The winners of the 2023 Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year awards were announced at a black-tie gala dinner at the Five Star Arabella Hotel & Spa on Saturday November 18, with Tertius Boshoff (Stellenrust Wines) and Nongcebo Langa (Delheim Wines) claiming top trophy honours respectively.
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 was Syrah/Shiraz, with White Wine the category for the 23rd Young Winemaker of the Year award.
As in previous years, winemakers could 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 12 finalists through rigorous judging over two days by a team of wine experts. Six winemakers were shortlisted for the prestigious Winemaker of the Year award, and six were shortlisted for Young Winemaker of the Year.
All the judges agree that it was a close race for the top prizes, a clear indication that the finalist wines were outstanding.
This year’s Diners Club Winemaker of the Year (Category Syrah/Shiraz), Tertius Boshoff delighted the judges with his 2020 Stellenrust ArtiSons Blueberry Hill Shiraz.
The 2023 Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year, Nongcebo Langa, received her award (White Wines Category) for her 2022 Delheim Gewürztraminer.
The winning winemaker received R50 000 and the winning young winemaker received R25 000. In addition, both winners received a round-trip air ticket to a wine-producing region.
The judges were Carrie Adams (head judge), Winnie Bowman, Yegas Naidoo, Shane Mumba, Denzel Swarts and Gregory Mutambe.