Why competition matters

By , 16 July 2010



Spain WC

We all know Spain won the World Cup this time around, and Italy won it in Germany four years ago. But who were the runners up? Holland will be remembered as 2010 losers and I can just about recall that Germany and Uruguay were in the play-off for third place this year but I have absolutely no idea who was involved previously.

Competition matters because endeavour needs rewards. When it comes to commerce, it matters because it keeps prices low and choice high. It forces producers to innovate.  Tim James of Grape.co.za is quick to ridicule this year’s Shiraz Challenge saying that “one could construct a more exciting Top Ten list from wines at the bottom end of the results”. Over lunch, he suggested to me that it won’t be long before the much acclaimed (and fourth placed in the year’s competition) Eagles’ Nest stops entering competitions because its reputation is now established. It could equally be pointed out that wines like Boekenhoutskloof, Haskell Pillars, Hartenberg Gravel Hill and even the winning winery Saronsberg’s flagship label were not entered. Indeed. You shy away from competition, you become yesterday’s hero.

Congratulations, Dewaldt Heyns, winner of the 2010 Shiraz Challenge. Enjoy your moment of recognition as a very fine winemaker. Let Mr James enjoy his bottle of Chave Hermitage tonight which bears very little relation to what the rest of us drink on a regular basis.


5 comment(s)

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    Christian | 21 July 2010

    Corrected. When this thing starts making money, I’ll employ a subeditor…

    Dewaldt Steyn? | 21 July 2010

    No worries, Christian, as long as you don’t “… shy away from completion …” (that sounds like a case of vinitus interruptus, or is that what happens when one tastes wine instead of drinking the stuff?

    Dewaldt Steyn? | 17 July 2010

    The old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity unless they spell your name wrong still holds. So who is this Dewaldt Steyn you refer to in your article?

      Christian | 18 July 2010

      Heyns. The winning winemaker is Dewaldt Heyns. I had such a hangover on Friday I’m surprised I could write anything at all. The error is regretted and has subsequently been corrected.

    Tim James | 16 July 2010

    Christian, as a philiosphy student you surely studied logic and came across the phrase “non-sequitur”? What on earth do my drinking habits have to do with my criticism of the anarchic results of the Shiraz Challenge? Not that you have much idea of my drinking habits anyway – as a matter of interest, the local Shirazes I have bought in the past year or so are Eagles’ Nest, Quoin Rock, Lammershoek and Columella; but I have praised a great many more – and yesterday at lunch I praised to you the Nederburg Cellarmaster’s Choice, for example, as a great buy. And I haven’t dispraised the wine that won the Challenge either, though it’s not the style of shiraz I enjoy, which has nothing to do with its moderate but hardly low price – the Nederburg is cheaper and more to my taste. (And in my experience of it, Chave Hermitage sems to me nowadays one of the more overrated and overpriced wines of the world.) So I’m not sure what you’re getting at. As to Boekenhoutskloof being yesterday’s hero, um, no – I don’t think so, nor Haskell nor Hartenberg. They’re probably somewhat more in most winelovers’ consciousness than the winners of last year’s Shiraz Challenge, don’t you think?

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