Press release: Absa Top 10 Pinotage Awards Winners Announced 2021

Date: 31 August 2021                                     From: Pinotage Association

Contact: Belinda Jacobs                                  Email:

Phone: 079 879 9705


Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition – consistently raising the bar on quality.


The Pinotage Association and Absa are pleased to announce the winners in this year’s Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition, which marks 24 years since this prestigious award has started.

The 2021 Absa Top 10 hybrid awards function was a sensory exploration of the best Pinotages South Africa has to offer. The winners represent various South African wine districts – predominantly from Stellenbosch but also from Breedekloof, Coastal region and Wellington, mostly of the excellent 2018 and 2019 vintage.  The commitment from winemaker and viticulturist to constantly improve and adapt to the environment during this difficult and uncertain period of our lives, is highlighted in this year’s winners which represent phenomenal expressions of Pinotage.

The chairman and founder of the Pinotage Association Beyers Truter, re-iterated that the 24-year relationship with key sponsor – Absa, is an important and excellent collaboration not only for the association and producers but also for the bank.  The relationship has bolstered the international and local marketing of Pinotage.  He stated that the long-standing commitment from Absa has made the Absa Top 10 competition a commercially viable one for any wine estate that enters the Absa Top 10. Their wines become very popular and, in most cases, sold out very quickly.  This is the impact this sponsorship contributes towards not only the producers and association but also to Absa.  “As a bank, for Absa to be involved with a varietal like Pinotage demonstrates that Absa is interested in agriculture and in South Africa, because Pinotage is the only South African commercially available varietal.  There are many marketing endeavors done together with the association that is beneficial for them as well,” says Truter.  The partnership has not only elevated Pinotage but has also been instrumental in the first classification of Pinotage, Grand Pinotage he mentioned.

Choosing this year’s Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition winners was one of the most pleasurable tasks of all, according to Winnie Bowman convener of the judging panel.  In the judging process they were looking for wines that specifically showed the characteristics of Pinotage, in other words varietal true wines, “We were also looking for wines that could age because obviously if you are awarded with a top ten place, your wine should be able to age”, she said.  Balance and structure were key but the fundamental driver – did the winemaker actually achieved what he/she set out to do, which is to marry the acid, the fruit and the tenants of that wine.  “I can say that we were very thrilled with the results because it shows that the panel was consistent in their judging from last year to this year, so I recommend that you look out for these wines or add your own wines so that you can experience a different aspect of Pinotage”.  A special thank you to the judging panel of the Absa Top 10 Pinotage, 2021 – Winnie Bowman, Elmarie Botes, Frans Smit, Carl Schultz, Solly Monyamane and Johan Fourie.


The 2021 Winners

Beeslaar Pinotage 2018 – WO: Stellenbosch, Winemaker: Abrie Beeslaar

Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2018 – WO: Stellenbosch, Winemaker: Anri Truter

Diemersdal The Journal Pinotage 2019 – WO: Durbanville, Winemaker: Thys Louw

Flagstone Writer’s Block Pinotage 2018 – WO: Breedekloof, Winemaker: Gerhard Swart

Francois van Niekerk Pinotage 2019 – WO Coastal, Winemaker: Francois van Niekerk

Stellenbosch 1679 Pinotage 2019 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker: Nicolas Husselman/Handré Visagie

Môreson Widow Maker 2018 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker: Clayton Reabow

Neethlingshof Estate Pinotage 2020 – WO Stellenbosch , Winemaker: De Wet Viljoen

Stellenrust Cornerstone Pinotage 2019 – WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker: Tertius Boshoff

La Cave Pinotage, 2018 – WO Wellington, Winemaker: Francois van Niekerk


Absa celebrates the winners. “The industry not only contribute premium wines to the local and international stage, but it also generates taxes, employment and support wine tourism greatly needed in South Africa. This has made our collaboration as Absa with the Pinotage Association a natural fit.  It promotes the best that South Africa has to offer and highlights why buying locally produced wines is so important in these times. As Absa we are proud to be associated with South African Pinotage and this competition which celebrates excellence in the very best in Pinotage winemaking.  We thank the South African Pinotage Association for driving the importance and the stature of Pinotage on the local and international stages. We wish the industry and the winner’s greater future success,” says John Tshabalala, Managing Executive Cape Region.

This competition is of strategic importance for Absa, this South African variety, shows excellent in the industry and therefore we are committed to this competition and its industry.  For us it’s a privilege to be associated with Pinotage, specifically the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition,” says Abrie Rautenbach, Head of AgriBusiness for Absa.

Museum Iconic Class

In partnering with Absa, the Pinotage Association has seen the ripple effect of the benefit of competitions like the Absa Top 10.  “One of the visions in launching the Absa Top 10 Pinotage competition was to increase the quality standards and perceptions of this uniquely South African wine. And looking back we see the value and importance that competitions have on the impact of the wine estates.” says Beyers Truter

The Museum Iconic class competition is established for an important reason to showcase the age ability of Pinotage.  Pinotage has been embraced by cellarmasters and the wine-loving public; we are on the right track. We would like to encourage participation in this category, which in turn will offer similar benefits as the Absa Top 10 competition.

2021 Museum Iconic Winners

Kanonkop Pinotage 2010WO Stellenbosch, Winemaker Abrie Beeslaar

Rijk’s Private Cellar Pinotage 2011WO Tulbach, Winemaker Pierre Wahl

Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage 2011WO Tulbach, Winemaker Pierre Wahl


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