Swinney Vineyard in Frankland River in Western Australia has been named Vineyard of the Year in the inaugural Young Gun of Wine Vineyard of the Year Awards.
Owned by Matt Swinney and managed by Lee Haselgrove, the 160-hectare vineyard supplies fruit to about 30 wine producers including Penfolds and Brave New Wine as well as the Swinney family’s own label.
The site is managed sustainably and specialises in Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Riesling. But they have also planted varieties to balance increasingly erratic weather patterns, including a significant investment in bush vine Grenache, a variety and a growing method that is rare in the Great Southern.
“The scale of the vineyard, coupled with their pinpoint focus and pursuit of innovation, and the quality of the resulting wines, is truly extraordinary and inspiring,” the judges said.
Full list of trophy winners:
Vineyard of the Year
Swinney Vineyard, Frankland River
New Vineyard of the Year
Place of Changing Wines, Macedon Ranges
Old Vineyard of the Year
Best’s Concongella Vineyard, Great Western
Innovative Vineyard of the Year
Ricca Terra Caravel Vineyard, Riverland
Max Allen, who hosted a virtual awards presentation on Tuesday night, sees the awards as a great opportunity to shift the focus of our national wine conversation from how wines are made to how they’re grown.
“Judging the awards was the both the most exciting and most frustrating experience,” he said.
“Exciting because it made me realise – or, rather, reminded me – how much great work is being done out there in vineyards across Australia.
“So many people are going to such extraordinary lengths to look after their land, to make their vines more resilient, to produce better, more distinctive wine.
“And frustrating because it was almost impossible to narrow such a strong field down to just four winners.”
The judging panel included Max Allen, Dr Mary Cole, Dr Peter Dry AM, Dr Mardi Longbottom, Dr Irina Santiago-Brown and Mark Walpole.
Judging took place over six months and included site inspections of vineyards around Australia.
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