Want the drop on the best Australia’s wine industry has to offer? Allow us to introduce some of the more promising newcomers of 2016.
While we are a long way off the mature vines you’ll find in Burgundy or Bordeaux, the Australian wine industry now boasts a number of multi-generational family vineyards who have built a solid reputation over the decades. Their longevity and credibility is one of many driving forces behind the increasing quality level of wine in Australia. As wine lovers become more knowledgeable on the varieties and styles of wine they like, a simple love of wine is not enough to make a career out of winemaking.
With decades of experience between them, a clutch of winemakers are making waves this year, forming new partnerships or striking out on their own. The results have been impressive, with several new wineries delivering award-winning wines that are worth getting your hands on.
We’ve picked out four wineries who are relatively new to the scene, and have all made their debut in this year’s James Halliday’s Wine Companion.
Catlin Wines, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Growing up in the Barossa Valley and picking vines for pocket money, Darryl Catlin seemed destined to end up working in wine. After securing a degree in winemaking, Darryl combined his experience with his scientific knowledge to establish Catlin Wines in the Adelaide Hills in 2013.
This year, Catlin Winescelebrated its first entry into the Wine Companion, as well as being named one of the Top 10 Best New Wineries. Another cool climate vineyard, the company produces Shiraz, Merlot, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. Their wines are available at selected hotels and cellars across South Australia, Victoria, and the ACT.
CRFT Wines, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
If you have sampled one of CRFT Wines’ delicious Gruner Veltliner or Pinot Noirs, you can count yourself among one of the lucky few. The winery restricts itself to small batches, producing only about 2,000 bottles from two to three tonnes of fruit. Their grapes are selected from seven vineyards across the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, and Eden Valley, in South Australia.
The brainchild of winemaking couple Candice Helbig and Frewin Ries, CRFT Winesdescribes its philosophy as ‘simple’. Their mantra is to: “Preserve what the vineyard grew and create balance and harmony, leaving a minimal winemaking footprint.” Their stunning labels further demonstrate their connection to the earth, featuring a unique photograph of the soil from their vineyards.
The winery, which produced its inaugural vintage in 2013, does not have a cellar door, but offers private tastings and tours.
Silkman Wines, Hunter Valley, New South Wales
Known for producing award-winning wines for a number of Hunter Valley brands, couple Shaun and Liz Silkman gave life to Silkman Wines in 2013. The boutique producers only make small quantities of the three classics of the Valley: Semillon, Chardonnay, and Shiraz.
Named among the 10 Best New Wineries in Australia, Silkman Wines was awarded five stars in the 2016 Companion.
Bangor Estate, Tasmania
A small family vineyard in Tasmania,Bangor Estate is one of the most southerly in the world, making it ideal for cool climate wine.
In 2013, the devastating Dunalley bushfires all but wiped out the property, with only the three-hectare vineyard surviving. To rebuild, owners Matt and Vanessa Dunbabin formed a partnership with Tom and Alice Gray, local oyster farmers and fellow fire victims. In December 2014, they launched theBangor Wine and Oyster Shed. Specialising in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed is just a 45-minute drive from Hobart and is open seven days a week.
They were awarded a five-star rating from wine critic James Halliday in the Wine Companion.