The Top 50 finalists for the first ever national Vineyard of the Year awards have been announced, among over 6,000 for the judges to choose between.
Vineyard of the Year is a national initiative of Young Gun of Wine, shining a light on our best vineyards and giving voice to the finest grape growers from right across the country.
The top 50 have been selected based on the pursuit of fruit and wine quality, vine health, innovation, and sustainability – encompassing environmental, social and economic sustainability.
With over 6,000 grape growers, picking the top vineyards in Australia is no easy task. Inundated with entries, the judges narrowed the field to the 50 that best exemplified the values and criteria of these awards.
“It was super exciting and really encouraging to receive such a strong batch of entries,” said awards panellist Max Allen. “It’s so heartening, in a year when our lives have been mired in challenges, setbacks and uncertainty, to celebrate the resilience and long-term thinking and optimism demonstrated by this group of winegrowers.
“By focusing on the vineyards, on the places where wine comes from, and on the practices of sustainable grape growing, these awards can help recalibrate how we think about wine, shifting our perception of it from a liquid commodity in a glass to a cultural product of the country it’s from.”
To judge the awards, a group of leading experts on viticulture, agronomy and sustainability were enlisted to personally review all the applicants. Dr Mary Cole, Dr Mardi Longbottom, Mark Walpole, Dr Irina Santiago-Brown, Dr Peter Dry AM joined Max Allen in arriving at a very exciting Top 50.
“It was thrilling to visit each of these vineyards, albeit vicariously,” continued Allen, “and learn about all the hard work going into looking after the land, nurturing the health of the vines, and – most importantly – continually improving wine quality.”
That we can showcase 50 such diverse and inspiring vineyards is a testament to the strength of Australia’s grape-growing community. These vineyards are the source of some the best wines in Australia.
“Among the group of 50,” said Dr Santiago-Brown, “there is a trend of going away from scheduled sprays and many of them are choosing to use less harmful chemicals to try to create a healthier environment for a more ‘self-balanced’ vineyard, with beneficial insects, healthier and more alive soil, as well as being healthier for the people who work there”.
“Many innovations are being used to reach this end… from more suitable grape varieties, to state-of-the-art technology to measure vine and soil status in order to make better decisions.”
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