Press Release •  8/3/2022

Vineyard of the Year Awards

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Australia’s Top Vineyards in 2021

The 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards have been decided after six months of site visits and analysing applications to determine the winners of the four trophies: New Vineyard of the Year; Old Vineyard of the Year; Innovative Vineyard of the Year, dubbed ‘The Groundbreaker’; and Vineyard of the Year.

The 2021 panellists featured Max Allen, Lee Haselgrove, Dr Catherine Kidman, Dr Mary Retallack and Mark Walpole. “Once again, judging the Vineyard of the Year Awards was a frustrating joy: there were so many worthy, exciting, inspiring entries it was very hard to limit ourselves to just four,” said Max Allen.

New Vineyard of the Year

The award for vineyards ten years old or younger, this category highlights the bright future of Australia’s viticulture industry. The 2021 Winner, Mewstone, is managed by viticulturist Luke Andre alongside Jonathon and Matthew Hughes. The vineyard was set up in 2011 in Tasmania, just south of Hobart which comes with no shortage of challenges when growing grapes. Luke Andree expressed “Being as far south as we are our seasons are naturally very long and late. By the time we get to the back end of ripening, our fruit can be hanging out fairly exposed.”

Mewstone vineyard
Mewstone vineyard on the banks of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel
Mewstone vineyard
Mewstone vineyard on the banks of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel

Old Vineyard of the Year

For this category vineyards must be made up of at least 50% old vines and the average age must be at least 35 years. A vineyard that includes vines planted around 1860, the winner of this category in 2021 is Henschke – Hill of Grace. Prue and Stephen Henschke owner the vineyard that grows in Eden Valley, South Australia.

Prue Henschke says the “significant vine age contributes to the palate complexity of the wine.” But their efforts do not stop with the wine. The focus on sustainability is undeniable with Henschke stating “my wish is to replace our tractors, pumps and motors with electrically powered machinery from a green energy source.” 

Henschke Hill of Grace Vineyard
Prue Henschke viticulturist and Stephen Henschke fifth generation winemaker at Hill of Grace
Henschke Hill of Grace Vineyard
Prue Henschke viticulturist and Stephen Henschke fifth generation winemaker at Hill of Grace

Innovative Vineyard of the Year – The Groundbreaker

This trophy singles out innovative methods, processes and ideas being applied in the vineyards. A diverse range of techniques in carbon capture, water efficiency and biological farming practiced were on display but the winner for 2021 was Alkina. Run by Johnny Schuster & Amelia Nolan out of the Barossa subregion of Greenock, Alkina is a relatively new practice on an old farm.

Their Polygon Project consists of terroir-specific micro-parcels, Nolan explains that ”each of these tiny plots of vines has been mapped from a geology point of view, and then picked, vinified and matured separately.” Highlighting the key reason for these awards, Nolan says “Everything is about this vineyard, this country, this land and its long history. The vineyard is the star.”

Alkina Vineyard
Amelia Nolan with Chilean terroir specialist Dr Pedro Parra
Alkina Vineyard
Amelia Nolan with Chilean terroir specialist Dr Pedro Parra

Vineyard of the Year

This ‘open’ category seeks to identify the vineyard that champions the pursuit of grape and wine quality, improving vineyard health and embraces a holistic approach that incorporates sustainability in its operations. The 2021 winner, Eden Hall, is based in the Eden Valley and tended too by viticulturalist Dan Falkenberg.

Taking a unique approach in the industry Falkenberg says “The business is now completely off grid and fully self-sufficient, with no imported power or water to the property.” With an incredible amount of achievements in sustainability over the past few years, Falkenberg says “I am most proud of achieving a reduced carbon footprint.” Solar power, water collection, native grasses, straw mulching, composting and rotational grazing of sheep are all part of what leads Eden Hall’s sustainable practices and makes them the worthy recipient of the 2021 Vineyard of the Year trophy. 

Eden Hall Vineyard
Viticulturist Dan Falkenberg
Eden Hall Vineyard
Viticulturist Dan Falkenberg

Australia’s Top 50 Vineyards in 2021

(In state and alphabetical order.)

As a proud sponsor, Corteva Agriscience celebrates the 50 finalists who made it through rigorous selection to be in contention for the 2021 awards. To be selected from Australia’s viticulture industry consisting of over 6,000 grape growers is a tremendous achievement. The Top 50 Vineyards for 2021 were:

South Australia

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)

Victoria

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)

New South Wales/ACT

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)

Tasmania

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)

Western Australia

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)