The Hunter Valley Wine Show celebrated the trophy winners from its 51st show at a trophy winners’ luncheon last week. Taking place at Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort, the luncheon was attended by 350 industry and special guests and saw 12 exhibitors awarded trophies.

Awarded the Doug Seabrook Memorial Trophy for Best Red Wine of the Show was Margan Wines for its 2019 Fordwich Hill Shiraz, also winning the Hector Tulloch Memorial Trophy for Best Shiraz, James Busby Memorial Trophy for Best Mature Three-Year-Old and Older Shiraz, and the Len Evans Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Red Wine.

Taking home the Len Evans trophy for Best Single Vineyard White Wine was Hunter Valley winery Bimbadgen, for its 2014 Signature Palmers Lane Semillon. Belinda Stapleton, General Manager of Hospitality at Mulpha, spoke about the win.

“It is an honour to receive this award and recognition among other great Hunter Valley wineries. I am so proud of our winemaking team and their commitment to quality. This trophy is a testament to the care taken as custodians of these prized vineyards.”

Taking out a trifecta for its 2013 Vat 1 Semillon was Tyrrell’s Wines, winning the Petrie-Drinan Trophy for Best White Wine of the Show, McGuigan Family Trophy for Best Two-Year-Old and Older Semillon, and the Tyrrell Family Trophy for Best Museum White Wine.

In a celebration of the Hunter Valley’s new and emerging wine brands, this year saw the introduction of the new Kaloudah Trophy for Best Wine from a Small Producer, awarded to Tinklers Wines for its 2019 Reserve Semillon.

Charteris Wines, De Iuliis Wines, First Creek Wines, Mercer Wines, Scarborough Wine Co, Silkman Wines, Sweetwater Estate, and Thomas Wines also received trophy awards.

Sam Connew, Winemaker and Director at Stargazer Wines, led a team of 18 local and visiting judges in his second year as Chair of Judges, collectively awarding 58 gold medals and 22 trophies. Connew reflected on the results.

“The long-standing established history and tradition of both the show and region makes the Hunter Valley Wine Show special. There is no other region in Australia or worldwide that does Semillon to the standard of the Hunter Valley.

“The stronger vintages always come to the fore, so it was good to see the 2023 Semillons show really solid results. The older Semillon classes are always such a treat and a privilege to judge, plus the Wines of Provenance class showed some extraordinary wines.

“The thing that people don’t talk about enough is the quality of the red wines from the Hunter Valley, that just stand out as glorious medium bodied wines.”

Visiting International Judge Jane Skilton commented on her involvement.

“I love judging regional shows as it gives you such a good overview of what is happening in the region, and you learn as you go along. I feel honoured to be in the Hunter Valley and I’ve been amazed by the uniform high quality of wines. The quality of the chardonnay was great, and the alternative varieties showed great possibilities as emerging winemakers trying something new.”

Also awarded on the day were the 2023 Tyrrell Family Advanced Viticulture Scholarship to Lacey Agate, Assistant Vineyard Manager at Agnew Wines, and the 2023 Alasdair Sutherland Scholarship to Hayden Tinkler, Vintage Winemaker at Brokenwood Wines.

“These initiatives not only support individuals’ aspirations, but also inject fresh perspectives and innovative ideas into our viticulture and winemaking practices,” said Jennie Curran, CEO of the Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association.

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