The finalists for the Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year awards have been announced. Six winemakers have been shortlisted to compete for the prestigious Winemaker of the Year award, and six will vie for the Young Winemaker of the Year title.
Diners Club introduced the Winemaker of the Year award to encourage local winemakers to raise the standard of wines produced in South Africa, and the Young Winemaker of the Year award was established to encourage winemakers under the age of 30 to develop their skills, express their individuality, and add to the future prestige of South African wines internationally.
The Winemaker and Young Winemaker awards focus on quality and the recognition of excellence and are among the country’s most prestigious and most-respected wine industry competitions. While most wine industry awards focus on the winning wines, the Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year awards celebrate the creators of the winning wines, honouring the skills and talents of the vintners.
The awards are presented to winemakers who produce a wine that the judging panel considers to be the best in the two specified categories for the annual competition. This year, the category for the 43rd Winemaker of the Year award is Syrah/Shiraz, with White Wine the category for the 23rd Young Winemaker of the Year award. As in previous years, winemakers can be shortlisted for more than one submission. These awards are open to all in the South African wine industry at no cost, thus affording all winemakers an equal opportunity.
There were over 180 entries this year and the field was narrowed down to twelve finalists through rigorous judging over two days by a team of wine experts. All the judges agree that it will be a close race for the top prize, a clear indication that the finalist wines are outstanding.
THE 2023 DINERS CLUB WINEMAKER AND YOUNG WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Winemaker of the Year category: Syrah/Shiraz
Annamarie Fourie – 2018 Holden Manz Syrah Reserve
Charles Hopkins – 2020 De Grendel Shiraz
Dewaldt Heyns – 2021 Dewaldt Heyns Weathered Hands Shiraz
Josef Dreyer – 2020 Raka Biography Shiraz
RJ Botha – 2020 Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Syrah
Tertius Boshoff – 2020 Stellenrust ArtiSons Blueberry Hill Shiraz
Young Winemaker of the Year category: White Wines
Marnich Aucamp – 2021 Stellenbosch Vineyards Credo Chardonnay
Michelle Waldeck – 2019 Benguela Cove Catalina Semillon
Morgan Steyn – 2022 De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay
Nongcebo Langa – 2022 Delheim Gewürztraminer
Pieter Coetzee – 2021 Quoin Rock Chardonnay
Richard Schroeder – 2022 Groot Phesantekraal Marizanne Sauvignon Blanc
THE 2023 DINERS CLUB WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR JUDGES
Carrie Adams – Head Judge; Winnie Bowman; Yegas Naidoo; Shane Mumba; Denzel Swarts
The finalists for both awards are invited to a black-tie gala dinner at the Five Star Arabella Hotel & Spa on 18 November 2023, where the winners will be revealed and presented with their trophies. The winning winemaker receives R50 000 and the young winemaker R25 000. In addition, both winners receive a round-trip air ticket to a wine-producing region – terms and conditions of the presenting sponsor apply.