Nine vintners have been shortlisted for this year’s Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year award. The Winemaker awards, now in its 36th year, and Young Winemaker in its 16th year, are by far the most prestigious awards on the South African wine calendar. While other awards focus on the wine, the Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year awards celebrate the skills, talent and dedication of those who actually make the wine.
The field was narrowed down to nine finalists through rigorous judging over two days by a team of wine gurus, including renowned UK-based wine educator and businesswoman Nancy Gilchrist. 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 and aftertaste and overall impression.
The competition affords budding winemakers a shot at the sought-after title since entries are accepted from a wide a spectrum of producers and it is free to enter. Four professional winemakers will battle for the prize in the Young Winemaker category, while five will vie for the Winemaker of the Year award. As in previous years, a few winemakers have been shortlisted for more than one submission.
The awards will be presented at a gala dinner at La Residence hotel in Franschhoek on 19 November 2016. The winning Winemaker receives R50 000 while the Young Winemaker, R25 000. Both winemakers get two return business class tickets on Delta Airlines to any wine producing region in the USA.
The 2016 Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year Award finalists are:
Winemaker of the Year category:
- Tertius Boshoff – Stellenrust Wines – 2015 Stellenrust Old Bushvine Chenin Blanc & 2015 Stellenrust 51 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2015
- Pierre Wahl – Rijk’s Cellar – 2014 Private Cellar Chenin Blanc
- Lizelle Gerber – Boschendal – 2016 Boschendal Rachelsfontein Chenin Blanc
- Jacques Erasmus – Spier – 2016 Ideology Chenin Blanc
- Jasper Raats – Longridge – 2014 Longridge Chenin Blanc
Young Winemaker of the Year category:
- Murray Barlow – Rustenberg Wines – 2015 Rustenberg RM Nicholson, 2013 Rustenberg Buzzard Kloof Syrah and 2014 Rustenberg Buzzard Kloof Syrah
- Louis van der Riet – De Krans – 2013 De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve
- Petri de Beer – Welmoed Cellar – 2015 Credo Limited Release Grenache
- Tamarin Turck-Nel – Cederberg 2014 Cederberg Shiraz
The 2016 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year judges:
- Nancy Gilchrist – International judge
- Carrie Adams
- Dave Hughes
- Debi Van Flymen
- James Pietersen
- Michael Crossley
- Nomonde Kubheka
- Colin Frith