Adelaide Hills Ngeringa Vineyard’s Iluma Syrah has once again secured the coveted Cullen Wines Trophy for Wine of Show, the top prize for Red of Show, and a Gold Medal at the 2023 Australian Organic Wine Awards.
This year, it was the Mount Barker vineyard’s 2021 Iluma Syrah vintage crowned the Wine of Show, after the 2019 vintage secured the top prize in the 2021 Awards.
Led by respected wine expert, Mike Bennie, the esteemed panel of judges included: Negociants Key Account Manager, Ramon Arnavas; Group Beverage Director at STK Group, Alexandra McPherson; and Australian Organic Wine Awards Associate Scholarship recipient, Sophia Gannon.
Mr Bennie said the quality of wines this year was impressive, with the Iluma Syrah boasting a wild streak, making it interesting, character-filled, complex and appealing.
“The Iluma Syrah reflects the new wave of Australian shiraz making, with a svelte, medium weight, red fruited, spicy and silky-textured red emerging, in superb balance with a great extension of flavour and very high drinkability,” Mr Bennie said.
“All judges were impressed by its elegance and yet great energy. It’s a beautiful wine reflecting the exacting viticulture and cooler climate place from which it has come.”
Bringing home the White of Show was McLaren Vale-based Jackson Wine Estates’ 2022 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Blanc, produced from primarily French white grape varieties including Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache Gris and Piquepoul.
Mr Bennie described the wine as textural, intriguing and delicious.
“This is a white that is vibrant, has excellent length with nutty notes, yet encapsulates sweet and savoury fruit,” he said.
Hosted by Australian Organic Limited (AOL), the Awards, now in their third year, celebrate the unique wines and talented winemakers in Australia’s certified organic wine industry.
In total, 45 certified organic and biodynamic wine producers from 32 regions across the country submitted 211 bottles of the nation’s finest organic wines for judging in the Awards program.
Red wines proved the most popular entrants with 138 bottles judged, followed by 60 whites and 13 rosés, with 70 varieties of grapes showcased across the Awards reflecting the diversity of Australia’s certified organic wine industry.
A Gold Medal and Trophy for the Best Chillable Red was awarded to Barossa Valley’s Tscharke vineyard for their 2021 ‘A thing of beauty’ Grenache. The Tscharke stable is no stranger to the Awards program, having taken home the White of Show at the 2021 event.
The Best New Entrant Trophy and Gold Medal was awarded to Victorian winery, Carlei Wines, for its 2020 Carlei Estate Fruit Day Shiraz, which judges said would appeal to many with its choc-cherry taste and touches of alpine herbs.
For consumers who appreciate a nice tipple while enjoying a picnic in the park, the 2022 Yalumba Gen Viognier is the go-to wine, winning a Gold Medal and Trophy for Best Park Wine. Produced by Hill-Smith Family Estates in South Australia, the white wine is generous in stone fruit character with some green almond savouriness in the mix.
Margaret River’s 2022 Stormflower Vineyards Pet Nat, short for ‘pétillant naturel’, was awarded a Silver Medal and Trophy for Best Left of Centre Wine with judges saying it was a good example of the ‘naturally sparkling’ wine. Described as lively and vibrant, the pitch-perfect, easy-drinking wine is bright with bubbles and creamy, guava juice tastes.
AOL Chief Executive Officer, Niki Ford, congratulated the 2023 Australian Organic Wine Award winners for their outstanding results.
“Once again it is impressive to see the high quality of wines produced across the certified organic and biodynamic wine sector and I congratulate this year’s winners for their contribution to the industry,” Ms Ford said.
“Without a doubt, producing wine is a labour of love. We know how hard these winemakers work to maintain organic certification and to allow consumers to experience exceptional wines, with the highest standards of sustainability.
“It’s these wines that are gaining an enviable reputation here at home and overseas, with certified organic wines popular in Sweden, Canada and the United States.”
The Cullen Wines Trophy for the Wine of Show is named in honour of revered and visionary Western Australian winemaker, Vanya Cullen (OAM), who transformed the family vineyard into one of Australia’s most successful certified organic and biodynamic wineries, and the first in the country to be certified 100% carbon neutral. Ms Cullen was awarded an Order of Australia Medal on the King’s Birthday 2023 Honours list for her services to viticulture and oenology.
The Australian Organic Wine Awards have been held in 2020, 2021 (announced in 2022 due to Covid-19) and in 2023.
AWARD CATEGORY WINNERS
Cullen Wines Trophy Wine of Show, Red of Show and Gold Medal
2021 Ngeringa Iluma Syrah, Ngeringa Vineyards, Adelaide Hills
White of Show and Gold Medal
2022 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Blanc, Jackson Wine Estates, McLaren Vale
Best New Entrant, Gold Medal
2020 Carlei Estate Fruit Day Shiraz, Carlei Wines, Heathcote
Best Park Wine, Gold Medal
2022 Yalumba Gen Viognier, Hill-Smith Family Estates, South Australia
Best Left of Centre Wine, Silver Medal
2022 Stormflower Pet Nat, Stormflower Vineyards, Margaret River
Best Chillable Red, Gold Medal
2021 A thing of beauty Grenache, Tscharke, Barossa Valley
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