Business School Vino Varsity 2015

Backsberg has run an intervarsity wine competition called the Vino Varsity Challenge for the last 6 years. The challenge has seen university wine societies compete against each other. This year Backsberg has rolled out another version of the challenge for Business Schools. Last week the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business competed against the University of Stellenbosch Business School. The challenge sees teams go head-to-head over the course of three rounds including a general knowledge quiz, a wine tasting and a debate.

The judging panel consisted of industry experts Edo Heynes, Editor of Wynland Magazine, Rico Basson, CEO of VinPro and Jonathan Steyn convener of the UCT Wine Business Management course. They were on hand to give relevant commentary and to judge the debate.

The inaugural Business School Vino Varsity kicked off with great spirit. First up, the MBA teams were faced with 30 general knowledge questions. UCT started off on a winning streak answering nearly every question right, while USB trailed behind by quite a few points. By the second round the playing field seemed to equalise. Teams blind tasted through ten flights of three wines. UCT and USB drew in this round, giving USB a chance at catching up.

Round three was the decider. Teams debated how to increase the national per capita wine consumption from 6ℓ to 9ℓ in the next ten years. The presentations were insightful and interesting. USB suggested focusing on a demographic of the population that often feels ‘forgotten’ in wine circles, namely the young, trendy black female. UCT in turn focused on innovative packaging solutions to make wine drinking more attractive.

The judges were impressed with their clear segmentation of a potential market and their plan to target it. USB won the debate round by fractions of a point. After much team banter and light-hearted rivalry the judges announced UCT Graduate School of Business as the Vino Varsity Champions!

The winning team enjoyed a bottle of 2003 Klein Babylonstoren straight from the decanter trophy – in true winning style! Thomas Mehl, the UCT team captain commented: “The UCT team, supporters and GSB academic staff learnt a great deal about the wine industry and this provided an ideal platform to network with the USB MBA students.”

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