The Backsberg Vino Varsity Wine Contest

How It Started

They play sweaty sports against each other. Discuss topics of huge importance in fiercely contested debates. Heck, there are even inter-university choral events.

So it’s about time that the universities of South African converge to compete over the wine glass.

The wine glass? Yes. The Backsberg Vino Varsity Wine Contest was born in 2009 for exactly that reason: to find out which university has the best wine knowledge, the super-sharpest set of vino-orientated taste-buds and – very important – the most passion for this product of the vine for which South Africa is world-famous for.

Backsberg Vino Varsity merely uses the enthusiasm many of the country’s universities have towards wine. Sure, we know that consumption thereof is vital in supplementing meagre student res diets. But most universities have wine societies committed to expanding their members’ wine passion. Vino Varsity sees itself as providing the platform for these wine societies to showcase their boundless skill, infectious passion and awesome talent.

It all began one sunny August afternoon in 2009. The wine societies from the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch squared-up on the Backsberg Wine Estate outside Paarl in the inaugural Vino Varsity. Questions were asked. Panels pored over blind tastings. A wine-orientated debate followed. And after an hour of fun and excitement, the University of Stellenbosch became the first Vino Varsity champions.

This year the two cape universities are joined by Wits, with the three-way competition sure to be eagerly contested. And who knows what the future holds? The Backsberg Vino Varsity National Championships, perhaps?

What is known is that the South African wine industry can be proud of its universities who show such enthusiasm to indulge in wine appreciation. And this is the aim of Vino Varsity – to inject some young blood into the industry by showcasing the best young wine talent around. As well as creating a lot of fun and energy in the process.

What’s The Big Idea?

“Wine is about knowledge and fun, both features of student life. The idea of the Vino Varsity is to provide a platform from which the Universities of South Africa can express the important role wine plays in the student communities.

The competition aims to underscore a shared love of wine among the country’s students, while it is also important that the enthusiasm shown by these students is recognised by the South African wine industry.”