Diners Club yesterday announced the Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year award winners at a gala dinner at La Residence Hotel, Franschhoek, attended by this year’s finalists, VIP guests, judges and the who’s who of the South African wine industry.
The Winemaker of the Year 2014 is Jacques Erasmus from Spier Wine Estate. Jacques won the prestigious award for the Spier Creative Block 2 2014 dry white wine blend.
Twenty-nine-year-old JD Pretorius from Steenberg won the Young Winemaker of the Year award for his Steenberg Merlot 2012 in the red wines category.
Announcing the winners, Ebrahim Matthews, managing director of Diners Club South Africa, said: “The Diners Club Winemaker of the Year awards make an incredible contribution towards raising the standards of the wines produced in South Africa. Each year we look forward to seeing entries from internationally recognised estates as well as smaller – but equally competitive - wine farms.
“Jacques Erasmus has been making wine since he was just 12 years old, and Spier is well recognised locally and internationally for its outstanding wines. JD Pretorius, our Young Winemaker, has delivered an excellent red wine on behalf of his estate, Steenberg."
The winners each receive two tickets to the United States courtesy of Delta Air Lines as well as five nights’ accommodation, a cash prize and beautiful trophies.
Dave Hughes, chair of the judging panel, says the competition was incredibly tough this year. “Both the Winemaker and the Young Winemaker of the Year qualified with more than one wine – Jacques had two wines in the finals and JD had three, proving that their winemaking skills are consistent and worthy of their awards.
“The Diners Club Winemaker of the Year competition is all about quality, and this award assures the winemaker’s career.”