Finalists for the 2012 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Awards Announced

Tuesday, 9 October, 2012
Diners Club
The judging for the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Awards has concluded, recognising the craft of making fine South African wines and elevating the experts behind the wine making process.
Now in its 32nd year, the Awards are regarded as the country’s most prestigious and well respected wine industry competitions.

The Winemaker of the Year 2012 finalists are:
•    Pieter Badenhorst, Bergkelder
•    Marc Kent, Boekenhoutskloof Winery
•    Adele Swart, Rudera Cellar
•    Razvan Macici, Nederburg Wines

For the first time in the history of the competition Dessert Wines (unfortified) were chosen as the wine category and entries were judged by a renowned panel of experts.
Diners Club was privileged to have the current International Wine and Spirit Board Winemaker of the Year, Neil McGuigan, CEO of Australian Vintage Ltd, as the international panel expert, who brought a refreshing southern hemisphere perspective to the process.   McGuigan commented that the standard of entries was superlative, saying he was impressed with the apricot characters botrytis brought out in some of the dessert wines and he felt that all our finalists would be ‘Gold medal’ wines in any International wine competition.

This year’s carefully picked judging panel was chaired by legendary wine critic and author David Hughes; Margaret Fry, Cape Wine Master; Nomonde Kubheka, judge of the SAA Wine Awards; Cape Wine Master and Dessert Wine connoisseur, Colin Frith; along with SA’s leading independent drinks commentator and wine journalist, Neil Pendock, and bio-technology expert, Margaret Fundira. Ewan McKenzie, the reigning Best Wine Steward as nominated in the 2012 Diners Club Winelist Awards, participated in the capacity of Apprentice Judge, and found the experience invaluable.

“As desert wines are considered such a niche category, we were expecting a reduced number of entries and we were therefore very delighted to receive over 60 entries – a true testament to the talent and standard of winemaking in South Africa. Over the years it has become evident that these awards have an incredibly positive impact on both the winemakers’ careers and the South African wine industry,” said Jane Ledger, Head: Diners Club, Western Cape.

As well as the Winemaker of the Year category, the panel of experts also judged the Young Winemaker of the Year entries, an award which encourages and inspires younger winemakers to greatness.

Both of the Diners Club category winners will be announced at the highly anticipated black tie gala ceremony on 3 November 2012, in Franschhoek. South Africa’s top wine industry leaders and Diners Club guests will be in attendance.
In addition to the esteemed title, the 2012 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year will receive a return ticket to any wine-producing country, and a cheque for R 50 000. The Young Winemaker of the Year will receive an R 25 000 cash prize.
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