Diners Club pulls out all stops for Winemakers of the Year

Right on cue comes the news that the venue for this year’s Diners Club Winemakers of the Year (young and all-comers) has been acclaimed best hotel in the world. “South Africa’s top wine industry leaders and Diners Club guests will attend the black tie gala awards ceremony to be held at the La Residence Hotel in Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines Diners Club pulls out all stops for Winemakers of the Year
by franschhoekwines
on 30 November 2013″ says the DC press release.

lr 615x280 Diners Club pulls out all stops for Winemakers of the Year

An impressive 79,268 readers of Condé Nast Traveller magazine voted Elton John’s Pied a Cap best in the world. 1.3 million votes were cast for 16,000 properties around the world and the emergence of La Residence is a remarkable achievement. There were double the number of judges from last year.

This is crowd souring at its best and far better than the usual corrupt application of insider trading wheeler dealing that bedevils so many awards in SA food and wine. Why do SA banks insist on sponsoring these competitions of zero credibility? Couldn’t care less or another form of corruption? Diners Club Winemaker of the Year is a towering pillar of probity in a desert of deceit and I say so, not because I am a judge, but because I have seen it in action.  The jury is still out, however, on spelling.  Condé Nast Traveler or is it Condé Nast Traveller?

The award is another feather in the exotic hat of owner Liz Biden who is having a comet vintage, owning as she does a trio of exclusive private hotels operating under The Royal Portfolio brand. There is Royal Malewane, a safari lodge in the greater Kruger Park; Birkenhead House in Hermanus; and La Residence in Franschhoek which together offer luxury beach, bush and wineland experiences and cover all tourist bases.

Royal Malewane is booming thanks to a redirection south of tourist trade from Kenya and Tanzania in the wake of the Al Shabaab atrocities while Birkenhead House has the best position in the plutocrat playground of the Hemel en Aarde Valley.

The press release announcing the award, paints a rosy picture. “La Residence – in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley, one of South Africa’s most picturesque wine regions and the country’s food and wine capital – is encircled by vineyards, plum orchards and olive groves. It represents the epitome of grandeur and grace. From the lavish suites and villas to refined dining and uniquely-crafted, wine-tasting experiences, La Residence radiates sophistication.” Of course US magazine Wine Spectator has dethroned Franschhoek as food capital, at least, and handed that laurel to Stellenbosch. But then recommendations from the Speccie are not made by readers. More’s the pity.