Phillip Theron wins the 2020 Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year Award!
Where Skill and Passion Meet – Article by Bernie Hellberg Jr for Signature Magazine, Edition 4: The Diners Club International Magazine
As the 20th Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year, Phillip Theron of Glen Carlou, has stamped his absolute authority on his future in the wine industry.
The Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year award, now in its 20th year, was established to encourage winemakers under the age of 30 to develop their skills, express their individuality, and add to the future prestige of South African wines internationally. The awards focus on quality and recognition of excellence and are widely regarded as the country’s most prestigious and well-respected wine industry competition. While wine awards generally focus on the wine itself, the Diners Club Winemaker and Young WInemaker of the Year, celebrated the individual skills and talents of the vintners.
For Phillip Theron, whose 2018 Glen Carlou Collection Tannat and co-finalist 2019 Glen Carlou Collection Malbec had the 2020 competition judges enthralled, the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year contest is familiar territory.
The young winemaker’s first nomination came in 2018, when both of his submissions for that year’s contest – a 2017 Merlot and 2017 Curator’s Collection Malbec – were selected as finalists. Although the prize ultimately was ultimately awarded to Rüdger van Wyk from Stark-Condé Wines for his 2016 Stellenbosch Syrah, the cellar door now stood ajar for Phillip to work towards another Diners Club nomination.
That, in both instances of his participation, two of Phillip’s wines made it to finalist status, is as much a reflection on the high quality of Glen Carlou wines, as it is on the natural skill that Phillip so obviously possesses.
Phillip calls Bellville home. Here he attended Bellville High School and matriculated in 2011. After school, he turned his attention to studying agricultural management at Boland College in Worcester, where a required practical in his first year saw Phillip participate in a Harvest at Daschbosch winery. The experience piqued Phillip’s interest in the winemaking industry.
Upon completing his third year of study, Phillip yet again participated in a practical learning experience, albeit this time over a 12-month period at Glen Carlou Vineyards.
“In the same year, Glen Carlou offered me the opportunity to experience a harvest in Burgundy, France where I also attended a short course on the winemaking of the area, and after that, I harvested at Domain de Comte Armand, IN Pommard.” comments Phillip. Investing in the young winemaker paid off for Glen Carlou, and the promising vintner was appointed as assistant winemaker in 2018.
It would be gratuitous to say that Phillip Theron shows an enormous amount of raw talent for winemaking. For a man who, at this early juncture in his career already stands firmly on the cusp of greatness, Phillip’s natural demeanour is almost needlessly unassuming. Yet, it would be wise not to disregard Phillip based on his seemingly quiet demeanour.
As a young winemaker, Phillip is the true embodiment of the ideals of the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year competition, and a worthy winner of the 20th running.