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Discover your new favourite Chenin Blanc!

The Chenin Blanc Association (CBA), has introduced a style indicator to give Chenin shoppers a straightforward “what you see, is what you get” signal.

It will appear on wine bottles as an icon, either on the back label or as a sticker, and is part of the organisation’s plan to grow Chenin’s popularity and accessibility.

“Part of Chenin’s charm is its versatility,” explains Ken Forrester, a prime mover in establishing the CBA. “You can make absolutely delicious Chenins across the spectrum from bone-dry to lusciously sweet, from bright and breezy to layered and complex.

“That’s the good news. The not so good news is that Chenin can therefore sometimes be confusing to shoppers. How do they know what taste characteristics to expect from the bottle they pick off the shelf?

“To simplify selection, we’ve created a linear scale icon. It starts with Fresh at one end and Rich at the other, with Fruity positioned right in the middle. An arrow indicates where along the line the wine fits from a taste point of view.  It is not a reflection of the chemical composition of the wine. The location of the arrow serves as a quick and readily understandable predictor of what you can expect stylistically.”

The style indicator, that has been developed in collaboration with the South African Wine & Grape Research Institute at Stellenbosch University has been approved by the South African Wine Industry and Systems (SAWIS), the body that collates and interprets wine industry information and administers the industry’s Wine of Origin system.

The new icon is being trialled by several large-scale, as well as smaller boutique producers. Some are linking it to a QR code to provide consumers with the option of additional aroma and flavour information.

“Those producers who are part of the pilot will incorporate the ‘show and tell’ style icon on their labels from the 2022 vintage,” Forrester says. “We hope that ultimately all CBA members will adopt it in our bid to make Chenin shopping that much easier. Not all labels will feature QR codes.  But those producers who go this route will be able to take consumers to more in-depth descriptors that align with the Chenin Blanc Aroma Wheel.”

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