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2022 Vineyard of the Year Awards

The 2022 Vineyard of the Year Awards – the third annual edition – is now open for registrations.

2022 is the third 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.

 

You can read a preview copy of the application questions – download available here.

Please note: you will want to finish the online form in one go. If you commence the form, and then leave your computer to resume later, you will likely lose your work. We recommend drafting your answers in a document first, and then copying and pasting your answers. Please also note there are strict word/character* limits on some of the questions.

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. In such a case, a business may wish to showcase multiple vineyards in the one year of our awards by entering a new application for each vineyard (provided they 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.

Register here – applications close September 30

You can read a preview copy of the application questions – download available here.

Please note: you will want to finish the online form in one go. If you commence the form, and then leave your computer to resume later, you will likely lose your work. We recommend drafting your answers in a document first, and then copying and pasting your answers. Please also note there are strict word/character* limits on some of the questions.

Calendar

  • Entries open, August 16, 2022
  • Entries close, September 30, 2022
  • Finalists announcement event, (date TBC) December, 2022
  • A shortlist of vineyards around Australia to be inspected by consultants to the panel ~ December/January, 2022-2023
  • Each of the finalists to be profiled through Young Gun of Wine digital channels, December 2022-February 2023
  • Trophy winners dinner presentation , (date TBC) May/June, 2023

2022 Panellists

  • Dan Falkenberg

    An active leader in the Barossa viticultural community, Dan Falkenberg has 26 years of experience in all facets of Viticulture and Ecological land management practices. Falkenberg is actively involved with trial work with Euytpa dieback Management, Under-vine cover cropping and soil health with industry stakeholders. In 2018 Dan was awarded the Barons of the Barossa Viticulturist of the year and most recently won the ‘Vineyard of the Year’ with Eden Hall.

  • Dr Kerry De Garis

    Dr Kerry DeGaris completed her PhD in 2012, focusing how to manipulate salinity levels in grapevines by altering irrigation techniques. Presently a technical viticulturist for Treasury Wine Estates based in Coonawarra, and also the chair of the Technical sub-committee of the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council (LCGWC), Degaris was the 2019 ASVO Viticulturist of the Year.

  • Kim Chalmers

    Kim Chalmers manages wine operations at the family estate, Chalmers Wines, working mainly with southern Italian grape varieties. In 2006, Kim trained with Al Gore as a Climate Project presenter and continues to educate Australian winegrowers for climate change through alternative varieties and sustainable practices. In 2012, Kim travelled to Southern Italy on an Agrifood Skills International fellowship researching indigenous grape varieties and viticultural techniques. Kim was Chair of the Victorian Government’s Wine Ministerial Advisory Committee from 2016–2019, is a board member of Wine Victoria, and the Brand and Project Manager of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show.

  • 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.

  • Melissa Brown

    Chief viticulturist and co-owner of Gemtree Wines, Melissa Brown introduced Biodynamic certification to the family vineyard. A leader in the field, Brown has been recognised with numerous accolades, including the 2021 Australian Organic – Woman in Organic, 2020 Australian Women in Wine Awards – Owner/Operator of the Year, 2019 Delicious Produce Awards – Outstanding Viticulturist, 2007 McLaren Vale Grower of the Year. Brown is also also a Board Member of Biodynamic Agriculture Australia.

2022 Partners

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