The Third Annual Vineyard of the Year Awards Winners

Adelina Vineyards in the Clare Valley. Image Young Gun of Wine

The third annual Vineyard of the Year Awards have been decided, with the trophy winners for the third instalment announced at a trophy presentation in Melbourne on Tuesday night – the first in-person presentation for these awards.

A rigorous process of analysing all applications, including thorough site visits to shortlisted finalists, was undertaken over the last six months, with the judging panel reaching a consensus on the winners of the four trophies: New Vineyard of the Year; Old Vineyard of the Year; Innovative Vineyard of the Year, dubbed ‘The Groundbreaker’; and Vineyard of the Year.

The Vineyard of the Year Awards were founded to bring vineyards and their stewards into the limelight, to celebrate the tireless work amongst the vines, the special sites, and the commitment to sustainability on all levels. The judging panel consisted of Max Allen, Dan Falkenberg (Eden Hall), Kerry DeGaris, Kim Chalmers (Chalmers) and Melissa Brown (Gemtree). They were supported by vineyard inspectors: Rhys Fitzgerald (Nutrien Ag Solutions), Kellie Graham, Darren Fahey, Nigel Squire (Nutrien Ag Solutions), John Whiting and Michael Zerk (Nutrien Ag Solutions).

“It was great to be able to gather together with so many inspiring winegrowers for this year’s awards after two years presenting them online,” said Max Allen.

“Making connections is what this event is all about: connecting wine lovers with the places where our top wine are grown; strengthening the link between all the hard work that goes into growing grapes with the flavours and quality of the wine in our glass; and bringing passionate, hard-working, deep-thinking viticulturists, vignerons and vineyard managers together, to talk, learn and encourage each other to continually improve what they do.”

While the winners in the four categories have all demonstrated that they’re more than worthy of the accolades, it was a close-run race. Indeed, all the finalists are equally deserving of high praise for the lengths they go to on each of their unique patches of dirt.

“Having been involved in VOTY site inspections the last two years, the main thing that stands out amongst these finalists, who are leaders in the field, is the level of adaptation and innovation – particularly in response to our changing climate,” said vineyard inspector Nigel Squire from Nutrien Ag Solutions.

“There is also an inspiring culture of collaboration, from bringing the winemaker on a multi-year journey to craft the vineyard to the best possible outcome, to sharing learnings that come from vineyard owners, managers and their teams to help the viticulture industry collectively improve.”

The top award, Vineyard of the Year, was awarded to Adelina in the Clare Valley. Nestled in the picturesque Springfarm sub-region and planted in the 1900s, the Adelina Vineyard holds a special place within the heart of the Clare Valley.

Despite facing recommendations to start afresh and re-plant the vineyard in 2002, Colin and Jennie remained steadfast in their commitment, preserving the vineyard which is surrounded by the renowned Wendouree and Aberfeldy vineyards that define the sub-region.

Colin McBryde

Through their meticulous and holistic vineyard practices, Colin McBryde and Jennie Gardner have transformed the Adelina Vineyard. They have nurtured the old vines, ensuring they will continue to produce outstanding fruit that express the unique characteristics of the Clare Valley for generations ahead, resulting in wines of exceptional quality and distinction.

“I am humbled and honoured to receive this award,” McBryde said.

“It is a great privilege to be part of a community that recognises the significance of site and farming.

“20 years ago, the behaviour was focused on the production of wine, however, our paradigm shifted a few years after that to more of a focus on growing vines… Our winemaking practices have changed, albeit slightly, but the resultant wines are more finessed, brighter and focused, which we happily attribute to changes in the vineyard.”

Other notable winners were Granjoux, Beechworth, for New Vineyard of the Year, Yangarra – High Sands, McLaren Vale for Old Vineyard of the Year and Hither & Yon – Sand Road, McLaren Vale for ‘Groundbreaker’ Vineyard of the Year.


Are you a Daily Wine News subscriber? If not, click here to join our mailing list. It’s free!