To give recognition to all the incredible finalists considered for a winning spot in this year’s Halliday Wine Companion Awards, we present to you the 2022 Shortlist for Best New Winery. Best New Winery of the Year is the finest winery submitting to the Companion for the first time and this year, competition was stronger than ever, with our expanded tasting team seeking out a record 102 new wineries. Meet our finalists below.
Battles Wine, Western AustraliaLance Parkin and Kris Ambro have been around the Perth wine industry for many years, but their joint project in Battles Wine really does define the ‘new winery’ category. With only three vintages under their belts in 2021, already the wines (the reds, particularly) show attention to detail, smart sourcing and winemaking, and an energy and vitality that is at once refreshing and satisfying. Only great things lie in store for these two – EL (pictured 1/10).
Bellebonne, TasmaniaThe accumulated investment of both knowledge and tirage age that is mandatory in crafting truly great sparkling wine makes it impossible for an upstart, dedicated sparkling house to ever be shortlisted for Best New Winery. Unless, that is, it is the passion project of a remarkable woman who has spent 20 years building an intimate knowledge of the vines and the wines of northern Tasmania. Natalie Fryar has a hand in defining the greatness of many of the finest sparkling brands on the island, none more graceful nor more characterful than her own beloved Bellebonne – the most important and the most sublime new sparkling label Australia has seen this century. And it must be the smallest, too – TS (pictured 2/10).
Corryton Burge, Barossa ValleyThe finest new brands never come out of nowhere, and the new enterprise of siblings Trent and Amelia Burge takes full advantage not only of the Burge family’s 300ha of vines and Illaparra Winery but also of Trent’s almost 20 years of experience working in both. The brand has hit the ground running this year, with a smart set of inaugural releases appropriately led by an impressively polished Barossa shiraz and a cabernet hailing from the Corryton Park Vineyard, long the unsung hero of the family holdings – TS (pictured 3/10).
Kerri Greens, Mornington PeninsulaWinemaker Tom McCarthy (Quealy Wines) and viticulturist Lucas Blanck (Domaine Paul Blanck, Alsace) are a formidable duo working tirelessly to bring back to life the vineyards they manage on the Mornington Peninsula. With mandates of organics, sustainability and ‘treading gently’, their approach is respectful of their region and its history, yet with the youthful willingness to push boundaries. Their cracking wines are delicious, fresh and well priced – JF & TS (pictured 4/10).
Lowboi, Great SouthernLowboi is the product of winemaker Guy Lyons and his wife Nicky. They bought the Springviews Vineyard on the south face of the Porongurup range in 2017 and make tiny quantities of wine from chardonnay and riesling vines (supplemented with grüner from the Forest Hill vineyard in Denmark). These wines are made with excruciating attention to detail and sensitive winemaking, acutely expressing the ground from which the vines spring. Lyons will be moving into the fifth vintage from this vineyard in 2021, but given the infinitesimal yields in 2019 and 2020, it may be the first time we see them on the market again since the glorious 2018s. Take your eyes off this label if you dare – EL (pictured 5/10).
LS Merchants, Margaret RiverDylan Arvidson has only been making wines at his own LS Merchants since 2017, and already we have been treated to a bevy of classy, well-constructed, minimal-intervention releases. Those in the know in Western Australia have been onto him since the brand’s inception, resulting in increasingly short ‘available’ times in which to buy the limited wines. The new cellar door (opened in January 2021) has only amplified interest in his offering. Don’t miss this little producer – EL (pictured 6/10).
Pipan Steel, Alpine ValleysPaula Pipan and Radley Steel are turning a single-minded obsession with the nebbiolo grape into a successful reality. Their search for a suitable site took them to the Hunter Valley, Margaret River and Italy before ending in the foothills of the Australian Alps on a hillside of decomposed granite soil in Mudgegonga in North East Victoria. Using just three individual clones, they produce a stunning array of styles by clone, which culminate in a blend of all three – JP (pictured 7/10).
Place of Changing Winds, MacedonIt would be difficult to imagine a vineyard concept more rigorously or more courageously conceived than Place of Changing Winds. The obsessive and fanatical Robert Walters is Australia’s leading importer of the growers of Europe through his Bibendum Wine Co, having spent more than a quarter of a century scrutinising their methods, inspired by ‘wines of great intensity, finesse and perfume, wines that spoke loudly of place’. The list of growers and scientists to whom he pays tribute who ‘inspired, chastised and encouraged’ his own vineyard ambitions reads like a who’s who of the wine world – TS (pictured 8/10).
Protero, Adelaide HillsProtero is a standalone brand of legendary McLaren Vale winemaker Steve Pannell that is devoted to nebbiolo, which has been sourced from the Protero vineyard at Gumeracha since 2005. Steve purchased the site in December 2019, just weeks before it was surrounded by bushfire, not for the first time. Mercifully, it survived on both occasions. Other Italian varieties and some gewürztraminer and riesling have been planted, but his real passion for this site is nebbiolo. Later this year he will release his most iconic offering from the top of the hill – and it’s freaking awesome – TL & TS (pictured 9/10).
Vino Volta, Swan ValleyVino Volta is owned by winemaker Garth Cliff and his wife Kristen. Born of a desire to support and showcase lesser-known regions in Western Australia, specifically the Swan Valley and its surrounds, Vino Volta has burst onto the scene with a wealth of edgy restaurants and bars opting to list his wines almost immediately. Highlights include a grenache and a red blend, but the chenins are also not to be missed. In such a short time, Cliff has dragged this brand and story out into the light, much to the delight of the drinking public – EL (pictured 10/10).
*This is an edited extract from the 2022 Halliday Wine Companion, with reviews by Jane Faulkner, James Halliday, Erin Larkin, Tony Love, Ned Goodwin MW, Jeni Port and chief editor Tyson Stelzer. Cover illustration by Yoshiko Hada.
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