The finalists for the 42nd Diners Club Winemaker and 22nd 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. 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 one of the country’s most prestigious and well-respected wine industry competitions.
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 2022 are Sauvignon Blanc 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.
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 gurus. 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 2022 DINERS CLUB WINEMAKER AND YOUNG WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS ARE
Winemaker of the Year category: Sauvignon Blanc
- Charles Hopkins – De Grendel – 2022 De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc
- Christoff De Wet – De Krans – 2022 Garden Route Sauvignon Blanc
- Conrad Vlok – Strandveld – 2021 Strandveld Pofadderbos Sauvignon Blanc
- Erika Obermeyer – Erika Obermeyer Wines – 2019 Erika O Sauvignon Blanc
- Matthew Day – Klein Constantia – 2021 Klein Constantia Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc
- Warren Ellis – Neil Ellis Wines – 2019 Neil Ellis Amica Sauvignon Blanc
Young Winemaker of the Year category: Red Wines
- Elzanne Bosman – Groot Constantia – 2020 Groot Constantia Merlot
- Handre Visagie – Koelenhof – 2020 Koelenbosch Director’s Reserve Pinotage
- Jerome van Rooi – Cederberg – 2020 Cederberg Five Generations Cabernet Sauvignon
- Neil Bruwer – Chamonix – 2020 Chamonix Cabernet Franc
- Nongcebo Langa – Delheim – 2020 Iconoclast Cabernet Franc
- Richard Schroeder – Groot Phesantekraal – 2021 Groot Phesantekraal Syrah
The 2022 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year judges
- Carrie Adams – Head Judge
- Hervé Delabesse
- Gregory Mutambe
- Fiona McDonald
- Rudger van Wyk
The winners of both the Winemaker and the Young Winemaker of the Year awards will be announced and presented with their Trophies at a black-tie gala dinner at the Five Star Arabella Hotel & Spa on 19th November 2022. The winning winemaker receives R50 000 and the Young Winemaker R25 000.