The Rosé Wine and Spirit Challenge 2023

The second Rosé Wine and Spirit Challenge tasked panellists to find the best.

Stellenbosch, 25 September 2023 – The 2023 Rosé Wine and Spirit Challenge recently unveiled its panel of judges and celebrated the exceptional products that graced this year’s competition.

The panel of judges for this year’s challenge featured some respected names in the industry, bringing a wealth of expertise and a discerning palate to the table. The 2023 panel included Brendan Butler CWM, Dr. Winnie Bowman CWM, Ralph Renolds – Sommelier, Janine van Zyl, Dr. Caroline Snyman CWM, and Joseph Dhafana – Sommelier. Their dedication to the craft and commitment to excellence ensured a fair and rigorous evaluation process.

The tasting event, which took place on Wednesday, 20 September, showcased an array of exceptional wines and spirits, highlighting the diversity and quality of products in this vibrant category.

Rosé wines and spirits have experienced a remarkable surge in popularity over the past decade, and their growth as a category is undeniably impressive. Rosé offers a delightful spectrum of flavours, from crisp and refreshing to bold and fruity. This diversity caters to a wide range of palates, making it an accessible and enjoyable choice for many consumers.

One of the reasons for the growth in this category is that it can be enjoyed on its own, paired with various foods, or used as a base for cocktails. This adaptability makes it a go-to option for different occasions. The light and elegant nature of rosé wines and spirits has made them synonymous with a relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle. They are often associated with leisure, outdoor gatherings, and celebration, creating a positive and aspirational image.

The visually appealing pink hue of rosé has made it a favourite subject on social media platforms. This has driven its popularity further, with influencers and wine enthusiasts sharing their love for rosé online.

In summary, the growth of rosé wines and spirits can be attributed to their ability to cater to a diverse audience, their adaptability to various occasions, and their association with a positive, aspirational lifestyle. As this category continues to evolve and innovate, it’s likely to remain a cherished choice for wine and spirit enthusiasts worldwide.


The Cap Classique wines generally showed yeasty character, beautiful intensity, and good persistence. Although consistently a strong category, one wine stood out: the Darling Cellars Cap Classique Brut Rosé 2020.

The general quality of the Rosé / Blanc de Noir wines was good, but it was the 2023 wines that showed the freshness of fruit and balanced acidity to make them shine. Examples that stood out were Hermanuspietersfontein Bloos and Stellenzicht’s Thunderstone Rosé. Yet it was a 2022 wine walking away with the top honours: Birthmark of Africa Dry Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé.

As always, the array of gins entered is diverse. The gins standing out were the ones that showcased typical botanical and juniper-led character. The Hayward’s Pink Gin was the stand-out product, earning it a trophy award.

Top performers

Trophy Awards

Producer Product Name Vintage
Birthmark of Africa Wines Birthmark of Africa Dry Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2022
Craft Link Distillery Hayward’s Pink Gin NA
Darling Cellars Darling Cellars Cap Classique Brut Rosé 2020

Double Gold

Producer Product Name Vintage
De Krans De Krans Premium Moscato Rosé 2023
Hermanuspietersfontein Hermanuspietersfontein Bloos 2023
Nicholson Smith Agencies CC Pandora’s Box All Day Rosé NA
Simonsvlei International Simonsvlei Methode Cap Classique Rosé NA
Stellenzicht Thunderstone Rosé 2023
The African Spirit Distillery Rum DNA Rosa NA

Details about the 2024 Rosé Wine and Spirit Challenge will be announced in the last week of January 2024.

For inquiries, visit, or e-mail