&noscript=1"/>

Calling All Winegrowers – the 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards

Latest
15 July 2021. Words by YGOW.

Following last year’s inaugural awards, the 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards is now open for registrations.

The Awards are designed to place vineyards and growers across the nation at the heart of the Australian wine story, and the heart of the Australian wine community. We want to strengthen the connection between the wine in your glass, the place it comes from, and the way the grapes are grown.

In the inaugural edition, we didn’t just applaud the trophy winners. As a celebration of Australian viticulture, we profiled the special sites and remarkable custodianship of 50 winegrowers.

That list of 50 profiles makes for absolutely inspirational reading,” says wine writer and awards judge Max Allen. “It shows you how much great work is being done in vineyards across the country.”

“That list of 50 profiles makes for absolutely inspirational reading,” says wine writer and awards judge Max Allen. “It shows you how much great work is being done in vineyards across the country.”

Viticulturist Lee Haselgrove joins the judging panel in 2021. Having taken out the top title in 2020 with Swinney Vineyard, he understands the challenges of the growers as well as anyone.

“I entered with Swinney Vineyard last year because we were drawn to the idea behind the awards, where specific places and the people that nurture them would be thoroughly examined and seriously recognised,” says Haselgrove. “As the Australian wine sector matures, it is absolutely the ideal time to progress the conversation from the winemaking personalities to the vineyards and the viticulturists that create the unique regional identity of Australia’s fine wine – wines that cannot be made anywhere else.”

In 2021, the judging panel consists of Dr Catherine Kidman, Dianne Davidson AM, Lee Haselgrove, Mark Walpole, Dr Mary Retallack and Max Allen.

The awards are about sustainability, innovation and the pursuit of vine health and wine quality. We want to hear what viticulture approaches are being incorporated to make unique sites, and shine a light on the work of our best growers.

Above: Lee Haselgrove (R) with Matt Swinney (L), recipients of the inaugural Vineyard of the Year trophy. “I entered with Swinney Vineyard last year because we were drawn to the idea behind the awards, where specific places and the people that nurture them would be thoroughly examined and seriously recognised,” says Haselgrove. Opposite: Dr Mary Retallack, who is joining the judging panel in 2021. Image courtesy of Barossa Grape & Wine Association.
“As the Australian wine sector matures, it is absolutely the ideal time to progress the conversation from the winemaking personalities to the vineyards and the viticulturists that create the unique regional identity of Australia's fine wine – wines that cannot be made anywhere else.”

In an evolution to the program, we are planning an event to bring together all of the finalists at time of announcement around the start of December 2021.

We want to connect growers to the industry because, as Haselgrove points out, “professional networking helps advance our practices, and growers can benefit enormously by forging closer links with customers. Motivated and passionate growers will always know more about their site’s inherent characteristics than a customer; therefore, the real opportunity comes from developing closer relationships educating customers – all along the chain. Such partnerships can allow amazing progress to be achieved together.”

These awards are a celebration of viticulture, and it is through the championing of top vineyards and their stewards, that we can elevate the awareness of their unique role in shaping the wines we love. This collective industry benefit is the great outcome of these awards, and the path forward is through participation. So, we’re calling all winegrowers to step forward.

In addition to the base entry, there are four trophies that are ultimately presented: Innovative Vineyard of the Year – The Groundbreaker, highlighting novel approaches to farming grapes; New Vineyard of the Year, recognising a young vineyard (less than ten years old); Old Vineyard of the Year, given to an established site (more than 35 years old); and Vineyard of the Year, for the most outstanding entry.

Uniquely, the four Vineyard of the Year perpetual trophies come together to form a sculpture. That sculpture is an abstract representation of a vineyard and, in particular, the layers that form the soil profile.

“I would strongly encourage all wine growers around Australia to get involved in the 2021 Awards,” says Haselgrove. “It’s a great opportunity to look closely at your vineyard operations, get energized by the process, and maybe be reminded of the extraordinary diversity, abilities and energy of our people and places in Australian viticulture.”

“It’s a very thorough process, and last year it really encouraged us to look closely at our operations.”

The Vineyard of the Year Awards are brought together with thanks to partners FMR Group, Netafim, Nutrien, Roundwood Solutions and Stoller.

Entries for the 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards are open now until August 31. Read the full criteria and submit an application via this page.