JD Pretorius, 29, from Steenberg Farm, has won the Diners Young Winemaker of the Year award for his Steenberg Merlot 2012.
The Steenberg Merlot 2011 and 2012 as well as the Steenberg Echo 2012 red blend qualified for the Young Winemaker of the Year award.
Commenting on his win he said, "It's an honour. This is the last year that I can enter this competition and I am delighted with the win. It ends off the first chapter in my winemaking career on a high note, and hopefully springboards the start of the next one. I must also credit the cellar and vineyard teams as this recognition belongs to us all"
Speaking about his wines he says, "The Merlots are very unique, we have quite a number of eucalyptus trees on the property and they lend a minty note to our Merlots. It works incredibly well with roast lamb, especially with a little hint of rosemary."
Steenberg Merlot 2012 is a multi-layered wine with black berries, spearmint and hints of dark chocolate on the nose. It's a complex, yet soft and smooth wine, a classic Merlot.
Food and wine are inextricably linked for JD. "I grew up in a house that loves wine and food. Most of my family is involved in agriculture in some way, and I always wanted to do something with farming. When I realised that you can farm wine, I was sold.", he says.
He added, "Merlot is quite a tricky variety, especially in South Africa. It can make wonderful wines, but it needs the right handling and climate to succeed. Steenberg has always had a very good track record for Merlot and it is great to see the wines succeed so well."
JD graduated from the University of Stellenbosch in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Viticulture and Oenology. A brief period as the Cellar Hand at Beyerskloof Wine farm was followed by an appointment as Harvest Supervisor at Graham Beck Wines.
He was appointed Winemaker at Steenberg in 2009, and has been Cellarmaster since 2012.
Steenberg also took home the honours in 2014 by winning the Trophy for Best White Blend at Old Mutual Trophy Show for the Magna Carta 2011. The Black Swan 2012 secured a placing in the Top 100 Wines rankings. H.M.S. Echo Red Blend 2011 featured in the Classic Wine Magazine Top 6 and Magna Carta 2011 scored 5 stars in the RisCura White Hot Wine Awards.