08 December 2021, Australia: The 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards Top 50 has just landed and Corteva Agriscience is proud to be its newest sponsor.
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.
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 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, “and wine drinkers still don’t hear about it often enough – but we’re trying to change that!”
To judge the awards, a group of leading experts on viticulture were enlisted to personally review all the applicants. Dr Catherine Kidman, Mark Walpole, Dr Mary Retallack and Lee Haselgrove joined Max Allen in arriving at a very exciting Top 50.
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.
“In the vineyard is where the magic happens!” said awards panellist Dr 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, younggunofwine.com 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 VOTY 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, reflecting on his outtakes of the judging. “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. 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.”
Allen concluded, “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.”
Beside celebrating the achievements of 2021’s Top 50, there are four trophies to be awarded, with the winners announced in February 2022.