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A world-topping year for Clare wineries

It’s been a sparkling few months for Clare Valley wineries with two Clare icons: Jim Barry Wines and Leasingham, taking out top international wine awards.

Jim Barry Wines won three awards at the International Wine Challenge in London in June. The 2003 Jim Barry McRae Wood Shiraz was named the Best International Shiraz, Best Australian Red and it won the Clare Valley Trophy.

Jim Barry Wines’ distributor in London, Negociants UK Ltd, nominated the wine for the challenge. Peter Barry, managing director of Jim Barry Wines, told the Wine Industry Journal that although the winery won the same award in 2002 with its Lodge Hill Shiraz, he never expected to win the award for a second time.

“You work so hard to achieve such a high quality of wine and to be acknowledged around the world with people saying ‘these are great winemakers’ is a mind-blowing feeling. We are very proud of what we have achieved.”

The Jim Barry Wines team, including chief winemaker Mark Barry and winemaker Derrick Quinton, first found out about the win when they received a phone call asking them to write a press release on their reaction. They checked on the internet and sure enough there was their name staring back at them, three times over.

“It was really 24 hours after I wrote the press release that the reality sunk in, we just couldn’t believe it,” Peter said.

Peter Barry is a winemaker who never leaves little things to chance. With high standards set by his late father Jim – who was the 17th qualified winemaker in Australia and won his first gold medal for a wine in the 1960s – growing grapes and making wine has become second nature.

“The secret to making good wine is to wear your shoes out,” Peter echoes his late father, Jim’s words.

“My father said you always have to be out in the vineyards, getting to know your vines and know what you are looking for, where to look and the things you need to watch out for. Like pests and diseases.”

Earlier in the year, Leasingham Wines started the Clare Valley medal success with silver at the prestigious Rieslings of the World contest in France in February. Leasingham, the only medal winner from Australia, won with its Classic Clare Riesling.

“We never expected to win an award, but it is very encouraging for the Leasingham team when their collective efforts across viticulture and winemaking are recognised,” winemaker Kerri Thompson said.

“It reinforces the fact that we believe ourselves to be a leader in Riesling production within Australia which is recognised on an international scale.”

The full article can be found in the July/August issue of the Wine Industry Journal.

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