2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards: winners announced

The 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards were held last night at the National Gallery of Victoria, where the winners were announced in front of an audience of wine lovers, wine industry experts, winemakers and media.

The Winery of the Year award went to Jim Barry Wines, in South Australia’s Clare Valley; Winemaker of the Year was won by Vanya Cullen, of Cullen Wines, Margaret River, Western Australia; and Wine of the Year went to the 2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands McLaren Vale Grenache.

The Best New Winery award was won by Tasmania’s Shy Susan Wines, while Dal Zotto Wines, in Victoria’s King Valley received the Dark Horse of the Year award.

Best Value Winery of the Year was judged to be Domaine Naturaliste River, in Margaret River, WA.

Second-generation winemaker Peter Barry, who oversees day-to-day operations at Jim Barry Wines alongside sons Sam and Tom, said of their winery’s win, “The Halliday award is a tremendous accolade representing our commitment to owning our own vineyards, wine quality, and the Clare Valley. This win is the realisation of the dreams we have and what dad set out to achieve from the beginning.

“I feel euphoric– this recognition encompasses all of my father and family’s hard work, commitment and vision. He was my hero and mentor, and he would be so proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Sam, Tom and Jim Barry.

Of her win, Vanya Cullen said: “I am really happy for all of Cullen Wines. I am the face, if you like, but it is a whole team of people including the vineyard guys Matt Dermody, Andy Barrett-Lennard and everyone.”

Cullen Wines also picked up a varietal award for best Cabernet Sauvignon and Family for its 2017 Cullen Diana Madeline.

Vanya Cullen


The 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards mark the release of the latest edition of the guide book of the same name, which features tasting notes for 3943 wines, ratings, drink-to-dates and prices for a further 3268 wines from 1234 wineries (including 64 new operations).

Halliday Wine Companion’s James Halliday and his tasting panel reviewed more than 9048 Australian wines for the guide over the past year.

Halliday commented, “I am really proud of this edition, with the Australian wine industry once  again producing some outstanding wines. The Awards show the extraordinary diversity of the Australian wine scene from north to south, east to west with winners from right across the country.”

The varietal winners at the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards were:

Sparkling – 2004 House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged – 99 points

Riesling – 2006 Crawford River Reserve Riesling – 98 points

Semillon – 2013 Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon – 97 points

Sauvignon Blanc – 2017 Flowstone Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc – 96 points

Chardonnay – 2017 Moss Wood Wilyabrup Chardonnay – 99 points

Semillon Sauvignon Blends – 2016 Stella Bella Suckfizzle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – 97 points

Pinot Noir – 2017 Mount Mary Yarra Valley Pinot Noir – 99 points

Shiraz – 2017 John Duval Entity Shiraz – 99 points

Shiraz and / or Grenache – 2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands Grenache – 99 points – *Also Winner of the Wine of The Year Award

Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016 Deep Woods Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – 99 points

Cabernet Sauvignon and Family – 2017 Cullen Diana Madeline – 98 points

Fortified – 1919 Seppeltsfield 100 Year Old Para Liqueur – 100 points