Winning wine hackers announced

The winners of the inaugural “Hack the Future of Shiraz” competition have been announced. Inkwell Wines owners Dudley Brown and Dr Irina Santiago-Brown along with convenor of judges, Mike Bennie, announced the participants who will receive one tonne of free Inkwell Regenerative Organic CertifiedTM   Shiraz to use in order to “Hack the Future of Shiraz”.

The inaugural winners are:

J&S Fielke – Jemma and Steve Fielke – Adelaide Hills

Little Frances – Erin Pooley – Beechworth

MSL – Michelle Li – Clare Valley

Stoke Wines- Nick Dugmore – Kangaroo Island

TroubleChild – Darcy Chiswell and Loc Ziesing – Adelaide Hills


The worldwide tasting panel has also been announced, with wine writers and judges hailing from China, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.


The inaugural judges are:

Mike Bennie – Convenor of judges – Sydney Australia – The WineFront, delicious magazine, Halliday Wine Companion

Tamlyn Currin – Wine writer – London England – Jancis

Marcus Ellis – Wine writer – Melbourne Australia – Halliday Wine Companion

Erin Larkin – Wine writer – Perth Australia – The Wine Advocate

Christina Pickard – Wine writer – New York USA – Wine Enthusiast

Jeffrey Porter – Wine writer – New York USA – Wine Enthusiast

Kasia Sobiesiak – Wine writer – Sydney Australia – The WineFront

Fongyee Walker MW – Wine Educator – Shanghai China


“We had an incredible response from applicants with different winemaking backgrounds,” commented convenor of judges Mike Bennie.

“We chose strikingly diverse people, stories, stylistic experiences and regions to make up our inaugural class. We would encourage all who applied this year to apply again next year.”

The Hacking the Future of Shiraz project is designed to identify emerging talent in the Australian wine industry who will craft unique Shiraz wines in non-traditional styles attractive to younger consumers and non-consumers of Shiraz. The open-source project will begin with the 2024 vintage with bottling and packaging to be complete by the end of the calendar year.

All techniques and additions (if any) used will be disclosed by the winemakers to benefit the judges’ learning and to accelerate widespread development of popular Shiraz styles.  The tasting panel will assess and write about each wine on the basis of creativity, accessibility and drinkability in early 2025 prior to the 2025 vintage.

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