The 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards Top 50 announced

Image courtesy younggunofwine.

The Vineyard of the Year Awards were created in 2020 to place vineyards across the nation at the heart of the Australian wine story, and the heart of the Australian wine community.

The judges narrowed the 2021 field to the 50 that best exemplified the values of sustainability, innovation and growing great wine.

“There’s so much great work being done in vineyards across the country,” said awards panellist Max Allen.

“Wine drinkers still don’t hear about it often enough – but we’re trying to change that.”

Leading experts on viticulture were enlisted to personally review all the applicants. Catherine Kidman, Mark Walpole, Mary Retallack and Lee Haselgrove joined Max Allen in choosing a top 50.

“In the vineyard is where the magic happens,” said awards panellist Mary Retallack.

“This is our opportunity to celebrate the innovative and regenerative approaches being taken to produce exceptional grape quality, which is reflected in stunning wines while nurturing the soil, vines and landscapes with an ecological focus.

“The wine community relies on the commitment and inspiration that starts in the vineyard. We have a lot to be thankful for and celebrate.”

The 50 finalists in the 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards include 20 from South Australia, 11 from Victoria, eight from New South Wales/ACT, seven from Tasmania and four from Western Australia.

Over the next two months, will release a profile of each of these vineyards, and the viticulturists/growers behind them.

“It is possible to grow amazing quality fruit while nurturing the land, and they are mutually compatible processes,” continued Retallack.

“Consumers are increasingly interested to learn about ways we are demonstrating environmental stewardship.

“We are well placed to share these insights and stories with our customers – the proof is in the bottle. The finalists are leading the way and the future of wine growing is truly exciting.”

Lee Haselgrove was last year’s Vineyard of the Year trophy winner with Swinney Vineyard. He joined the panel this year.

“Seeing such a combination of practices being undertaken in the pursuit of producing complex and engaging wines – via diversity in clones, soils, sites, planting densities, etc. – through the energy and efforts of the top growers was truly inspiring,” he said.

“Organic farming is no longer niche and some of the new vineyards are absolutely inspiring.”

“I was absolutely inspired by the holistic approach that winegrowers are taking to fully integrate their practices, nurture the soil, vines and surrounding ecology while minimising intervention,” Retallack added.

“Smart decision-making saves time and resources, and this demonstrates a confidence in growing wine grapes that comes with experience and observing the land.

“The sharing of these valuable insights accelerates practice change, celebrates regenerative approaches and everyone benefits.”

“The panel were struck again this year by the detailed focus and commitment of so many growers across Australia – whether it’s focusing on capturing subtle terroir differences across a larger block of vines or responding to the challenges of climate change; whether it’s establishing a visionary new vineyard or maintaining the health and viability of century-old vines; whether it’s applying the latest technology or re-introducing ancient grape-farming methods, there are many inspirational stories out there,” Allen concluded.

Besides celebrating the achievements of 2021’s Top 50, there are four trophies to be awarded, with the winners announced in February 2022.

More information about the 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards, including the Top 50, can be seen via this link.


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