Swinney Vineyard in Frankland River in the Great Southern Wine Region has been named the Vineyard of the Year – Young Gun of Wine

Young Gun of Wine has named Swinney Vineyard of the Year in the inaugural Vineyard of the Year Awards.

The judging panel consisted of Max Allen, Dr Mary Cole, Dr Peter Dry AM, Dr Mardi Longbottom, Dr Irina Santiago-Brown and Mark Walpole who were supported by vineyard inspectors Chris Penfold (SA), Colin Bell (WA), John Whiting (VIC), Kellie Graham (TAS) and Liz Riley (NSW/ACT).

Max Allen said it was a great opportunity to shift the focus of the national wine conversation from how wines are made to how they’re grown.

“….it 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.”

Dr Peter Dry said that this competition had revealed that there are many outstanding vineyards and vignerons in Australia.

“We have chosen four winners on this occasion, but there are many other ‘winners’ out there who are equally deserving.”

Vineyard of the Year – Swinney Vineyard, Frankland River (WA) managed by Lee Hasselgrove.

At 160 hectares, the Swinney Vineyard is large, but it is guided by viticulturist Lee Haselgrove with a small-scale approach, supplying fruit to around 30 top makers, as well as for their own label, which is making considerable waves at present.

The Swinney Vineyard represents modern viticulture interwoven with Old-World techniques, executed with precision through a combination of exhaustive manual work and state-of-the-art technology, and all underpinned by an environmental focus. They are pushing the limits of grape varieties and challenging the norms to search for wines of distinct provenance and expression. 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.

Swinney Vineyard

Other category winners include:

  • New Vineyard of the Year – Place of Changing Winds, Macedon Ranges (VIC), established by Robert Walters with vineyard manager Remi Jacquemain
  • Old Vineyard of the Year – Best’s Concongella Vineyard, Great Western (VIC), under the stewardship of viticulturist Ben Thomson
  • Innovative Vineyard of the Year, dubbed ‘The Groundbreaker’ – Ricca Terra Caravel Vineyard, Riverland (SA), established by viticulturist Ashley Ratcliff

Allen said that for him, the strongest outcome of the awards process was the list of the 50 finalists. “It is a truly inspiring snapshot of Australia’s vibrant modern winegrowing community.”

For more information on the Young Gun of Wine awards and finalists, click here.

Applications for the next edition, the 2021 Vineyard of the Year Awards, will open in June 2021.