Woman Winemaker of the Year finalists announced

Tuesday, 14 July, 2009
Waterford Communications
Six dynamic winemakers are through to the final round of this year's 'Landbouweekblad' Woman Winemaker of the Year Award.
South Africa's only competition for woman winemakers, now in it's sixth year, are sponsored by leading South African agricultural magazine, Landbouweekblad.

This year's competition saw 64 entries from 28 winemakers across the country. According to Lorraine Immelman-Steyn, organiser of this competition, the growing entries shows that women are now firmly settled into and impressing the wine industry. "Not only in South Africa, but also in other parts of the wine world there are an increasing number of women entering the wine industry," she said. "Across the world there is a growing awareness of woman winemakers, even through similar international competitions. Just think about the National Woman's Wine Competition, as well as the Women Winemakers Challenge."

This year's finalists include well-known names, as well as newcomers. Danelle van Rensburg of Van Loveren in Robertson are in the final round with a 2009 Colombar, Ntsiki Biyela of Stellekaya in Stellenbosch are now part of the top six with her 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmen Stevens of Amani, also in Stellenbosch, went through with her 2008 Amani Kamili Chardonnay/Viognier blend.

The other three finalists are Corlea Fourie of Bosman Family Vineyards in Wellington with her 2008 Chenin Blanc, Corrien Geleijnse of Swartland Wine Cellar in Malmesbury with her 2008 Shiraz and last, but not least is Nomonde Kubheka of KWV in Paarl with her 2007 red blend named Triptych.

The winner will be announced on July 30 at a gala ceremony at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset-West.

According to Marilyn Cooper, Managing Director of the Cape Wine Academy and president of the judging panel, this year's competition is known for diverse and innovative entries. "For the first time ever a port was entered into the competition, as well as interesting single variety wines such as Malbec. The panel was surprised with a selection of different and exciting wines," she said.

The Landbouweekblad Woman Winemaker of the Year must, however, do more than only creating exceptional wines. The winner is judged according to her overall personality, her view of the wine industry and her career goals. After the top wines are chosen through a blind tasting, a choice panel of judges interviewed the six finalists.

Apart from Cooper, the panel include Erika Obermeyer, last year's winner and winemaker at Graham Beck Wines; Jo-Anne Mettler, wine judge and PRO at L'Ormarins; Cathy Marston, wine writer from the UK and wine consultant Nicolette Waterford.

According to Landbouweekblad, the main sponsor of this event, interest is growing in this competition where an ambassador to the wine industry for the next year is chosen. It now is a highlight on the South African wine calendar.

"The number of entries is growing each year and the competition sees entries from winemakers from big, well-established cellars, as well as smaller cellars from upcoming wine regions," says Immelman-Steyn. "I am delighted about how this competition has evolved, especially because this competition shows that women across cultural borders are choosing winemaking as a career. The number of entries shows that the title of Woman Winemaker of the Year is getting increasingly important to our woman winemakers. In the current economic climate, I feel any positive publicity where the focus is on wine, is of great advantage when we want to make wine the chosen lifestyle product of the whole of our nation.

"Woman in the wine industry enjoys more and more acknowledgement throughout the world and I hope this award ceremony plays an important role in motivating al woman, not only those wanting to enter the wine industry. This just shows that woman can enter any career with success and if they have the necessary perseverance, knowledge and skills the sky is the limit, even in this so called man's world."

These wine ambassadors lead to the promotion of the versatile nature of the wine industry and follows in the footsteps of the Champagne Lanson Woman in Wine Award presented annually at the International Wine and Spirits Fair in London, as well as the Shoprite-Checkers Woman of the Year Award.

Each finalist will receive a pamper pack from Lanzerac Wellness Centre and Spa, as well as a gift pack from Distinctive Brands' with Spiegelau crystal ware. A new sponsor came to the party this year and the winning label, as well as the finalists' labels will be sponsored by Collotype, the internationally recognised label printing company.

This year's winner will receive a cash prise of R20,000.