Certification of Wine as Guarantee to the Public

A certification seal is an absolute guarantee to the public that the claims made on the packaging about the wine are true and that the wine was of good quality when it was evaluated by the Wine and Spirit Board for certification. As such, it is very important to wine lovers.

A wine can only be certified when all the requirements of the Wine of Origin Scheme have been met. The Wine and Spirit Board will certify a wine if all the requirements of the Scheme with regard to origin (eg Paarl), cultivar (eg Riesling) and vintage (eg 2014) have been met and the wine has also been evaluated by one of the tasting panels of the Board and it did not show any unacceptable quality characteristics as listed below. Samples of all wines which are submitted for certification are also scientifically analysed to determine whether all the legal requirements have been met.

If a claim is to be made on origin, cultivar or vintage, a wine has to be certified. A certification seal is put on the packaging of such wine, confirming that while being evaluated by the Board the wine was of good quality and that any claims made on the label were checked and are truthful.

Strict control is administered when a producer wants to certify a particular wine. Through an identification number on each certification seal, all information, from the pressing of the grapes, through the wine making process, to the certification of the final product, can be established. Control is exercised at the following stages: when an application is made to press grapes, during pressing, blending and bottling, and also when the preliminary and final approval is given.

During 2014, a total of 497 million litres of wine was certified by the Board.

During censorial evaluation to have the wines certified, the judges look for the following possible unacceptable quality characteristics:  

Clarity

Wine is not brilliant as it contains suspended particles or sediment, or excessive crusting has taken place and it can be described as slightly turbid.

Colour

With regard to age, cultivar and type of wine, it has:

  • Faulty colour
  • Insufficient colour

Flavour

With regard to age, cultivar or type of wine:

  • Has no or insufficient recognisable wine flavour.
  • Reveals so much wood character that it dominates the wine flavour.
  • Has an insufficient cultivar character.
  • Has an undesirable flavour (eg sulphuric compounds, oxidised, phenolic,   geranium, volatile acidity, ethyl acetate, sulphur dioxide, cork, filtering material, oil, paint, mould, etc).
  • Has the character of an over-matured wine.
  • Has an excessively sharp spirit or brandy flavour.
  • Does not display the required distinctive flavour.

Taste

With regard to age, cultivar or type, the wine:

  • Has no or insufficient recognisable taste, it can be described as watery
  • Reveals so much wood character that it dominates its recognisable taste.
  • It is too astringent: press must, stalk or husk character dominate its taste.
  • Has an insufficient or faulty cultivar character.
  • Has an undesirable taste (eg too acidic, too harsh, too bitter, or that of sulphuric compounds, oxidised, phenolic, geranium, volatile acidity, ethyl acetate, sulphur dioxide, cork, filtering material, ethyl acetate, oil, paint, mould, etc).
  • Has the character of an over-matured wine.
  • Does not display the required distinctive taste.