Orange River Cellars collect top prize at Muskadel Awards

HOT AND DRY, PERFECT FOR MUSCADEL: Orange River Cellars, Upington

IF THERE’S one type of wine that they’re really good at making in the Orange River Cellars of the Northern Cape it’s sweet wine, and the farmers up and down the river on either side of Upington have been making some of South Africa’s best dessert wines for ages. Their latest victory at the 2013 Muskadel SA Awards follows many gold medals at the national Veritas Awards and plenty of 4 Star ratings for their Hanepoot as well as their Jerepigos and Muscadels, red and white.

Orange River Cellars were the only recipient of a Platinum Award in the competition focusing specifically on the country’s sweet wines made from Muscat grape varieties and which involve the inclusion of brandy or grape spirit – platinum denoting a gold medallist to which extra credit is given for the standard of labelling and packaging in general.
Lots of irrigation is necessary for the
vineyards to thrive alongside the
Orange River in the Northern Cape
According to Henri Swiegers, chairperson of Muskadel SA and winemaker at the Badsberg Cellar near Rawsonville in the Breedekloof wine district, dry, warm weather is ideal for ‘stickies’ or ‘soetes – plus enough water to irrigate the vineyards sufficiently. “This results in high sugar content and acidic pH levels that are key to a successful Muscadel.” 
There were 26 entries in this year’s Muskadel SA taste-off, with the panel of judges comprising wine writers/critics David Biggs and Dave Hughes, together with industry stalwarts Lolly Lourens, Eben Rademyer and Sakkie Niewoud.
For more information about the winning desserts and the cellars where they were made, click on the names of the wines above.