With over 6,000 grape-growers, picking the top vineyards in Australia is no easy task. Inundated with entries, the judges narrowed the field to the 50 that best exemplified the values of sustainability, innovation and growing great wine.
“There’s so much great work being done in vineyards across the country,” said awards panellist Max Allen, “and wine drinkers still don't hear about it often enough – but we’re trying to change that!”
To judge the awards, a group of leading experts on viticulture were enlisted to personally review all the applicants. Dr Catherine Kidman, Mark Walpole, Dr Mary Retallack and Lee Haselgrove joined Max Allen in arriving at a very exciting Top 50.
That we can showcase 50 such diverse and inspiring vineyards is a testament to the strength of Australia’s grape-growing community. These vineyards are the source of some the best wines in Australia.
“In the vineyard is where the magic happens!” said awards panellist Dr Mary Retallack. “This is our opportunity to celebrate the innovative and regenerative approaches being taken to produce exceptional grape quality, which is reflected in stunning wines while nurturing the soil, vines and landscapes with an ecological focus. The wine community relies on the commitment and inspiration that starts in the vineyard. We have a lot to be thankful for and celebrate!”
The 50 finalists in the 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards include 20 from South Australia, 11 from Victoria, eight from New South Wales/ACT, seven from Tasmania and four from Western Australia.
Over the next two months, younggunofwine.com will release a profile of each of these vineyards, and the viticulturists/growers behind them.
“It is possible to grow amazing quality fruit while nurturing the land, and they are mutually compatible processes,” continued Retallack. “Consumers are increasingly interested to learn about ways we are demonstrating environmental stewardship. We are well placed to share these insights and stories with our customers – the proof is in the bottle. The VOTY finalists are leading the way and the future of wine growing is truly exciting!”
Lee Haselgrove was last year’s Vineyard of the Year trophy winner with Swinney Vineyard. He joined the panel this year. “Seeing such a combination of practices being undertaken in the pursuit of producing complex and engaging wines – via diversity in clones, soils, sites, planting densities, etc. – through the energy and efforts of the top growers was truly inspiring,” he said, reflecting on his outtakes of the judging. “Organic farming is no longer niche and some of the new vineyards are absolutely inspiring.”
Allen concluded, “The panel were struck again this year by the detailed focus and commitment of so many growers across Australia – whether it’s focusing on capturing subtle terroir differences across a larger block of vines or responding to the challenges of climate change; whether it’s establishing a visionary new vineyard or maintaining the health and viability of century-old vines; whether it’s applying the latest technology or re- introducing ancient grape-farming methods, there are many inspirational stories out there.”
Beside celebrating the achievements of 2021’s Top 50, there are four trophies to be awarded, with the winners announced in February 2022.
(In state and alphabetical order.)
Adelina, Clare Valley (Col McBryde & Michael Maloney) Alkina, Barossa Valley (Johnny Schuster & Amelia Nolan) Coriole, McLaren Vale (Mark Bates)
Eden Hall, Eden Valley (Dan Falkenberg)
Gemtree, McLaren Vale (Melissa Brown)
Grindstone, Wrattonbully (Susie Harris)
Grosset – Watervale, Clare Valley (Matthew O'Rourke) Hayes Family – Stone Well, Barossa Valley (Brett Hayes) Henschke – Hill of Grace, Eden Valley (Prue Henschke)
Inkwell, McLaren Vale (Dudley Brown & Irina Santiago-Brown)
Kalleske, Barossa Valley (Kym Kalleske)
Lacey Vineyards – Branson Road, McLaren Vale (Ben Lacey)
Markaranka, Riverland (Brendan Turner)
Mérite, Wrattonbully (Mike Kloak)
Ngeringa – Summit, Adelaide Hills (Erinn Klein)
Oliver’s Taranga, McLaren Vale (Don Oliver)
Orbis, McLaren Vale (Andrew Mackenzie & Richard Leask)
Smallfry – Vine Vale, Barossa Valley (Wayne Ahrens & Suzi Hilder)
Starrs Reach, Riverland (Sheridan Alm)
Yangarra Estate, McLaren Vale (Michael Lane)
Cobaw Ridge, Macedon Ranges (Alan Cooper)
Lake Moodemere, Rutherglen (Joel Chambers)
Lethbridge, Geelong (Ray Nadeson)
Place of Changing Winds, Macedon Ranges (Remi Jacquemain & Robert Walters)
Quealy – Winery Vineyard, Mornington Peninsula (Lucas Blanck)
Seppelt – Drumborg, Henty (Larry Sadler)
Solitude Estate, Yarra Valley (Greg Kerr)
Tellurian, Heathcote (Tobias Ansted)
Ten Minutes by Tractor – Spedding, Mornington Peninsula (Ryan Chabin & Imogen Dillon)
Thousand Candles, Yarra Valley (Stuart Proud)
Weathercraft – Jones Ridge, Beechworth (Raquel Jones)
Brokenwood – Graveyard Vineyard, Hunter Valley (Katrina Barry)
Margan – Ceres Hill, Broke Fordwich, Hunter Valley (Andrew Margan)
Mount Majura Vineyard, Canberra District (Leo Quirk)
See Saw – Annangrove Park, Orange (Brendan Jarrett)
Tamburlaine – Borenore, Orange (Mark Pengilly & Clayton Kiely)
Topper’s Mountain, New England Australia (Mark Kirkby)
Keith Tulloch – Field of Mars, Hunter Valley (Brent Hutton)
Vinden – Somerset, Pokolbin, Hunter Valley (Angus Vinden)
Devil’s Corner, East Coast (Daniel Watson)
Ghost Rock, Cradle Coast (Izaak Perkins)
Marion’s Vineyard, Tamar Valley (Cynthea Semmens)
Mewstone, D’Entrecasteaux Channel (Luke Andree)
Pooley – Cooinda Vale, Coal River Valley (Hannah Mckay)
Small Wonder, Tamar Valley (Ryan Collins)
Stefano Lubiana, Derwent Valley (Steve Lubiana)
Deep Woods Estate, Margaret River (John Fogarty)
McHenry Hohnen – Hazel’s Vineyard, Margaret River (Simon Keall)
Vasse Felix – Tom’s Vineyard, Margaret River (Bart Molony)
Voyager Estate, Margaret River (Steve James)
The Vineyard of the Year Awards are brought together with thanks to partners Corteva, FMR Group, Netafim, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Roundwood Solutions, Stoller and Wine Guns for Hire.
For more information about the 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards, including the Top 50 visit this link.