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2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards

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.

2021 is the second annual Vineyard of the Year Awards...

As winemakers frequently say, “great wine is made in the vineyard.” 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.

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, and shine a light on the work of our best growers.

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.

Trophies & Criteria

Our definition of a vineyard

  • Our use of the term vineyard is about the vines growing in the land. The vineyards we are acknowledging will include both pure grape growers as well as wine producers, or vineyards with wineries attached.
  • Because these awards are talking to consumers about the place of origin of wine product, we define ‘one vineyard’ as it would be labelled on a bottle, or the name of the fruit source as it is sold as by the grower.
  • A vineyard is a single property. It may include multiple blocks of vines on one property, but it is not a collection of multiple properties in a region.
  • A property may be defined as multiple vineyards, if there are blocks of vines which are distinctly labelled by their site name on finished wines in market.

The base criteria

  • First and foremost, these awards are about championing the pursuit of grape and wine quality.
  • Vineyards will need to name a viticulturist or grower responsible for the vineyard, as these awards recognise the place and person hand-in-hand.
  • These awards are open to grape growers who sell fruit to winemakers, as well as wine producers who grow their own fruit.
  • Growers will need to be able to name wines that are made from the grapes grown on that vineyard. Wine products which are blends of multiple fruit sources are acceptable.
  • We are looking for viticulturists who are committed to improving vineyard health.
  • To that end, “sustainability” will be a fundamental element of these awards. Sustainability encompassing one or all of the following: environmental, economic and social endeavours.

New Vineyard of the Year

  • For a vineyard ten years old or younger at time of entry.
  • This award exists to talk about entirely new vineyards. A new block of vines planted as part of an established vineyard is not considered a new vineyard.
  • Top-working/grafting an existing vineyard to new varieties is not considered to be new vines.
  • Re-planting a vineyard is not considered a new vineyard, unless a majority of the vineyard has been replanted, and the vineyard name has not previously been used on bottled wines.
  • The entrant needs to be able to point to wine produced from that vineyard that has been available in the marketplace within the last year.

Old Vineyard of the Year

  • Old vines must constitute at least 50% of the vineyard, and the average vine age must be at least 35 years at time of entry.
  • The entrant needs to be able to point to wine produced from that vineyard that has been available in the marketplace over multiple vintages within the last five years. Blended products from multiple vineyard sources are acceptable (e.g. the grapes from this older vineyard were blended with fruit from other, younger vineyards).

Innovative Vineyard of the Year – The Groundbreaker

  • This trophy singles out innovative methods, processes and ideas being applied in the vineyards. Beyond the pursuit of wine quality and vineyard health, as a commercial imperative, a sustainable vineyard should take also take into account economic, social and environmental responsibilities.
  • For instance, finalists/winners may be recognised for novel approaches to carbon capture; water efficiency; biological farming practices; cover cropping; alternative (non-chemical) disease and pest management; varietal/clonal selections, as well as co-planting, pruning techniques, etc. This award can also single out broader environmental initiatives, or interconnected activities (such as tourism) that add to the sustainability of a vineyard when the broader economic and community benefits are considered.

Vineyard of the Year

  • The “open” category. Please see ‘base criteria’ above.

Calendar

  • Entries open, July 15 2021
  • Entries close, September 1, 2021
  • Finalists announcement event, December 2, 2021
  • A shortlist of vineyards around Australia to be inspected by consultants to the panel ~ December/January, 2021-2022
  • Each of the finalists to be profiled through Young Gun of Wine digital channels, December 2021-February 2022
  • Trophy winners announced ~ start of February, 2022

Winners

2021 Panellists

  • Dr Catherine Kidman

    Viticulturist at Wynns Coonawarra Estate; PhD in grapevine rootstocks, water stress, flowering and fruitset; 2020 Gourmet Traveller Viticulturist of the Year; and 2020 Australian Women in Wine Viticulturist of the Year

  • Dianne Davidson AM

    Agricultural scientist with 45 years’ experience in viticulture and horticulture; Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board Chair; Councillor of the University of Adelaide for 12 years, four as Deputy Chancellor; Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

  • Lee Haselgrove

    Director and viticultural consultant at Mure Viticulture; Chair of Wines of Western Australia Research and Development Committee; inaugural recipient of the Vineyard of the Year Award with Swinney vineyard.

  • Mark Walpole

    Vigneron/owner of Fighting Gully Road; viticulture consultant; a pioneer of alternative varieties in Victoria; 2017 Gourmet Traveller WINE’s Viticulturist of the Year.

  • Dr Mary Retallack

    Agricultural scientist and agroecologist, owner of Retallack Viticulture; Director of Wine Australia; PhD in viticulture and plant protection; 2020 Gourmet Traveller WINE Len Evans Award for Leadership, 2012 AgriFutures Rural Women’s National Award.

  • Max Allen

    Award-winning journalist and author; honorary fellow in history at the University of Melbourne; wine and drinks columnist for the Australian Financial Review and JancisRobinson.com.

2021 Partners

Top 50 Finalists

    • Adelina, Clare Valley
    • Colin McBryde & Michael Maloney
    • South Australia, Clare Valley

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    The Adelina vineyard, in the Clare Valley, is an old one. The first shiraz vines were planted in the early 1900s and were supplemented with grenache sometime in the ’40s. When Col McBryde and Jennie Gardner took over the management of the site in 2002, their work was cut out for them. With rampant wild olive trees and weeds aplenty, they set about regenerating the landscape, working with organic methods for many years before finally seeking and achieving certification in 2020. Today, those old vines are in fine health, while further plantings have increased the vineyard size a little to now occupy six hectares.

    • Alkina, Barossa Valley
    • Johnny Schuster & Amelia Nolan
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2021

    2021 Innovative Vineyard of the Year
    2021 Finalist

    Alkina is a relatively new project on an old farm. First planted to vines by Les Kalleske in 1955 in the Barossa subregion of Greenock, the site boasts stone buildings dating back to the 1850s. When Argentinian vigneron Alejandro Bulgheroni bought the property in 2015, he planted new vines and embarked on a process of examining the site’s geology in microscopic detail over a five-year project. With general manager Amelia Nolan and vineyard manager Johnny Schuster both overseeing the certified biodynamic vineyard, the ongoing quest is to grow terroir-reflective fruit from Barossa heritage varieties and elaborate them with simple and transparent winemaking, both as blends of blocks and micro-parcels called ‘Polygons’.

    • Brokenwood – Graveyard Vineyard, Hunter Valley
    • Katrina Barry
    • Hunter Valley

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    The Graveyard Vineyard is one of this country’s most significant. It’s mature enough, at a little over 50 years, though that’s not particularly old in this country’s oldest winegrowing region, the Hunter Valley. It’s significant for its history, with James Halliday prominent among the three solicitors that first planted it, with the first harvest ferried by Len Evans’ Bentley to the makeshift winery. And it’s significant for what followed, with the Brokenwood ‘Graveyard Vineyard’ Shiraz becoming one of the towering icons of Australian wine. Today, the vineyard has become solely focused on shiraz, with viticulturist Katrina Barry taking the baton of vineyard manager from her father, managing the site with sustainability as a core value.

    • Cobaw Ridge, Macedon Ranges
    • Alan Cooper
    • Macedon Ranges

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Perched high in the granitic cool of Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, Cobaw Ridge is a certified biodynamic vineyard specialising in varietal bottlings of chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah and lagrein, as well as a syrah rosé that is often touted as one of the best in the land. Alan Cooper has always farmed sympathetically, but it is since the conversion to organics, then biodynamics that he believes the vine resilience, fruit quality, depth of flavour and expression of site has dramatically improved.

    • Coriole, McLaren Vale
    • Mark Bates
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Hugh and Molly Lloyd bought the Chaffeys Road vineyard that would become Coriole in 1967, producing the first estate wine in 1969, which was labelled ‘Claret’, though it was all shiraz from the 1919-planted vines on the property. Today, Coriole is run by Hugh and Molly’s son Mark Lloyd along with his sons, Duncan and Peter. Shiraz is still a mainstay, along with cabernet sauvignon, but those regional heroes are joined by climate-apt varieties like fiano and nero d’avola, while Coriole has been continuously growing and making sangiovese longer than anyone else in this country. The vineyard is managed by Mark Bates, who farms organically (not certified) with a strong focus on biodiversity and employs technology to target areas through precision agriculture.

    • Deep Woods Estate, Margaret River
    • John Fogarty
    • Margaret River

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Since its establishment in 2005, Deep Woods Estate has become a phenomenal success story, with the wines achieving numerous accolades, including three Max Schubert Trophies and the 2016 Jimmy Watson. The success of the wines has also seen Chief Winemaker Julian Langworthy collect several Winemaker of the Year gongs, largely due to the cabernet-based wines and chardonnay. But that success has been underpinned by the viticultural work of John Fogarty that has transformed a vineyard that had previously focused on yield over quality to one that produces some of the highest quality and most distinctive fruit in the Margaret River region.

    • Devil’s Corner, East Coast
    • Daniel Watson
    • Tasmania

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    The Devil’s Corner Vineyard on Tasmania’s East Coast is the island’s largest, with over 190 hectares under vine. Named after a nearby nautical danger zone in the Hazards, the vineyard overlooks the Moulting Lagoon, with a classic varietal mix dominated by pinot noir, chardonnay and aromatic whites. Brett McClen oversees the viticultural operations, with a focus on soil health and water conservation, treating each block individually to maximise quality.

    • Eden Hall, Eden Valley
    • Dan Falkenberg
    • South Australia, Eden Valley

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Vineyard of the Year
    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    David and Mardi Hall bought their Eden Valley property in 1996, planting vines the following year. It was the site of an older vineyard, but the vines were uprooted in the 1970s. That old vineyard was made up of cabernet sauvignon, malbec and riesling, with the Halls planting both the former and latter again, along with shiraz, cabernet franc, merlot and viognier, with grüner veltliner grafted somewhat more recently. All fruit goes to the Eden Hall wines. Dan Falkenberg tends to the viticulture on the 33-hectare site, where he focuses on increasing biodiversity and reducing water use through revegetation and practices like mulching and planting mid-row swards of native grasses. Eden Hall is also independent of external inputs of water and electricity, being off grid since 2019.

    • Gemtree, McLaren Vale
    • Melissa Brown & Troy Elliker
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    With the vineyard situated in McLaren Flat, the Gemtree mission is very much an ongoing quest to improve wine quality, but their ethos is inseparable from a desire to have a positive environmental impact both locally and globally. With an eye to the future, viticulturist Melissa Brown has planted varieties suited to an ever-warming Mediterranean climate – like nero d’avola and fiano – alongside the Vale classics of shiraz and grenache. The 125-hectare vineyard has been managed using biodynamic methods since 2007 – with it certified for almost a decade – to encourage a ‘living soil’ and build resilience in the vines, while an eco-reserve has been established to restore native flora and fauna, as well as to educate visitors.

    • Ghost Rock, Cradle Coast
    • Izaak Perkins
    • Tasmania

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Ghost Rock Vineyard is the pioneering vineyard of Tasmania’s North West wine region, to the west of the Tamar. Sticking with the state’s strongest suits, pinot noir and chardonnay take the lead, with aromatic whites in pursuit. With over 25 hectares under vine, the Arnold family farm in a sustainable way, with an end goal of organic certification. All wines are made on site, from pan-estate and single block selections of the hero varieties to a skinsy white, pét-nat and chillable red in their Supernatural range.

    • Grosset – Watervale, Clare Valley
    • Matthew O'Rourke
    • Clare Valley

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Jeffrey Grosset started in the wine game young, with a bottle of riesling tasted at the family dinner table propelling him to study agriculture and oenology at the age of 16, graduating by the time he was 21. Establishing Grosset Wines in 1981, he has become one of Australia’s most lauded winemakers – with riesling a notable specialty – but the heart of the Grosset operation has always been in evolving the work in the vineyard to make vital, pure wine that is intensely expressive of site. His Watervale Vineyard is comprised of two sections planted to quite different soils, with both underpinned by certified biodynamic farming overseen by vineyard manager Matthew O’Rourke.

    • Hayes Family – Stone Well Estate, Barossa Valley
    • Brett Hayes
    • South Australia, Barossa Valley

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Brett Hayes bought his Stone Well Vineyard to form the basis of Hayes Family Wines, launching the label in 2014. The Stone Well Vineyard is a modest site of 4.5 hectares populated mostly by vines planted over 70 years ago, with the farming now certified organic, along with the onsite winery. The Stone Well Vineyard is the lone source of the organic Hayes Family Wines Estate Range, with varietal shiraz, grenache and mataro bottlings, as well as a blend of the three. Hayes oversees the management of the site, with the grapes now all going to his wines, though the shiraz was previously sold to Grant Burge to make Meshach, their flagship wine.

    • Henschke – Hill of Grace, Eden Valley
    • Prue Henschke
    • Eden Valley

    • 2021

    2021 Old Vineyard of the Year
    2021 Finalist

    Home to Australia’s most respected and expensive single vineyard wine, there is perhaps no more famous or revered vineyard in Australia than Henschke’s Hill of Grace. It is also home to some of this country’s oldest vines, planted by Nicolaus Stanitzki around 1860. That’s the year when the Gnadenberg Lutheran Church was built, which overlooks the vineyard and gives it its name –a region in Silesia, Gnadenberg roughly translates as ‘Hill of Grace’. With biodynamics, ancestral organic practices and an eye to regenerative agriculture, Prue Henschke is both nurturing the past and building resilience in the vineyard and enhanced native environment for the long-term future.

    • Inkwell, McLaren Vale
    • Dudley Brown & Irina Santiago-Brown
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    In McLaren Vale’s Tatachilla subregion, Dudley Brown and Irina Santiago-Brown’s Inkwell Vineyards is a model vineyard operation with sustainability as a driving principal. Certified organic since 2017, the vineyard has been managed with strict organics since 2008. From an existing young vineyard planted solely to shiraz, the varietal mix has been tweaked since 2011 to include climate-apt grapes like primitivo, grillo and arinto, while the viticulture has been continually tweaked to improve soil health and reduce water usage. The property also houses an off-grid luxury hotel and significant biodiversity corridors. All wines are made onsite and range from varietal expressions of regional hero varieties to orange wines and preservative-free offerings.

    • Kalleske, Barossa Valley
    • Kym Kalleske
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Kym Kalleske is the current custodian of the vines on his family’s near 170-year-old Barossa property. With the oldest vines some 147 years old, the vineyard has been biodynamically certified for over two decades, with the celebrated eponymous wine label – from classic Moppa Shiraz and Clarry’s GSM to the vibrantly fresh Parallax and Zeitgeist wines and up to the flagship Johann Georg Shiraz – just on 20 years old this year. Kym works with his parents and two brothers to ensure a rich family legacy will stretch long into the future through a focus on sustainability and regenerative agriculture.

    • Keith Tulloch Wine – Field of Mars, Hunter Valley
    • Brent Hutton
    • Hunter Valley

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Field of Mars is the Keith Tulloch Wine home vineyard. Planted mostly to over 50-year-old vines on alluvial soils in Pokolbin, it rubs shoulders with some of the Hunter’s most revered semillon sites. Sustainability is a key driver of the estate, from the farming to re-establishing native scrub to using only recycled packaging for their wine. The site is run by vineyard manager Brent Hutton, with it producing premium single block wines in the Field of Mars range.

    • Lacey Vineyards – Branson Road, McLaren Vale
    • Ben Lacey
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Ben Lacey’s Branson Road Vineyard in the McLaren Vale subregion of Tatachilla supplies fruit to makers both big and small, from Treasury Wine Estates to new stars like Bondar and Sherrah. With just under 14 hectares of vines, Lacey grows four varieties – shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, fiano and grenache – across four distinct geologies and a range of soil types, with sea breezes (the vineyard is 3km from the ocean) cooling the site in the afternoons. With a focus on soil health and revegetating non-vineyard land, the vineyard has gone from growing average fruit to achieving consistently premium results across the blocks.

    • Lake Moodemere, Rutherglen
    • Joel Chambers
    • Rutherglen

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Lake Moodemere Estate Vineyard is planted to red soils on an ancient riverbed of the Murray in Victoria’s historic Rutherglen region. The site has been in the Chambers family for four generations, and a long history of focusing on sustainability has been enhanced as the years go by, with a symbiotic relationship with their mixed farming and vineyard operations of mutual benefit, as well as having positive environmental impacts. The fruit goes to making estate wines – sparkling, table and fortified – which are made onsite and served in their lakeside restaurant that is supplied by their farm, using everything from wheat to lamb, vegetables, fruit and honey.

    • Land of Tomorrow – Grindstone Vineyard, Wrattonbully
    • Susie Harris
    • Wrattonbully

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Susie Harris makes her Land of Tomorrow wines from her family’s Wrattonbully property, which they have farmed for four generations. Beginning in the 1970s, the property has been steadily revegetated from bare grazing land to re-establish woodland and wetlands, with vines first planted for the Grindstone Vineyard in 1995. Harris has sped up the process of restoring the land, with as much attention to the vineyard as the surrounding land, building biodiversity from microbes in the soil to native grasses between the rows and fauna in the re-established scrub.

    • Lethbridge, Geelong
    • Ray Nadeson
    • Geelong

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    For almost a decade, Ray Nadeson and Maree Collis juggled the demands of establishing and running a vineyard and caring for a young family, while also maintaining careers as research scientists – both have PhDs, in medicine and chemistry respectively. In 2003, Lethbridge became their permanent home and focus, with a vineyard-first approach driving them to implement biodynamic principles (not certified) and pursue soil health through a proactive evolution of their methods to evolve their practices to suit their site. All the wines are made onsite by Nadeson, with the home vineyard the source of all their Estate, Single Block and Reserve wines.

    • Margan – Ceres Hill Vineyard, Broke Fordwich
    • Andrew Margan
    • NSW/ACT, Broke Fordwich

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Andrew and Lisa Margan started their eponymous label in 1996, buying their Ceres Hill Vineyard shortly after, which already had some semillon and chardonnay planted (1989 and ’90 respectively). An early interest in less-familiar grapes saw barbera planted, and later albariño, which have become mainstays for the brand. Today, the 12 hectares at the home vineyard are supplemented by other sustainably farmed sites, but it is the core of Margan Wines. It’s also where the popular cellar door and hugely respected restaurant (Lisa is a chef, WSET Diploma holder and has a master’s degree in science and nutrition focused on organics) is situated. The vineyard is currently in conversion to organics.

    • Marion’s Vineyard, Tamar Valley
    • Cynthea Semmens
    • Tasmania

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Marion’s Vineyard sits on the west bank of the Tamar, some 35 km north of Launceston. It’s a picturesque spot, with the vines arrayed on a healthy slope leading to a broad expanse river, a row of Tuscan cypress standing to attention in front of the stone winery in the middle of the vineyard. Marion and Mark Semmens bought the site in 1979 after a life-changing holiday, leaving their San Francisco home behind and planting vines a year later. Today, their daughter, Cynthea, runs the operation, with a decade of hard work leading to biodynamic certification being granted in 2022. The site predictably favours chardonnay and pinot noir, but it also has the capacity to mature later-ripening grapes, such as syrah and cabernets sauvignon and franc.

    • Markaranka, Riverland
    • Brendan Turner
    • Riverland

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    The Markaranka Vineyard is at the heart of Treasury Wine Estate’s fortified wine program – making the company’s most iconic fortifieds, such as Penfolds’ ‘Father’, ‘Grandfather’ and ‘Great-Grandfather’ tawnies, as well Saltram’s ‘Mr Pickwick’. In South Australia’s Riverland, the vineyard is a large one at over 170 hectares, but it is managed by Brendan Turner with sustainability at its core, with an ongoing quest to reduce all inputs while producing super-premium fruit for flagship fortified wines.

    • McHenry Hohnen – Hazel’s Vineyard, Margaret River
    • Simon Keall
    • Margaret River

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Hazel’s Vineyard is the home site for Margaret River’s McHenry Hohnen, with the fruit making wines all along their range, including classic regional expressions of chardonnay and cabernet, emerging grapes like tempranillo, a mineral Southern Rhône blend and their flagship cabernets, Rolling Stone. Planted over 20 years ago, the site has been managed according to organic then biodynamic principles, with certification coming in 2020. Simon Keall manages the McHenry Hohnen vineyards with a sustainable ethos, which includes solar generation, no external water for irrigation and onsite composting.

    • Mérite, Wrattonbully
    • Mike Kloak
    • Wrattonbully

    • 2021

    Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Mike Kloak and Colleen Miller’s Mérite label was founded after the considerable success they had growing contract fruit on their vineyard in Wrattonbully. In particular, it was their acheivements with merlot that inspired them to make their own wine. That grape has had a chequered history in this country, but the wines under their label are shifting the conversation, with a quartet of new clones producing complex, flavourful wines at relatively low alcohol levels, rather than the bruising wines that we have become used to. Kloak runs his vineayrd with respect to the natural environment, planting vines around trees rather than removing them and encouraging biodiversity of flora, fauna and beneficial insects.

    • Mewstone, Tasmania
    • Luke Andree
    • Tasmania

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 New Vineyard of the Year
    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Mewstone has appeared comet-like in its success. The wines – hailing from the banks of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel in Tasmania’s viticultural deep south – have been accorded a rapid series of accolades, but though that ascension may seem quick, it was laboriously built from the ground up. Although the vineyard is just on a decade old, an intensely thoughtful process has underpinned the processes of owners Jonathan and Matthew Hughes, with the site meticulously tended and progressively planted to optimise its potential. Today, viticulturist Luke Andree works with Jonathan Hughes to manage the 3.6-hectare vineyard, farming pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling and shiraz vines, with the formal process of organic certification having begun in 2020.

    • Mount Majura, Canberra District
    • Leo Quirk
    • Canberra District

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Winemaker Dr Frank van de Loo and viticulturist Leo Quirk work hand in glove at the Canberra District’s Mount Majura to make wines from the ground up with a focus on sustainable viticulture that is perpetually modified based on careful observation and analysis. While the regional heroes of riesling and shiraz are lead varieties for the estate, ‘alternative’ varieties are given ample airtime. Tempranillo, in particular, has found a special home on the steep limestone and volcanic rock slope, with single block wines neatly showing the nuances of site.

    • Ngeringa – Summit, Adelaide Hills
    • Erinn Klein
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Erinn Klein and his wife, Janet, planted the Summit Vineyard at a density of 6,600 vines per hectare on his family’s property in 2001–02. Aside from being a site of excellent potential, biodynamic farming principles had been in place for over a decade, with certification coming in 1993. That property houses the herb farm at the core of the family’s Jurlique skin-care brand, providing botanicals for their products. The approach that underscores the herb farm was always going to be central to the Kleins’ vision, who run the Ngeringa brand together from the ground up, making wine on site as well as running livestock, growing vegetables and tirelessly revegetating the native environment. From the 2-hectare Summit vineyard, Ngeringa make their premium pinot noir and chardonnay, and fruit from this site also goes into the broader estate syrah and a pet-nat.

    • Oliver’s Taranga, McLaren Vale
    • Don Oliver
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    The Oliver family has been farming their land in the Seaview subregion of McLaren Vale over six generations. William and Elizabeth Oliver landed in Australia from England in 1839, setting up a mixed farm business that included wine grapes. That business grew over the years, with grape-growing eventually taking over from the general farming operations. Today, Don Oliver takes charge in the vineyard, while his niece, Corinna Wright, established the family’s winemaking business, being to the first in the family to bottle wine commercially.

    • Orbis, McLaren Vale
    • Andrew Mackenzie & Richard Leask
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    The Orbis wine label was founded by Brad Moyes and Kendall Grey inn 2018 when they purchased an established vineyard in McLaren Vale. The Orbis name references the idea of a self-sufficient system, and the pair anchor everything they do in sustainability, from farming to bottling. The vineyard is managed by Andrew Mackenzie, with renowned viticulturist Richard Leask consulting. No herbicides are used, with the mowing performed by a flock of babydoll sheep that have been given permanent residence between the vines. The fruit goes to make the Orbis wines at the onsite winery, with contract grapes being sold to make premium products for Penfolds, Wirra Wirra, Hither & Yon and Samson Tall.

    • Place of Changing Winds, Macedon Ranges
    • Remi Jacquemain & Robert Walters
    • Victoria, Macedon Ranges

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 New Vineyard of the Year
    2020 Finalist

    Robert Walters is no stranger to great wine, being an importer and distributor of some of the most revered wines of the world. Walters’ passion for Burgundy runs particularly deep, with an exhaustive search for an ideal home site for pinot noir and chardonnay leading him to the Macedon ranges in 2012. There he planted a genuinely unique vineyard for this country, with some of the highest density plantings anywhere in the world. Organically certified and requiring exhaustive manual work – coordinated by manager Remi Jacquemain – the site is testing the possibilities of perfection while paying respect to the land and its bushland surrounds.

    • Pooley – Cooinda Vale, Coal River Valley
    • Hannah McKay
    • Tasmania

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    When it was first planted in 1985, Pooley Wines’ Cooinda Vale Vineyard in the Coal River Valley added less than a hectare to the state’s meagre 47 hectares of grapevines. Fast forward, and today Pooley contribute around 20 hectares across their two sites to the 2,000 plus planted on the Apple Isle, and a whole lot more to the reputation of the island state’s wine industry. The vineyard is currently managed by Hannah McKay who is committed to regenerative agriculture and is on a path to organic certification. The site producers Pooley’s most revered single-site wines made from riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir.

    • Quealy, Mornington Peninsula
    • Lucas Blanck
    • Victoria, Mornington Peninsula

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Before selling to a major player, Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy made their mark at T’Gallant in the 1990s, and in the process generated a flurry of interest around pinot grigio/gris that has not abated. With a move to one of the Mornington Peninsula’s oldest Vineyards in Balnarring, the pair have continued with their exploration of that grape, along with the Peninsula standards of pinot noir and chardonnay, as well as delving into some key white grapes of north-eastern Italy. Today, the vineyard is managed by Lucas Blanck under organic certification to produce fruit for the overwhelmingly lo-fi Quealy wines.

    • See Saw – Annangrove Park, Orange
    • Brendan Jarrett
    • Orange

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    See Saw Wines, in New South Wales’ high-altitude region of Orange, has committed to sustainability across their three vineyard sites, as well right through the production and packaging of their wines. The operation is now all certified organic, with viticulturist Brendan Jarrett focusing on building a balanced system that is built on healthy soil and minimal water use. Their Annangrove Park Vineyard accounts for around 40 per cent of their output, with the vineyard arrayed over a 200-metre range in elevation, topping out at 900 metres, with great variation in aspects and soil types. Chardonnay and pinot noir are natural stars, but the vineyard also has the region’s only prosecco.

    • Seppelt – Drumborg, Henty
    • Larry Sadler
    • Henty

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    The Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard is a significant one. Home to one of this country’s greatest rieslings, the site in south-western Victoria is also acclaimed for varietal bottlings of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. The very cool marginal climate presents numerous viticultural challenges, but it also positions the site as one for premium fruit and premium wines. With a quarter of a century at the viticultural helm, Larry Sadler employs the collective knowledge of his long-serving team and a close relationship with the winemakers in producing the highest quality fruit across over 90 hectares of vines.

    • Small Wonder, Tamar Valley
    • Ryan Collins
    • Tasmania

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Small Wonder is a new brand on a mature property in the Tamar Valley, specialising in pinot noir, chardonnay and aromatic whites. In 2020, Goaty Hill was sold by the founders after two decades on the property. The vineyard was bought by a recently formed company called Overstory, which also purchased an established vineyard in Margaret River. The aim for both sites is to build organic and environmentally sensitive businesses and “resilient farm communities that give back to the earth and the people who live upon it”. The viticulture is managed by Ryan Collins and site manager Wayne Nunn, who are currently in the process of working towards organic certification.

    • Smallfry – Vine Vale, Barossa Valley
    • Wayne Ahrens & Suzi Hilder
    • South Australia, Barossa Valley

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Suzi Hilder and Wayne Ahrens’ Smallfry Wines is centred around their Barossa vineyard in Vine Vale. With a slew of vines over 100 years old, as well as climate-apt newer plantings, the pair grow grenache, shiraz, semillon, riesling, mataro, tempranillo, trousseau, marsanne, roussanne, cabernet sauvignon, cinsault, pedro ximènez and bonvedro. Their 18 hectares under vine has been certified organic/biodynamic since 2014, and they practice regenerative agricultural practices, encouraging species diversity of plants, animals and microfauna/flora. As well as making their own natural wines, the pair sell grapes to some leading makers, including Ochota Barrels, Shobbrook and Frederick Stevenson.

    • Solitude Estate, Yarra Valley
    • Greg Kerr
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Greg Kerr’s Solitude Estate may not be a familiar name to many, but its former moniker, Tibooburra Vineyard, will likely ring bells for Yarra Valley enthusiasts. The fruit from the Upper Yarra site is made into wine under Kerr’s estate label but it has also notably contributed to the wines of some of the Yarra’s leading small makers: Gary Mills (Jamsheed), Andrew Marks (The Wanderer), Luke Lambert (Lambert) and Jayden Ong (One Block). While chardonnay and pinot noir are the key varieties, a ’90s roll of the dice on shiraz has also seen the grape star on the 29-hectare vineyard.

    • Starrs Reach, Riverland
    • Sheridan Alm
    • Riverland

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    The Riverland has long been the bulk wine heart of South Australia, with growers churning out cheap fruit pumped up with irrigation. And while the region will likely always serve this function, the script is being rewritten by players like Starrs Reach, who both sell premium fruit and make wine under their own label. Sheridan Alm runs the operation with a focus on minimal inputs, sustainability and restoring non-vineyard land, including Mallee scrub, wetlands and floodplains. With grenache and mataro core varieties, Alm is intent on proving that the Riverland can focus on quality on a large scale, growing grapes that suit modern wine styles that focus on bright fruit flavours and freshness.

    • Stefano Lubiana, Derwent Valley
    • Steve Lubiana
    • Tasmania

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    It is over 30 years since Steve Lubiana set up shop in the Derwent Valley, only a short drive from Hobart, with the Stefano Lubiana Vineyard now occupying 25 hectares. Certified biodynamic for nearly a decade, it was Tasmania’s first to achieve accreditation, and was the island state’s only one until very recently. Pinot noir and chardonnay take centre stage, but there are also aromatic whites, syrah and small plots of malvasia and blaufränkisch planted. The wines veer from those classically styled to ones of a natural bent raised in amphora.

    • Tamburlaine – Borenore, Orange
    • Mark Pengilly & Clayton Kiely
    • Orange

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Tamburlaine is a touchstone for organic wine in this country, having been certified for over three decades. Starting with a Hunter Valley base, owner Mark Davidson expanded into the cool Orange region in the late ’90s when he established the Borenore Vineyard. Organic certification is bolstered with biodynamic practices, with Mark Pengilly and Clayton Kiely managing the farming. The vineyard quickly established itself as the flagship of the Tamburlaine portfolio, producing gold medal wines from all the varieties on the property, along with a significant collection of trophies. The vineyard produces wines across the range, from more everyday offerings to the Reserve and ultra-premium Marlowe bottling.

    • Tellurian, Heathcote
    • Tobias Ansted
    • Victoria, Heathcote

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Ian Hopkins was drawn to Heathcote by a love for the style of shiraz that was being wrought there from the ancient Cambrian soils. A piece of red dirt on the Mount Camel Range was acquired, and the first vines – shiraz, of course – for his own venture were planted in 2002. That vineyard has now expanded to around 30 hectares, with drought-tolerant varieties like nero d’avola, fiano and carignan, and Rhône stars like grenache and mourvèdre, joining the roster, with some planted at high density and others as bush vines. Tobias Ansted holds both the winemaking and viticulture reins, with the farming certified organic but forever being pushed to exceed those standards.

    • Ten Minutes by Tractor – Spedding, Mornington Peninsula
    • Imogen Dillon & Ryan Chabin
    • Mornington Peninsula

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Ten Minutes by Tractor’s reputation is built on articulating the differences between their four key vineyards with single-vineyard expressions of chardonnay and pinot noir, along with broader regional expressions and separate bottlings that reflect the lower elevation sites as well as higher elevation sites of the Mornington Peninsula. In 2016, they planted arguably the boldest venture for the region, with a high-density planting of pinot noir across just under 1.5 hectares. And while those vines are too young to turn out a single site offering, the early results are creating considerable excitement amongst the viticulture and winemaking teams.

    • Thousand Candles, Yarra Valley
    • Stuart Proud
    • Victoria, Yarra Valley

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    The Yarra Valley’s Thousand Candles – which was launched to much fanfare in the 2011 vintage – has settled into a long stride, with the benefits of a decade under the biological farming methods of Stuart Proud returning big dividends. The business is built on making their own wines as much as it is selling ultra-premium fruit to renowned local makers, including Levantine Hill, Coldstream Hills and Santolin. While the wine on launch was firmly pitched at the top end of the market, the focus for Proud, who both grows – alongside vineyard manager David Ammerlaan – and now makes, is to reflect fruit and vines in an unadorned, hype-free way, a reflection of place and the season.

    • Topper’s Mountain, New England
    • Mark Kirkby
    • New England

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Mark Kirkby’s Topper’s Mountain Vineyard was planted over two years to an eclectic mix of 20 grape varieties in the elevated cool of New South Wale’s New England region. Over two decades, the near 10-hectare vineyard has seen many varieties removed with almost as many taking their place, searching for the best vine-to-site matches. The viticultural approach is low impact, with sheep grazing amongst the vines through the cooler months and under-vine slashing in spring. The estate wines consist of varietal bottlings and field blends, some whites with skin contact and some reds with extended macerations, and all with sulphur as the only addition.

    • Vasse Felix – Tom’s Vineyard, Margaret River
    • Bart Molony
    • Margaret River

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Planted in 1967, Tom’s Vineyard was the first commercial vineyard in Margaret River. Vasse Felix now farm over 300 hectares across the region, but it is the Tom’s Vineyard site in Wilyabrup on Caves Road that is reserved for their most prestigious bottlings, producing the Premier and Icon ranges, including the flagship red from the oldest vines – own-rooted cabernet sauvignon and malbec – named after the estate’s founder, Tom Cullity. Bart Molony manages the viticultural operations, with most of the vines certified organic across the four sites, including Tom’s Vineyard and the onsite winery.

    • Vinden – Somerset, Pokolbin
    • Angus Vinden
    • NSW/ACT, Pokolbin

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    The Hunter Valley’s Somerset Vineyard has been responsible for some landmark wines, from back in the days of Maurice O’Shea in the first half of the 20th century, then later for Lindeman’s at its peak in the 60s, 70s and 80s, as well as supplying fruit to Len Evans as he reshaped the Australian wine landscape. Today, Angus Vinden tends nearly 20 hectares of vines dedicated to his family’s eponymous label, with the Hunter stalwarts of shiraz and semillon leading the way, though he also makes some more left-field offerings under the Headcase imprint from varieties like tempranillo and gewürztraminer. Vinden has recently begun the conversion to organic practices.

    • Voyager Estate, Margaret River
    • Steve James
    • Western Australia, Margaret River

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    In the Stevens Valley in the subregion of Wallcliffe, Voyager Estate is one of Margaret River’s oldest vineyards, first planted in the late 1970s (though it was called Freycinet Estate until 1991). Today, under the watchful eye of viticulturist Steve James, the vineyard occupies over 100 hectares, with the regional stars chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon taking the lead, though there are another 12 varieties planted, including tempranillo and grenache. Recent organic certification now applies to the winery and over a third of the vines, with the remainder not far behind.

    • Weathercraft – Jones Ridge, Beechworth
    • Raquel Jones
    • Beechworth

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Raquel and Hugh Jones made their tree change from busy city careers in 2014, buying a Beechworth vineyard and launching their Weathercraft label in 2016. The vineyard had been set up in 1998 for premium wine production. It was a conventionally managed site, but the couple were intent on more natural methods. The shiraz-dominant vineyard has since been tilted towards Iberian varieties, with tempranillo and albariño joining the roster across almost 6 hectares. By focusing on soil health, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides have been eliminated, with natural methods of pest and weed management employed. Once all going to high-end contract clients, the fruit is now all used for the Weathercraft label.

    • Yangarra Estate, McLaren Vale
    • Michael Lane
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Viticulturist Michael Lane and winemaker Peter Fraser have worked hand in glove at McLaren Vale’s Yangarra Estate for 20 years, steering the wines to ever-greater heights through a program that puts vineyard front and centre. Fraser is one of this country’s most skilled makers – no argument – but the long-term quality goals the pair had for the estate were always built on reinvigorating their soil and returning a natural harmony to the site. Today, Lane meticulously manages nearly 90 hectares of vines to A-grade biodynamic standards, working across a suite of Southern Rhône varieties, with grenache taking the lead.

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