The winners of the 2020 Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year awards were announced recently at a black-tie gala dinner at La Residence Hotel, with Johan Malan (Simonsig Wines) and Philip Theron (Glen Carlou) claiming top honours respectively.
The awards celebrate the skills and talent of the winemakers, and entries are open to all in the South African wine industry at no cost – allowing all winemakers an equal opportunity for recognition. The Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year awards are presented to the winemakers who produce a wine that the judging panel considers the best in a specified class. The categories for 2020 were Cap Classique for Winemaker of the Year, and Red Wines of any varietal or blend for Young Winemaker of the Year. The field was narrowed down to ten finalists through rigorous judging by a panel of wine experts: with five winemakers shortlisted for the prestigious Winemaker of the Year award, and five for the Young Winemaker of the Year title.
The shortlisted finalists for this year’s awards were:
Winemaker of the Year category
- 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
Young Winemaker of the Year category
- 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
This year’s Diners Club Winemaker of the Year (Cap Classique category), Johan Malan, delighted the judges with the 2015 Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut. The 2020 Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year, Philip Theron, received his award (Red Wines category) for the 2018 Glen Carlou Collection Tannat.
The winning Winemaker receives R50 000, the Young Winemaker R25 000, and both win a trip to an exciting wine producing destination.