Selection panel

Selection panel

Selection Panel for the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction

The wines selected for the 2020 Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction were painstakingly curated by some of the most respected South African wine insiders, including Master of Wine (MW) Cathy van Zyl, Wine Critic and Columnist, Michael Fridjhon, and Wine Judge and General Manager of Singita Premier Wine Direct, François Rautenbach.

Commenting on the selection process, Michael Fridjhon said: “This is the first time - to my knowledge - that the selection process for an auction of this kind has included criteria around investment potential over and above a rigorous wine quality assessment. The older examples were checked to ensure they had aged gracefully. Where necessary mature wines were recorked. Everything has been done to ensure a perfect experience for the buyers.”

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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).

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Michael Fridjhon

Michael is a highly regarded international wine judge, one of South Africa’s leading wine writers, and Visiting Professor of Wine Business at UCT’s Graduate School of Business. 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 winewizard.co.za

In addition to being a member of the Selection Panel, Michael will also be taking up the gavel for the annual Charity auction in aid of this year’s beneficiary, sp(i)eel, an arts therapies collective delivering psycho-social programmes for children, their parents and teachers throughout the greater Cape winelands

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François Rautenbach

François’ passion for wine and the industry has developed over many years. Founding general manager of the Singita Premier Wine Direct programme for Singita Conservation’s environmentally conscious hospitality. Sourcing, maturing and supplying wines for the group’s 15 award-winning lodges and camps across the sustainable one-million-acre guardianship of Southern and East Africa conservation properties. François has been a judge at numerous top wine shows and competitions and since 2011 has been a senior judge at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.

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Joseph Dhafana

Zimbabwean-born Joseph has captivated a global audience with his life story of adversity and ultimate victory over hardship: he entered the country as a refugee nearly ten years ago, working in gardens and bars before becoming one of South Africa’s best known and respected sommeliers as head sommelier at La Colombe in Cape Town. So respected in fact, that Joseph was awarded the prestigious 2019 Eat Out Wine Service Award for his contribution to wine service in the country. This prestigious title is supported with qualifications from the Cape Wine Academy, WSET, Michael Fridjhon’s Wine Tasting Academy and the Court of Master Sommeliers in Europe.

In 2017 and 2018 he captained the Zimbabwean Wine Tasting Team at the International Wine Tasting Championships in France, an achievement which has been made the focus of a major international documentary – due for release in 2021.

Throughout all of this, Joseph has also acted as a wine judge on several of South Africa’s esteemed tasting panels since 2014.

Joseph recalls having his first sip of wine at age 29, a seminal moment which has since dictated his journey. Eager to learn even more about the product, Joseph explored winemaking in 2014 guided by top Swartland producers Chris Mullineux, Eben Sadie and Roger Clayton.

In addition to all his achievements, Joseph also adds winemaker and distiller to his name, with his Mosi Wines and Spirits brand firmly established with a Syrah, Chenin Blanc and Gin in bottle – the latter made from botanicals found in his homeland.

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