– FINALISTS ANNOUNCED – Pinotage Association Unveils Absa Top 20 Pinotage Finalists for the 2023 Pinotage Competition

[Stellenbosch, 15 August 2023] – The Pinotage Association is thrilled to announce the highly anticipated Absa Top 20 Pinotage finalists for the 2023 Pinotage Competition. This annual competition, proudly sponsored by Absa Bank, showcases the best of South African Pinotage wines, celebrating the dedication and artistry of the country’s winemakers.

The Pinotage Association, committed to promoting and advancing the unique Pinotage varietal, is proud to continue its partnership with Absa Bank. The bank’s unwavering commitment to supporting the South African wine industry has been a driving force behind the success of the Top 10 Pinotage competition for many years.

Beyers Truter, Chairman of the Pinotage Association, shared his excitement about this year’s finalists, stating, “We are incredibly impressed with the calibre of Pinotage wines submitted for the 2023 competition. The Top 20 finalists represent the pinnacle of winemaking excellence, showcasing the diversity and potential of the Pinotage varietal. These results demonstrate the consistent quality of Pinotage wines being produced. We extend our sincere gratitude to Absa Bank for their continued support, which has enabled us to elevate the competition to new heights.

“As Absa, we are proud to be part of the Pinotage success story, which has many parallels with our own commitment to value-creation, dedication and resilience,” said Sanah Gumede, Managing Executive: Strategy and Customer Value Management for Relationship Banking at Absa Group. “We also remain steadfast in our efforts to continue supporting the South African wine industry, while fostering long-term relationships with stakeholders and clients as we empower Africa’s tomorrow, together… one story at a time.”

The Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition, now in its 28th year, has become a prestigious platform for winemakers to showcase their mastery of the Pinotage grape, a unique and distinctly South African variety. This year’s selection process was particularly challenging due the exceptional quality pinotage entries.

2023 20 Finalists
The Top 20 Pinotage finalists for the 2023 competition, listed in alphabetical order of the winery, are as follows:

  • Beeslaar Wines – 2019 Beeslaar Pinotage
  • Beyerskloof Wines – 2020 Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage
  • Beyerskloof Wines – 2019 Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage
  • Diemersdal – 2021 Diemersdal The Journal Pinotage
  • Fairview Wines – 2020 Fairview Primo Pinotage
  • Francois van Niekerk Wines – 2021 Francois van Niekerk Pinotage
  • Kanonkop Wine Estate – 2018 Kanonkop Pinotage
  • Kanonkop Wine Estate – 2017 Kanonkop Pinotage
  • Koelenhof Wynkelder – 2021 Stellenbosch 1679 Old Vine Pinotage
  • KWV – 2020 KWV The Mentors Pinotage
  • L’Avenir Wine Estate – 2020 L’Avenir Single Block Pinotage
  • Lyngrove Wines & Vineyards – 2020 Lyngrove Platinum Pinotage
  • Overhex Wines International – 2021 Survivor Pinotage Reserve
  • Rijk’s Cellars – 2018 Rijk’s Pinotage Reserve
  • Spier Wines – 2018 Spier 21 Gables Pinotage
  • Springfontein Wine Estate – 2018 Springfontein Single Vineyard Jonathan’s Ridge Pinotage
  • Vondeling Wines – 2020 Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage
  • Wellington Wines –  2021 Wellington Wines La Cave Pinotage
  • Wellington Wines – 2019 Wellington Wines  La Cave Pinotage
  • Windmeul Kelder – 2021 Windmeul The Legend Collection Pinotage

2023 Entries statistics
134 Entries: A testament to the vibrant spirit of the wine community, this year’s competition boasts 134 entries. Each bottle carries within it a story, a labour of love that has been carefully nurtured from vine to glass.

73 Wine Farms: Behind every bottle lies the dedication of 73 exceptional wine producers. These vineyard guardians are the unsung heroes, cultivating grapes that embody the terroir’s character and the winemaker’s vision.

Vintages, a Tapestry of Time:
2014: A solitary gem, capturing the essence of a single moment in time.
2017: 2 vintages, each bearing witness to a unique climate and a winemaker’s skill.
2018: 6 expressions, where innovation and tradition intertwine.
2019: 11 vintages, each unveiling a chapter of growth and refinement.
2020: A remarkable 46 vintages, a testament to a year that nature favoured.
2021: 58 stories of resilience, as vines weathered the elements to produce exceptional fruit.
2022: 10 young contenders, a glimpse into the future of Pinotage excellence.

Unveiling the Regions:
From the Cape’s rolling landscapes emerge the distinct voices of various areas, each contributing its own flair to the competition’s narrative:

Botrivier, Bottelary, and Breedekloof: Diverse terroirs, united by Pinotage’s allure.
Coastal Region and Cape Town: A symphony of flavours from the edge of the continent.
Durbanville and Franschhoek: A tale of elegance and history.
Jonkershoek Valley and Walker Bay: Singular expressions that echo in the glass.
Stellenbosch and Paarl: Pillars of Pinotage prowess, offering 40 and 5 vintages respectively.
Piekenierskloof, Robertson, and more: An ensemble of regions weaving a rich tapestry of taste.

The canvas is rich, the stories varied, and the anticipation palpable. As you savour the wines and immerse yourself in the journey, remember that each sip encapsulates the essence of a farm, a vintage, an area, and the creative energy that defines the Absa Top 10 Pinotage 2023 competition.

2023 Judges
Samarie Smith the 2023 convener and her panel of esteemed judges – Fred Viljoen, Rodrick Moyo, Etienne Louw and Anton Swarts – meticulously evaluated each entry, considering factors such as flavour, aroma, balance, and overall expression of the Pinotage varietal. The finalists’ wines stood out for their exceptional quality and unique characteristics, reflecting the diversity and creativity of South Africa’s winemaking community.

Absa Bank’s continued sponsorship has played a pivotal role in the success and growth of the Pinotage Association’s flagship event. By supporting the Top 10 Pinotage competition, Absa Bank reaffirms its dedication to fostering excellence and innovation in the South African wine industry.

As part of the celebration, the Pinotage Association will host a series of exclusive events and promotions featuring the Top 10 winners. These events will provide wine enthusiasts, industry professionals, and the general public with an opportunity to savour and appreciate the exceptional quality of the wines produced by the finalists.

The awards ceremony, where the ultimate winners will be announced, promises to be a highlight of the South African wine calendar. It will be a memorable occasion to acknowledge and celebrate the remarkable achievements of the winemakers who have worked tirelessly to create outstanding Pinotage wines and help change the old negative narrative of Pinotage.  The Absa Top 10 winners’ announcement will be held at Landtscap, Stellenbosch on the 31st August 2023, when the Top 10 winning wines will be revealed.

About the Pinotage Association:
The Pinotage Association is a passionate group of individuals dedicated to promoting, educating, and elevating the profile of Pinotage wines in South Africa and beyond. Through various initiatives, the association strives to showcase the versatility and potential of the Pinotage varietal while fostering a sense of community among winemakers and wine lovers alike.

About Absa Bank:
Absa Bank is a leading financial institution in South Africa, committed to driving sustainable growth and development across various sectors, including the wine industry. The bank’s steadfast support for the Pinotage Association’s Top 10 Pinotage competition underscores its commitment to empowering local winemakers and elevating the reputation of South African wines globally.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Belinda Jacobs | 079 879 9705 |

Note to Editors:
High-resolution images and additional information about the Absa Top 20 Pinotage finalists and the Pinotage Association are available upon request.