The finalists for the 40th Diners Club Winemaker and 20th Young Winemaker of the Year awards have been announced. Five winemakers have been shortlisted to compete for the prestigious Winemaker of the Year award, while five 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. 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 awards focus on quality and recognition of excellence and are regarded as the country’s most prestigious and well-respected wine industry competition.
The competition is open to all in the South African wine industry at no cost, affording all winemakers a shot at the sought-after titles. While other awards focus on just the wine, the Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year awards celebrate the skills and talent of the vintners. The awards are presented to the winemakers who produce a wine that the judging panel considers to be the best in a specified class. The categories for 2020 are Cap Classique for Winemaker of the Year, and Red Wines of any varietal or blend for Young Winemaker of the Year. As in previous years, winemakers can be shortlisted for more than one submission.
The field was narrowed down to the ten finalists through rigorous judging over two days by a team of wine gurus, including renowned international judge, Remington Norman. All the judges agree that it will be a close race for the top prize, a clear indication that the finalist wines are outstanding. Judges examined each wine evaluating appearance, aroma, taste, aftertaste and overall impression.
The 2020 Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year finalists are:
Winemaker of the Year category: Cap Classique
• Alexander Grier – Villiera Wines for his Tradition Brut (NV)
• Jasper Raats – Longridge Wine Estate for his Longridge Brut (NV)
• Johan Malan – Simonsig Wines for his 2015 Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut and 2010 Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut
• Matthew Krone – Matthew Krone Wines for his 2017 Alexandra de la Marque
• Stephan De Beer – Twee Jonge Gezellen Estate for his 2017 Krone Borealis Vintage Cuvée Brut
Caption: 2020 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Finalists
Back left to right: Alexander Grier (Villiera), Matthew Krone (Matthew Krone Wines)and Stephan de Beer (Twee Jonge Gezellen)
Front left to right: Johan Malan (Simonsig) and Jasper Raats (Longridge)
Young Winemaker of the Year category: Red Wines
• Eben Meiring – Boekenhoutskloof for his 2018 Patina Syrah
• Juandre Bruwer – Diemersdal for his 2019 Diemersdal Shiraz
• Karlin Nel – Vrede en Lust for her 2017 Vrede en Lust Artisan Cabernet Franc
• Natasha Williams – Bosman Family Vineyards for her 2018 Twyfeling Cinsaut
• Phillip Theron – Glen Carlou for his 2018 Glen Carlou Collection Tanat and 2019 Malbec
Caption: 2020 Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year Finalists
Back left to right: Phillip Theron (Glen Carlou), Eben Meiring (Boekenhoutskloof) and Juandre Bruwer (Diemersdal)
Front left to right: Karlin Nel (Vrede en Lust) and Natasha Williams (Bosman’s Family Vineyards)
The 2020 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year judges:
• Remington Norman – International judge
• Carrie Adams
• Heidi Duminy
• Ntsiki Biyela
• Michael Crossley
The winners of both the Winemaker and the Young Winemaker of the Year awards will be presented at a black-tie gala dinner at La Residence Hotel in Franschhoek in November 2020. The winning winemaker receives R50 000 and the Young Winemaker R25 000.