservation company Singita Game Reserves, sourcing and supplying wines for the group’s properties in Southern and East Africa. François has been a judge at numerous top wine shows and competitions and since 2011 has been the senior judge at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.

Michael Fridjohn said of last year’s selection tasting: “Tasting wines for the Nederburg Auction selection panel was a vastly more interesting experience than I could have imagined. You never know what the wines are, and therefore how the scores stack up against your own expectations of the wines. I can’t conceive of another tasting gig which provides the same overview of Cape wine over an extended period of time. If you’re interested in a slightly archaeological view of Cape wine, you can’t beat a call-up to the Nederburg auction selection panel.”

For more detailed biographies on this years’ selection panel, please visit our website at

The wine line-up for the 2018 Nederburg Auction will be announced in May.

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