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Top Vineyards

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    • 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’.

    • Angove – Warboys, McLaren Vale
    • Nick Bakkum
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    With just over 12 hectares of vines, the Warboys Vineyard has become the centrepiece of Angove Family Winemakers. Founded in 1886, the family’s historic vineyards were swallowed up by Adelaide’s urban sprawl in the 1970s, with the rundown Warboys Vineyard (named after a site that Dr Angove started to source from in the 19th century) acquired in 2008. Managed since then with strict organic and biodynamic methods, viticulturist Nick Bakkum has resurrected the old shiraz and grenache vines, as well as extending those plantings along with the inclusion of fiano to insulate against a warming climate.

    • Best’s – Concongella, Great Western
    • Ben Thomson
    • Great Western

    • 2020

    2020 Old Vineyard of the Year
    2020 Finalist

    Best’s is synonymous with Great Western in Victoria’s Grampians, and its Concongella vineyard is home to one of the world’s most precious resources of pre-phylloxera grapevines, containing some of the oldest vines of their type in the world. With 22 hectares under vine, the vineyard has ancient vines of riesling, pinot meunier, pinot noir, dolcetto, cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, plus a mixed planting of some 40 rarities, which produce such iconic wines as the Best’s ‘Thomson Family’ Shiraz and ‘Old Vine’ Pinot Meunier. And while the Thomson family are respectful custodians of the past, they are also progressive ones, with the community always at the heart of their thinking.

    • Bowyer Ridge, Adelaide Hills
    • Charles Rosback
    • South Australia, Adelaide Hills

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Charles Rosback’s Bowyer Ridge Vineyard is the source of fruit for some of the Adelaide Hills’ most lauded wines, supplying grapes to such iconic makers as Shaw + Smith and Wirra Wirra, as well as cutting-edge stars like Murdoch Hill and Paralian. Chardonnay takes the lead in the 15-hectare vineyard, with premium production the focus. Rosback targets enhancing soil biology to build resilience in the vines to minimise chemical inputs, while innovative inhouse technologies are employed to improve and streamline operations, from everything from imposing hydraulic shears that can cut through a vine trunk to a labour management tracking system.

    • 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.

    • Cape Mentelle – Estate Vineyard, Margaret River
    • David Moulton
    • Western Australia, Margaret River

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    One of Margaret River’s founding wineries, Cape Mentelle has grown from humble beginnings to be one of the nation’s most iconic producers. With the nearly 40-hectare Estate Vineyard at the heart of operations, viticulturist David Moulton has ceased the use of any synthetic products as of 2020, with a proud history of sustainable management evolving to organic practices (not certified). The Estate Vineyard is the centre of red wine production, and is responsible for Cape Mentelle’s most iconic bottlings, with their flagship cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and zinfandel all largely coming from the property’s old vines.

    • Chalmers, Heathcote
    • Troy McInnes
    • Victoria, Heathcote

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    The Chalmers family have supplied vines and fruit to countless growers and makers over the years, with a specialisation in Italian varieties that are revered in Italy but less well known here. The Chalmers Heathcote vineyard was first planted in 2009, with 25 different varieties now in the ground that go both to their own label as well as a suite of top makers, including Momento Mori, Jamsheed, Little Reddie and Konpira Maru. The Chalmers approach, with the guidance of viticulturist Troy McInnes, is one of adaption not just through variety, but also via norm-shattering vineyard layouts and a management plan that places soil health front and centre.

    • Cirillo Estate, Barossa Valley
    • Marco Cirillo
    • South Australia, Barossa Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Cirillo Estate’s core vineyard is a museum piece, home to the world’s oldest productive grenache and semillon vines. Those vines, along with a smattering of shiraz and a few random mataro vines, were planted in 1848, with Vincent and Marco Cirillo – father and sun – the sole custodians for the last 50 years. Today, with sensitive viticulture that excludes synthetic herbicides and pesticides, and a blend of old-school practices and modern knowledge, Marco Cirillo is bent on preserving those vines in the best health possible for generations to come.

    • 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.

    • Crawford River, Henty
    • Belinda Thomson
    • Victoria, Henty

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    In the windswept cool of Henty in Victoria’s south-west, Belinda Thomson both tends the vines and makes the wines for Victoria’s preeminent riesling producer, Crawford River. The operation is a family affair, with her parents initially planting the site between 1975 and ’77. The vineyard sits in a gentle amphitheatre on land that has been in the family since 1884, with it predominantly used for grazing both sheep and cattle.

    • Crittenden Estate, Mornington Peninsula
    • Rollo Crittenden & Garry Crittenden
    • Mornington Peninsula

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Crittenden Estate is one of Mornington Peninsula’s oldest vineyards, with Garry Crittenden planting his first couple of hectares in the 80s, which doubled the region’s land under vine at the time. Today, while the regional strengths of chardonnay and pinot noir remain the same, much on the Peninsula has changed. And the Crittendens have changed too, with Garry and his son Rollo steering the viticulture down a sustainable route that has seen vast benefits for biodiversity and soil health, as well as wine quality.

    • Dallwitz Block, Barossa Valley
    • Adrian Hoffmann
    • South Australia, Barossa Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    The Hoffmann family’s Dallwitz Block is one of the Barossa Valley’s most renowned fruit sources, with the old vines planted between 1888 and 1912. After purchasing the vineyard in the 1950s, hard times almost saw the site lost in the 1980s, but a revival started by Jeff Hoffmann and extensively expanded by his son Adrian now sees the family vineyards – with the Dallwitz Block as the centrepiece – as some of the region’s most distinguished. With shiraz the lead variety and a focus on increasing soil health, the Dallwitz Block supplies fruit to top makers, including Chris Ringland, Torbreck, John Duval and Sami-Odi.

    • 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.

    • Frankland Estate – Isolation Ridge, Frankland River
    • Hunter Smith
    • Western Australia, Frankland River

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Frankland Estate’s Isolation Ridge Vineyard has become an enduring symbol of one of the world’s most remote wine regions. The almost 40-hectare property was planted in 1988, with Hunter Smith the second generation to tend the vines, evolving the sustainable farming to achieving organic certification over a decade ago. Riesling leads the charge at Isolation Ridge, but the Bordeaux red varieties, shiraz and chardonnay aren’t too far behind, with newer additions like mourvèdre and grüner veltliner already making striking wines.

    • Garden & Field – Gnadenberg Road, Eden Valley
    • Peter Raymond
    • South Australia, Eden Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Peter and Mel Raymond’s Garden & Field is a young vineyard planted to an old site, once the home to venerable vines that were cruelly plucked from the ground some 40 years ago. In the relative cool of the Barossa’s Eden Valley, the 4-hectare vineyard is a near neighbour to Henschke’s iconic Hill of Grace, with the focus on shiraz, across eight clones. The vines are dry grown and farmed in a sympathetic and regenerative manner, with soil health and biodiversity at the fore. With a little over a decade in vine age, the fruit has already contributed to a string of top Penfolds reds, as well as wines for the Raymonds own label.

    • 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.

    • Gorton Drive, Swan Hill
    • Chris Dent
    • Victoria, Swan Hill

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Gorton Drive Estates’ 85-hectare property sits on the banks of Kangaroo Lake in the arid warmth of Victoria’s Swan Hill region. In a zone that is often characterised by yield over character, second-generation owner and viticulturist Chris Dent is changing the script, focusing on soil health and reduced yields to produce high-quality fruit. He employs biological farming methods to build resilience and reduce or eliminate reliance on inputs and chemical control measures for disease and pests, with technology streamlining operations and eliminating an overdependence on irrigation. The grapes are sold to many well-known names, such as Brown Brothers and McPherson Wines, while also filling the bottles of Dent’s new home range, Countertop.

    • Gralyn Estate, Margaret River
    • Scott Baxter
    • Western Australia, Margaret River

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Founded by Graham and Merilyn Hutton in 1975, Gralyn Estate – on the prime stretch of Caves Road in Wilyabrup – is one of Margaret River’s oldest vineyards. In what was originally a diversification from their cattle farming operation, the pair have never chased the same path as other Margaret River pioneers, instead opting to remain decidedly compact. There are just 3.5 hectares of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon under vine, with wines made in an array of styles, from profound reserve bottlings to unoaked reds and even a late harvest off-dry cabernet. The vineyard is now managed with organic practices (not certified) by Scott Baxter, who is pushing the boundaries even further with the elimination of copper and sulphur in the vineyard in his sights.

    • 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.

    • Hither & Yon – Sand Road, McLaren Vale
    • Richard Leask
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Brothers Malcolm and Richard Leask were born in the Hunter Valley, but grew up in McLaren Vale, with their parents buying a vineyard there in 1980. Those holdings expanded across many sites over the years, with the brothers taking the step from growers to vignerons with their Hither & Yon label in 2012. Their project works out of their Sand Road Vineyard – supplying 80 per cent of their needs – with nearly 20 hectares of vines that have been tweaked over the years to favour Mediterranean and Iberian varieties that perform well in warm conditions, producing mid-weight wines with food in mind. The site is managed with a focus on regenerative agriculture.

    • Hochkirch, Henty
    • Christian Nagorcka
    • Victoria, Henty

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    John and Christian Nagorcka – father and son – farm the family’s property, Hochkirch, in the cool zone of Henty in Victoria’s sparsely populated south-west. The 8-hectare vineyard – along with farmland for the traditional grazing of sheep and cattle and growing mixed crops of vegetables and grains, many for their own use – is certified biodynamic (Demeter). Pinot noir is the leading variety, with shiraz increasingly important as the seasons become warmer, while riesling leads the whites, with semillon, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay made in smaller quantities. Increasingly, the wines are bottled with little and often no sulphur, and skin contact is now common for the whites.

    • 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.

    • Invercarron, Tasmania
    • Andrew Jones & Marty Smith
    • Tasmania

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    The Invercarron Vineyard is a bit of a trailblazer, a young vineyard in an area of Tasmania that has never had grapevines planted to it – the Jordan River Valley. In its brief history, the grapes from the 6 hectares of vines on the Jones family’s historic grazing property have both gone to make their own lauded wines and been in demand as contract fruit. Pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris and a rosé are currently produced under the Invercarron label. Vigneron Andrew Jones manages the property with viticulturist Marty Smith.

    • 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.

    • Koonara – Ambriel’s Gift, Coonawarra
    • Dru Reschke
    • South Australia, Coonawarra

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    The Reschke family have been based in Coonawarra since 1906, running a cattle property that stretches over 1,200 hectares. In 1988, Trevor Reschke decided to indulge something of a hobby, planting vines on the family land. The wines were initially made just for family and friends, until 1999, when the first commercial release hit the shelves. Today, though they work out of Mount Gambier for pinot noir and sauvignon blanc, Koonara is centred on Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. A block of those original vines is responsible for their marquee cabernet, ‘Ambriel’s Gift’. That site is a 3-hectare block – which also includes five rows each of merlot and cabernet franc – planted by Trevor Reschke, which is now managed, along with the rest of the vineyards, by his son Dru who farms organically (certified by ACO), but with his own unique take that sees the vineyards flushed with flowers.

    • 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 George, Canberra District
    • Anthony McDougall
    • NSW/ACT, Canberra District

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Anthony and Sarah McDougall are the current stewards of Lake George Winery, one of the Canberra Districts first vineyards. Founded by the legendary Dr Edgar Riek, the site was planted with chardonnay, semillon, riesling, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, though that composition has been tweaked over the years, with varieties such as tempranillo, viognier and pinot gris joining the roster. Today, the McDougalls have moved away from synthetic herbicides and are busy employing innovative options to reduce their imprint on the environment, as well as ensure long-term economic viability.

    • 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.

    • Malakoff Vineyard, Pyrenees
    • Cameron John & Robert John
    • Victoria, Pyrenees

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    In Victoria’s Pyrenees, near Landsborough, the Malakoff Vineyard has become one of the state’s most celebrated grower sites, supplying fruit to a shimmering galaxy of winemaking stars. Owned and managed by father and son viticultural team Robert and Cameron John, the site was first celebrated by Northern Rhône superstar Michel Chapoutier when he saw the potential for greatness in Victorian gold country, but it is now perhaps better known for supplying nebbiolo and shiraz to more recognisably local makers.

    • 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.

    • Meadowbank, Tasmania
    • Gerald Ellis
    • Tasmania

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Meadowbank’s Ellis family are pioneers of the modern Tasmanian wine scene, planting their vineyard in the 1970s against the best available advice. That site in the Upper Derwent Valley has validated their conviction, becoming one of the island’s most enduring and respected fruit sources. The 50-hectare vineyard supplies names like Arras, Bay of Fires and Glaetzer-Dixon (including for their 2011 Jimmy Watson win) with grapes, primarily pinot noir, shiraz and riesling. Today, the Meadowbank brand has also been reinvigorated, with the wines fine-tuned by the glittering talents of Peter Dredge, along with his own Dr Edge label, which largely centres around Meadowbank fruit.

    • 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.

    • Mickan Block, Barossa Valley
    • Adrian Hoffmann
    • South Australia, Barossa Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    The Hoffmann family are some of the Barossa Valley’s most celebrated growers, with a precious resource of old vines ideally situated in the subregion of Ebenezer. But Adrian Hoffmann farms many young vines, too, with the 20-hectare Mickan Block already showing promise as a source of top-shelf shiraz. Although it’s only three seasons in, the fruit has already been in high demand, going to such makers as Travis Earth, Glaetzer, Soulgrowers and Torbreck, as well as filling bottles for Hoffman’s collaboration with Chris Ringland, North Barossa Vintners.

    • 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.

    • Oakridge – Estate, Yarra Valley
    • Steve Faulkner
    • Victoria, Yarra Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    While Oakridge has three Yarra Valley sites under its management, their Estate Vineyard, surrounding their winery and celebrated restaurant, is the centre of the operation. Planted in 1996, the vineyard consists of pinot noir, chardonnay, shiraz, cabernet, merlot and semillon across 9.8 hectares of vines. Viticulturist Steven Faulkner has been managing the Oakridge farming for the last two years, while he also runs a viticulture consultancy business that operates across three states.

    • 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.

    • Oxford Landing, Riverland
    • Glynn Muster
    • South Australia, Riverland

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Oxford Landing has expanded from humble beginnings in the late 1950s to now occupy 300 hectares of vineyard land in the sun-drenched soils of South Australia’s Riverland. A powerhouse of budget grapes and economical wine, the Riverland is also home to some of the most progressive growers in the country, with Oxford Landing arguably leading the charge. With a mix of sustainable and certified organic vineyards under his management, viticulturist Glynn Muster applies a small-scale mindset to a large-scale vineyard, treating each small block individually, while also prioritising the reduction of water use, increasing local biodiversity and offsetting their carbon footprint.

    • Penley Estate, Coonawarra
    • Hans Loder
    • South Australia, Coonawarra

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Founded in 1988, Penley Estate is not Coonawarra’s oldest name, but it is one of its most celebrated. Focusing on the classic offerings of cabernet blends and shiraz, Penley is a traditional icon of the region, but Ang and Bec Tolley were determined to take their estate in a different direction, which has been visibly led in the winery but firmly anchored in the vineyard. Under the viticultural direction of Hans Loder, the estate has embraced technology to target the deployment of resources and better assess fruit ripeness and health, resulting in wines with brighter profiles, while more experimental offerings have also been possible through the enhanced ability to select small parcels from the 80-hectare vineyard.

    • 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.

    • Printhie – Wattleview, Orange
    • Charles Simons
    • NSW/ACT, Orange

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Charles Simons manages the viticulture across the four Printhie vineyard sites in the Orange region of New South Wales. All are at high altitude, but the Wattleview Vineyard tops out as their highest, and is one of the country’s few viable plantings over 1,000 metres. Chardonnay, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc excel there, with the site responsible for Printhie’s flagship chardonnay – aptly named ‘Super Duper’ – as well as adding to wines in their Mountain and Topography ranges. Simons utilises technology to help guide his approach, which helps in the targeted direction of irrigation and disease management strategies, significantly reducing chemical, water and diesel use.

    • 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.

    • Ravensworth, Canberra District
    • Bryan Martin
    • NSW/ACT, Canberra District

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    For over 15 years, Bryan Martin was Tim Kirk’s right-hand man at the towering icon of the Canberra District that is Clonakilla. That was while establishing his own Ravensworth label, which now twinkles just as brightly in the region’s firmament of stars. Martin now devotes all his time to tending the vines and making wine from his own site, just down the road from the Kirk’s property, as well as from selected vineyards in the Canberra district. That home site has 13 varieties across 3 hectares, with the regional leaders – shiraz and riesling – sharing the spotlight with sangiovese, along with Rhône whites, as well as newer plantings of gamay and nebbiolo. Martin hasn’t used synthetic chemicals for nearly a decade, and his focus is built around unwinding the damage done by conventional agriculture to let the signature of site speak.

    • Rayner Vineyard, McLaren Vale
    • Andre Bondar & Ben Lacey
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Situated on McLaren Vale’s Chalk Hill Road and straddling the Blewitt Springs and Seaview subregions, Andre Bondar and Selina Kelly’s Rayner Vineyard is a significant site, suppling fruit to many great makers over the years. With the chance to buy the vineyard in 2014, the couple dived in and have been focused on evolving the viticulture towards their ideal best-practice methods. The 14-hectare site produces the key Bondar label wines, from shiraz and grenache bearing the ‘Rayner Vineyard’ designate, to the ‘Violet Hour’, which was Bondar’s first cuvée, to the continuation of supplying fruit to Brokenwood’s established Rayner single-vineyard shiraz bottling. The viticulture is managed by Bondar and Ben Lacey.

    • Ricca Terra – Caravel, Riverland
    • Ashley Ratcliff
    • South Australia, Riverland

    • 2020

    2020 Innovative Vineyard of the Year
    2020 Finalist

    Ashley and Holly’s Ratcliff’s Ricca Terra Farms set out to shake up perceptions of the Riverland as a region that only grew grapes for generic bulk wine. They believed that by implementing quality-minded practices and focusing on climate-apt varieties, they would be able to unlock the region’s potential. By any measure, they have succeeded, elevating the profiles of grapes like nero d’avola, fiano, aglianico and arinto in the process. But that wasn’t all, with the Caravel Vineyard planted relatively recently to largely celebrate Portuguese varieties, like touriga nacional, tinta cão and tinta barroca, along with some more Italians. The fruit goes to their own Ricca Terra and Terra do Rio labels, as well as being sold to top makers, such as Bellwether, Unico Zelo, Shaw + Smith, Alpha Box & Dice, Jumpin’ Juice and Gatch Wine.

    • 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.

    • Shaw & Smith – Lenswood, Lenswood
    • Murray Leake & Ben Jonas
    • South Australia, Lenswood

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Michael Hill Smith and Martin Shaw are Adelaide Hills pioneers, championing the vinous virtues of the hills long before many of the region’s celebrated makers were of drinking age. With two sites in the region, their loftiest and coolest is the Lenswood Vineyard, a 20-hectare site planted to chardonnay, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. Currently in organic conversion, the site is managed by Murray Leake, who is also overseeing an ambitious project to double the vine density without removing any of the mature 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.

    • Smart, McLaren Vale
    • Bernard Smart & Wayne Smart
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Bernard Smart and his son Wayne are the current custodians of a bush vine grenache vineyard first planted by Bernard’s father in 1922. The site is one of the highest and coolest in McLaren Vale, returning fruit that produces wines of distinctive fragrance and detail. Bernard still works the land, tending the vines in the low-impact way he has evolved over his more than 70 years there. Today, that fruit goes to the likes of S.C. Pannell, Thistledown and Willunga 100, making expressions that are helping to redefine the possibilities for Australian grenache.

    • 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.

    • Sorrenberg, Beechworth
    • Barry Morey
    • Victoria, Beechworth

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Barry and Jan Morey’s Sorrenberg, in an elevated cool site in Beechworth, is somewhat of a Victorian legend, a family enterprise with a low-key attitude that has steadily seen their wines attain cult-like status, rubbing shoulders with some of their more ostensibly glamorous neighbours. It may be the quality of the wines that has built their reputation – one of the region’s finest chardonnays, arguably Australia’s best gamay, an equally esteemed sauvignon blanc and semillon blend, and an exemplary cabernet blend – but behind the label, the impeccable biodynamic farming and focus on addressing local and global environmental issues deserves just as much attention.

    • 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.

    • Swinney, Frankland River
    • Lee Haselgrove
    • Western Australia, Frankland River

    • 2020

    2020 Vineyard of the Year
    2020 Finalist

    With the viticulture managed by Lee Haselgrove, the Swinney Vineyard is one of Frankland River’s prime sources of quality grapes, supplying producers as game changing as Brave New Wine to those as established as Penfolds, as well as filling the bottles of the Swinney family’s eponymous label. With about 160 hectares under vine, the site is managed sustainably, with a specialisation in the regional stars – cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and riesling – but they have also planted varieties to balance increasingly erratic weather patterns, including a significant investment in bush vine grenache, a variety and a growing method that is rare in the Great Southern.

    • Tamar Ridge – Kayena, Tasmania
    • Ben Pietsch
    • Tasmania

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    A short drive from Launceston, Tamar Ridge’s Kayena Vineyard has over 130 hectares of vines, with a strong focus on pinot noir across almost two dozen clones. Viticulturist Ben Pietsch employs technology to optimise operations, from compost applications, to irrigation, to identifying underperforming blocks, but many of the solutions are far from technical, such as roaming poultry and insectary plantings to control pests. Fruit from the vineyard goes to making aromatic whites and pinot noir for the Tamar Ridge label, as well as sparkling wine under the Pirie brand.

    • 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.

    • The Wine Farm, Gippsland
    • Neil Hawkins
    • Victoria, Gippsland

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    It’s all in the name really. The Wine Farm in Koonwarra, South Gippsland, is a vineyard-centric operation, where Neil and Anna Hawkins lovingly tend their 3 hectares of vines according to Demeter biodynamic methods (in conversion). Making varietal wines from pinot noir, shiraz, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris and gewürztraminer, as well as a rosé and pét-nat, the style is lithe and mineral forward, with a mission to reflect the land and how it’s farmed in the glass – a feature that is becoming ever clearer as the years pass.

    • 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.

    • Torbreck – Hillside Vineyard, Barossa Valley
    • Nigel Blieschke
    • South Australia, Barossa Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Torbreck’s Hillside Vineyard is a piece of Barossa history. With the first plantings dating back to 1850, it lays claim to some of the region’s oldest shiraz vines. But the significance of the site is as much about the future as it is the living museum of old and ancient vines. A restoration and replanting program run by chief viticulturist Nigel Blieschke has seen the 15 hectares of shiraz and grenache vines expanded to almost 40 hectares, with Rhône varieties like carignan, counoise, grenache blanc and roussanne joining the Barossa standards. Key to Blieschke’s approach has been an emphasis on building resilience in the soil and vines, with a broader view to every aspect of the 100-hectare property, from caring for historic buildings to preserving and enhancing remnant native vegetation.

    • 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.

    • Wilimee, Macedon Ranges
    • Ben Ranken
    • Victoria, Macedon Ranges

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Wilimee is one of the oldest vineyards in the Macedon Ranges, originally planted in the early 1980s to pinot noir and chardonnay. A cool site at around 600 metres, sparkling wine production was a cornerstone for over two decades, before hard times stopped operations. In 2013, Ben Ranken and Sally Richardson bought the ramshackle vineyard and set about resurrecting it through regenerative agricultural practices. While the Wilimee brand has expanded, Ranken still cultivates much of the site to sell grapes to some of the region’s most respected makers, including Matt Harrop and Joshua Cooper.

    • Wirra Wirra, McLaren Vale
    • Anton Groffen
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Reborn from 19th century ruins by Greg Trott, Wirra Wirra is one of McLaren Vale’s most treasured wineries. The home vineyard has grown from a humble plot of shiraz to occupy over 20 hectares, with cabernet sauvignon, grenache, tempranillo and touriga nacional joining the roster, and all carefully planted across geological nuances that are best suited to each variety. Anton Groffen runs the viticultural operations under biodynamic certification, with the vines supplying the fruit for the flagship shiraz bottlings, the ‘Chook Block’ and ‘RSW’, as well as their iconic ‘Church Block’ red blend, amongst other key lines.

    • 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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