The 2022 Shortlist

Winemaker of the Year: The Finalists

By The Tasting Team
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 Winemaker of the Year. Those shortlisted most fully exemplify best winemaking practice. It is acknowledged that, even in the smallest winery, credit is never due only to one individual, but to a team and in listing each nomination we also recognise and applaud the teams around them. Meet the finalists below.

Michael Dhillon – Bindi Wines, Macedon

A reflective and insightful thinker, Michael embodies a deep and intimate connection with his land, his history and his community. From vineyards planted by his family high in the Macedon Ranges in 1988, he tends to pinot noir and chardonnay, with shiraz sourced from Heathcote. Michael credits his sympathetic treatment of pinot noir to his predecessor and mentor, Stuart Anderson. A focus on drawing out elegant fruit from distinguished sites calls for gentle and minimal winemaking, which he is constantly fine-tuning and is inspired by regular sojourns to Burgundy – TS & JF (pictured 1/10). 

Duane Coates – Coates Wines, Adelaide Hills

Across a four-month tsunami of tasting, not once did I come across a range of wines as unequivocally delicious as that from Duane Coates. I am speaking of each cuvée, meticulously crafted by a modest man with ample foreign experience up his sleeve, along with the academic moxie demanded by his Master of Wine studies and his recent inauguration to the Institute. From Nebbiolo and Chardonnay, to the most exciting sparkling wine yet tasted from these shores, these are wines that push boundaries as much as they sit in the mouth with an uncanny effortlessness ... before the bottle is gone – NG (pictured 2/10).

Scott Ireland – Provenance Wines, Geelong

Scott Ireland has gone from winemaker at Austin’s in the Geelong region to a fully-fledged Western Victorian wine specialist focusing on cooler climate wines from Geelong, Ballarat and Henty. He offers a wonderful celebration of regions and individual sites, crafting wines with a clean purity and a real sense of adventure. Scott has approached winemaking with a sense of bravery, professionalism and humility, and hasn’t let limited resources hold him back from embracing opportunity – JP (pictured 3/10).

Adam Wadewitz – Shaw + Smith, Adelaide Hills

Everything Adam Wadewitz touches turns to gold. First at Best’s Great Western (until 2013), then subsequently at Shaw + Smith and its Tolpuddle Vineyard, and more recently The Other Wine Co and his own Elderslie wines. It is of course Shaw + Smith that leads his nomination, with a suite of gold-medal scoring wines embracing chardonnay, shiraz, sauvignon blanc and even riesling. His chardonnay ranks high among the best in the Hills, but it is perhaps his focus on elevating his famous sauvignon blanc, to be tighter and more modern than ever, that is his most laudable achievement. Adam Wadewitz is a go-to of elite Adelaide Hills winemaking and is to be credited for some of the finest wines in the region – TL & TS (pictured 4/10).

Ian Hongell – Torbreck Vintners, Barossa Valley

In the space of less than five years, Ian Hongell has transformed one of the leading estates of the Barossa and has elevated its vines and its wines to hitherto unseen heights. A grower and winemaker with tremendous depth of experience, he embodies a restless fanaticism to always strive harder, tweaking the finer details to bring out the best in his team, his vines and his wines. Ian is a deep thinker who has fundamentally challenged my own preconceptions about red winemaking in a warm climate. He contrasts his insightful and considered approach with a down-to-earth common sense that builds firm bonds with his winemaking and viticultural teams, his growers and vineyards. After almost two decades at Peter Lehmann Wines, ‘Honky’ clearly has inherited Peter Lehmann’s tremendous loyalty and devotion to the Barossa and its people – TS (pictured 5/10).

Glenn Goodall – Xanadu Wines, Margaret River

Glenn Goodall may come across as an unassuming, laid-back, comical Kiwi with a penchant for surfing, but his wines are a different story altogether. At every available style and price point, they are made with assiduous attention to detail, deliciousness and quality at the very forefront. At the value end of the spectrum, his wines routinely smoke peer-group competitors, and at the very top end (Steven’s Road and Reserve ranges), they occupy a venerated place in the top echelon of wines produced each year in Margaret River. It is not hyperbole to state that Glenn has changed the fortunes of Xanadu, forging its reputation for show-winning, delicious wines. Its success is built upon his vision and execution. Long may it continue – EL (pictured 6/10).

*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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