Discover the Top Ten best new wineries from Halliday Wine Companion 2018 »

The five star rated debutantes are....

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<i>Halliday Wine Companion 2018</i> by James Halliday

Halliday Wine Companion 2018 by James Halliday [©Hardie-Grant]


Each one of these wineries making its debut in the Wine Companion has earned a five-star rating. They are thus the leaders of the 77 new wineries in this edition, although a number of other first-up wineries also achieved five stars.

The ultimate selection criteria included the number of wines earning 95 points or above, and also value for money. 


BEST NEW WINERY – Dappled Wine Yarra Valley / Page 212

The story of Dappled appears on page 18; further details appear in its winery entry on page 212. 

(see related listing in the links below)


Attwoods Wines, Geelong / Page 87

Australian-born and -educated winemaker and owner Troy Walsh worked as a sommelier in London for 12 years, giving him the contacts needed when he returned to Australia and began the Flying Winemaker path of vintages in Australia and France. He focused on pinot noir and chardonnay in Burgundy and Geelong, becoming very familiar with the use of whole bunch fermentation.

In 2010 he purchased an 18ha property 20km south of Ballarat, moving there with his family and close-planting 1.5ha of pinot noir and 0.5ha of chardonnay.


Dr Edge, Tasmania / Page 237

Having worked as a winemaker for Petaluma, Peter Dredge moved to Tasmania  in 2009, spending the next 7 years with Bay of Fires, becoming chief winemaker. In ’15 he left Bay of Fires to set up a consultancy practice and become a self-employed winemaker for Dr Edge.

Within a year he had formed a partnership to relaunch Meadowbank for the Ellis family, giving him access to 1.5ha of southern Tasmanian pinot noir, and buying other lots from the north and east coasts of Tasmania.


Elbourne Wines, Hunter Valley / Page 247

In 2009 Adam and Alexys Elbourne fulfilled their dream of moving from  Sydney to the Hunter Valley, purchasing a 22ha property on Marrowbone Road, with a 4ha chardonnay and shiraz vineyard (needing TLC) and enough land for their boutique racehorse stud and a Noah’s Ark of animals including Wessex Saddleback pigs.

The vineyard has been brought back to life, with Nick Paterson as contract winemaker.


Elderslie, Adelaide Hills / Page 247

This winery brings together two families whose skills interlock at the hip – one winemaker, the other wine marketer. The winemaker is Adam Wadewitz, the wine marketer Nicole Roberts. Better still, they each have their partners (Nikki Wadewitz and Mark Roberts) on board, and they also have complementary intersecting real life jobs.

Blue blood flows as freely as the wine in their veins.


“Heroes” Vineyard Geelong / PAGE 338

James Thomas was 16 when his parents planted a vineyard in the UK in  1996. He came to Australia in 2004, achieving a degree in oenology from La Trobe. Four years as assistant winemaker at Bannockburn Vineyards was followed by three years as head winemaker in England making sparkling wine.

Returning to Australia in ’14, he found and purchased an established 3.4ha vineyard. Sophisticated wine and a sophisticated label.


One Block, Yarra Valley / Page 505

Jayden Ong has had a dazzling career in fine wine and fine food, starting with the Melbourne Wine Room (2000–06), and vintages at Curly Flat and Moorooduc Estate and Allies/Garagiste. He then gained a CSU degree in oenology, opened Cumulus Inc. restaurant with superstar chef Andrew McConnell and worked at Flying Winemaking in 2006–14.

Small lot winemaking in the Yarra Valley was also threaded through the years. In ’15 he and partner Morgan Ong purchased a small property and home at Mt Toolebewong, 700m above sea level in the Yarra Valley, now planted with an organic vineyard.


Shining Rock Vineyard, Adelaide Hills / Page 614

Agronomist Darren Arney and psychologist wife Natalie Worth acquired the Shining Rock Vineyard from Lion Nathan in 2012. Planted by Petaluma in ’00, the grapes sold until ’15.

The first vintage that year was made by Peter Leske (Revenir), then in ’16 by Con Moshos (Tapanappa) in conjunction with Darren, the éminence grise of Brian Croser ever present.


Small Island Wines, Southern Tasmania / Page 626

Tasmanian-born James Broinowski graduated in oenology from the University of Adelaide in 2013. He faced the same problem as other hopefuls with drive and ambition but no working capital. He turned to crowdfunding in ’16, which enabled him to purchase pinot noir from Glengarry Vineyard in Northern Tasmania; he made a gold medal–winning Pinot Noir at the Hobart Wine Show 2016, plus 200 bottles of Rose. Further purchases of pinot noir in ’16 and ’17 will provide continuing payback to his supporters.


Woodvale, Clare Valley / Page 736

This is the personal venture of Kevin Mitchell and wife Kathleen Bourne, and is not an offshoot of Kilikanoon. The raison d’être of the business is the making of small batches of Clare Valley’s most esteemed varieties, riesling and shiraz, but also bringing grenache and cabernet sauvignon onboard to provide further choice.

Four rieslings and shirazs from 2014 and ’15 are very good indeed. The wines are available online.


This extract from the Halliday Wine Companion 2018 is reproduced with the kind permission of the publishers.

The Halliday Wine Companion 2018 by James Halliday is  published by Hardie Grant, (Sydney, NSW; Aug 2018; pb; 776pp) and is available to purchase all good booksellers nationally for RRP A$39.99.

It can also be found to purchase online via booko.com.au »

Read the media release here »

Read about 2018 Qantas epiQure Halliday Wine Companion Awards here »


October 21st, 2017
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