The Diners Club Winemaker Awards 2023 was hosted on a glamorous night at the Five Star Arabella Hotel & Spa on Saturday, 18 November. The black-tie gala dinner set the stage for Tertius Boshoff of Stellenrust Wines and Nongcebo Langa of Delheim Wines to claim the coveted top trophy honours.
I was lucky to attend this glamorous event for the 5th time running!
Championing Excellence in Winemaking
Diners Club has been a beacon for excellence in the South African wine industry, introducing the Winemaker of the Year award to uplift local winemakers and raise the standard of wines produced in the country. The Young Winemaker of the Year award, designed for those under 30, encourages the development of skills, and expression of individuality, and contributes to the future prestige of South African wines on the global stage.
A Celebration of Creators, Not Just Creations
Unlike many wine industry awards that focus solely on winning wines, the Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year awards uniquely celebrate the creators behind the wines. The focus is on honouring the skills and talents of the vintners, adding a personal touch to the celebration of excellence.
Diners Club Winemaker Awards 2023 Categories
This year, the spotlight was on Syrah/Shiraz for the 43rd Winemaker of the Year award, while the 23rd Young Winemaker of the Year award focused on the White Wine category. Winemakers were eligible for multiple submissions, ensuring a diverse and competitive field.
A Rigorous Journey to the Top
With over 180 entries this year, the competition was fierce. A dedicated panel of wine experts meticulously narrowed down the field to 12 finalists over two intense days of judging. Six exceptional winemakers contended for the prestigious Winemaker of the Year award, and an equally talented six vied for the Young Winemaker of the Year title. The consensus among judges was unanimous – the finalist wines were outstanding, making the race for the top prizes exceptionally close.
The Toast of Triumph: Winners Unveiled
Tertius Boshoff clinched the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year (Category Syrah/Shiraz) for his 2020 Stellenrust ArtiSons Blueberry Hill Shiraz. Nongcebo Langa claimed the 2023 Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year award in the White Wines Category for her enchanting 2022 Delheim Gewürztraminer.
Rewards Beyond Recognition
In addition to the prestigious titles, the winning winemaker received a well-deserved R50,000, while the young winemaker received R25,000. Both victors were also granted a round-trip air ticket to a renowned wine-producing region, adding a touch of wanderlust to their well-deserved triumph.
Behind the Scenes: The 2023 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Judges
The critical task of determining the best of the best fell upon a distinguished panel of judges:
- Carrie Adams (Head Judge)
- Winnie Bowman
- Yegas Naidoo
- Shane Mumba
- Denzel Swarts
- Gregory Mutambe
The fate of the awards rested in their capable hands, ensuring that only the pinnacle of winemaking excellence would be recognized.
As the curtain falls on the 2023 Diners Club Winemaker Awards, the industry celebrates not just the wines but the visionaries behind them – a testament to the craftsmanship and innovation that propels South African wines to global prominence. Cheers to the winners and the continued pursuit of excellence in the world of winemaking!