Jörg Pfützner, Challenge Chair quoted: “The 100 point scoring system, together with independent audit, place objectivity and accuracy above all else. The winners are precisely those establishments most deserving. This categorical approach sets the standard and is the benchmark. It’s great also to have separated fine dining / long lists from relaxed dining / short lists. Both have a role and a need.”
Added Founder Judge Higgo Jacobs: “The time, attention and peer review process afforded to each entry is unparalleled. This professionalism and detail ensures that the results can aid restaurants to assess and develop their on-going wine and training strategy. This has solid commercial value.”
Best Value Awards were judged requiring a minimum pass level of 90+%, Dax Villanueva noted. “This category required real demonstration of effort and value that benefits customers; not easy to achieve! Last year a pass was 80% so this indicates our commitment to finding the best”
Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright was impressed by the level of national interest: “What is pleasing is to see how key establishments from all corners of SA are taking note of and committing to be part of the Top 100 Challenge. Very good news for the future of the brand and its diligent approach to ‘best practices’.”
International expert Mia Martensson was thrilled at the Unique Awards, with one winner only in each category for: Best Overall Wine List; Most Innovative Wine Selection, Best Regional Selection and Best International Selection. “Final judging for ‘Most Innovative’ was a nail biting event with a number of possible candidates fighting it out for sweet victory.”
No award was granted in the category Best New Restaurant Wine List.
Top 100’s Robin von Holdt recorded: “Entries are up almost 50% with a far higher average calibre, than last year. This is a strong and positive endorsement for our benchmark protocol and audited approach, as well as for the transparency and feedback that we offer establishments throughout SA. Giving every entrant an automatic award makes a mockery of any competition. There were a substantial number of establishments where judges were uncomfortable with issuing an award, resulting in the bar being set pretty high.”
The Top 100 brand is set to continue its growth in wine related promotion activity. Winning restaurants will gain entry into the Top 100 2013/14 book edition along with the Top 100 SA Wines 2013. There are already a number of promotional events planned throughout SA and abroad for 2013. Books are distributed throughout SA as well as in the UK, EU and USA.