The winners of the 2019 Diners Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year awards were announced at a black-tie gala dinner at La Residence Hotel in Franschhoek which I was lucky to attend!
Congratulations to Daniel Keulder (Nitida Wines) and Herman du Preez(Stellenrust Wines) claiming top honours respectively.
The Winemaker and Young Winemaker awards, focusing on quality and recognition of excellence, are regarded as the country’s most prestigious and well-respected wine industry competition. Celebrating the skills and talent of the vintners, these awards are open to all in the South African wine industry at no cost, thus affording all winemakers an equal opportunity. The Winemaker of the Year is in its 39th year, while the Young Winemaker has been running for 19 years.
The awards are presented to the winemakers who produce a wine that the judging panel considers the best in a specified class. The categories for 2019 were Pinot Noir for Winemaker of the Year, and White 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.
This year’s Diners Club Winemaker of the Year (Pinot Noir category), Daniel Keulder, delighted the judges with his 2017 Nitida Pinot Noir. The 2019 Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year, Herman Du Preez, received his award (White Wines category) for the 2018 The Apprentice White Cinsault.
The winning Winemaker receives R50 000 while the Young Winemaker, R25 000 and a trip to an exciting wine producing destination.
The 2019 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Judges
Nigel Greening – International judge