The Diner’s Club Winemaker and Young Winemaker of the Year awards were announced at a gala event at the prestigious La Residence in Franschhoek this past Saturday 19th November 2016.

The Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year is in its 36th year, while the Young Winemaker has been running for 16 years. These are one of the most prestigious awards on the South African wine industry calendar. The competition affords all winemakers a shot at the sought-after title since entries are accepted from a wide spectrum of producers and remains free of charge.

The Winemaker of the Year Award was taken by Pierre Wahl from Rijk’s Cellar for his 2014 Private Cellar Chenin Blanc, while the Young Winemaker of the Year was awarded to Rustenberg’s own Murray Barlow – the second time he has won the coveted award! The winning wine for Murray was the RM Nicholson 2015, a blend of 50% Shiraz, 30% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and a special project of his.

More on Murray Barlow:

Murray was born into a family with a long history of winemaking, with the Barlows having owned Rustenberg Wines in Stellenbosch since 1941. Growing up among the vineyards and in the cellar, his passion for the farm and wine grew and he decided to pursue his studies with a view to joining the family business.

After completing his undergraduate studies at Rhodes University, Murray completed the 2009 and 2010 vintages at Rustenberg before reading his Masters in Oenology at the University of Adelaide in Australia, graduating in 2011 Cum Laude.

Murray returned to Rustenberg in November 2011 and is currently Cellarmaster and oversees the marketing of the wines he creates. Murray has a passion for the industry and a keen interest in wine judging, graduating from the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy with distinction in 2015 and has judged as an associate in several competitions.

Murray also previously won the 2013 Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the year with the Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2012, and was a finalist in 2015 with the Rustenberg Five Soldiers Chardonnay 2012 and the Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2014. He made the finals this year with his Buzzard Kloof Syrah 2013 and 2014, and the RM Nicholson 2015.

He is the first person to win the Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year award twice.