The NWC/Top 100 assesses entered wines objectively, independently and professionally. Judging panels are comprised of high quality experts. Judges will work in panels of three.  Judges include respected MW’s, international experts, CWM’s and winemakers.

Tasting Director – Higgo Jacobs


Higgo Jacobs is again the dedicated Tasting Director for 2018. He obtained his Court of Master Sommeliers’ Certificate as well as the WSET Advanced qualification whilst working in the UK. Higgo has judged at the IWC in 2007. Higgo is also a respected sommelier and judge in key South African circles. Higgo will oversee flight creation and assembly during the judgement week

Tasting Protocol

The methodology applied is based on international input as well as from analysis and review of world class wine events.  NWC/Top 100 procedures are at the forefront of global best practice.


  1. Six bottles of each wine are available
  2. White wines will be served at approximately 14°C
  3. Red wines will be served at approximately 19°C
  4. Bubblies will be served at approximately 7°C
  5. Two bottles are as a minimum used per tasting flight
  6. The Tasting Director will arrange flights and supervise administration


Riedel glassware is used.

Judging Process

  1. NWC/Top 100 Challenge Chair is Greg Sherwood MW
  2. Judges are independent and answer only to panel chairs and to Greg
  3. Wines are tasted blind
  4. Wines are tasted in similar flights
  5. Discussion is allowed for faulty wines and protocol breach
  6. Following the initial tastings, and as an absolute minimum, wines within a certain score band can be re tasted twice further in order to confirm their placement
  7. There is post flight panel discussion, score calibration and recording
  8. Where discrepancies occur, the panel (firstly) and the Chairman (secondly, who has a casting vote) will attempt to reach consensus between the panel members as to the score awarded for each wine
  9. The panel will record its agreed scores
  10. Winning wines:
    1. The highest scoring wine of each flight will be awarded Grand Cru 1st place
    2. A small band of top scoring wines will be awarded Double Platinum status
    3. The next band will be awarded Double Gold certification
    4. A third band will be awarded Double Silver certification
    5. The 100 wines that achieve the highest scores will be awarded the elite ‘Top 100 SA Wine’ status and form the 2018 ‘club’ of finest
    6. (It is likely that the ‘% bands’ of winners will be about 5% for D Platinum; 15% for D Gold and 30% for D Silver)
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