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Grape expectations exceeded by Hunter winemakers

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Nine wineries from the Hunter are toasting success following the recent 2023 Sydney Royal Wine Show.

After four days of judging, under the guidance of chair Sarah Crowe, 16 local drops picked up trophies or gold medals at the prestigious Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) of NSW event.

Pokolbin’s McGuigan’s and De Iuliis Wines, along with Cessnock’s Silkman Wines and Lovedale’s Gartelmann Wines, were among the big conquerors.

Winemaker Michael De Iullis collects the RAS of NSW Annual Prize for Best Current Vintage White from RAS treasurer Sam Walker.

McGuigan’s secured the David Clarke Memorial Perpetual Trophy for Best Semillon and the Dr Henry John Lindeman Memorial Perpetual Prize for Best Mature White for its 2014 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon.

De Iuliis Wines snared the RAS of NSW Annual Prize for Best Current Vintage White for its 2023 De Iuliis Semillon Single Vineyard.

The Restaurant and Catering Industry Association Perpetual Trophy for Best Small Producer Wine went to Silman Wines for its 2022 Silkman Wines Reserve Chardonnay.

Gartelmann Wines took home the NSW Department of Primary Industries James Busby Perpetual Trophy for Best NSW Wine for its 2018 Gartelmann Diedrich Reserve Shiraz, which was sourced from a single vineyard in the Orange region.

Gold medals were also presented to McGuigan’s (2018 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon), De Iuliis Wines (2023 De Iuliis Semillon, 2022 De Iuliis Single Vineyard Semillon Garden Vineyard), Pokolbin’s Brokenwood Wines (2022 Brokenwood 1899 Old Vines Semillon, 2017 Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon, 2022 Brokenwood Indigo Vineyard Chardonnay), Cessnock’s First Creek Wines (2022 First Creek Winemaker’s Reserve Chardonnay), Pokolbin’s Tyrell’s Vineyards (2023 Tyrrell’s HVD Semillon) and Cockfighter’s Ghost (2021 Cockfighter’s Ghost Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon), and North Rothbury’s Mercer Wines (2022 Mercer Wines Tempranillo, 2022 Mercer Barbera).

Ms Crowe said Australians were the real winners.

“Not only are they getting access to some of the best quality wine in the world,” she explained.

“But, they’re getting it at reasonable price points.

“Out of the 30 trophies awarded, about 50% of them are available under $40, and a large portion of these can be snapped up for $30 or less.

“The 2023 Sydney Royal Wine Show has demonstrated that not only are Australian producers delivering incredible wines, but they are doing so at reasonable price points for consumers.

“This year’s Best Wine of Show is a fantastic example.

“Australian Chardonnays are at the top of their game and the Evans & Tate Redbrook Estate Chardonnay is delivering the highest quality at an accessible price for this level of wine.”

RAS Wine Committee chair Angus Barnes presenting at the Wine Show.

Hunter trophy winners and gold medal recipients

McGuigan’s, Pokolbin

  • The David Clarke Memorial Perpetual Trophy for Best Semillon for their 2014 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon
  • The Dr Henry John Lindeman Memorial Perpetual Prize for Best Mature White for their 2014 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon
  • Gold medal for their 2018 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon

De Iuliis Wines, Pokolbin

  • The RAS of NSW Annual Prize for Best Current Vintage White for their 2023 De Iuliis Semillon Single Vineyard
  • Gold medal for their 2023 De Iuliis Semillon
  • Gold medal for their 2022 De Iuliis Single Vineyard Semillon Garden Vineyard

Silkman Wines, Cessnock

  • The Restaurant and Catering Industry Association Perpetual Trophy for Best Small Producer Wine for their 2022 Silkman Wines Reserve Chardonnay

Brokenwood Wines, Pokolbin

  • Gold medal for their 2022 Brokenwood 1899 Old Vines Semillon
  • Gold medal for their 2017 Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon
  • Gold medal for their 2022 Brokenwood Indigo Vineyard Chardonnay (Sourced in Beechworth in Northeast Victoria)

First Creek Wines, Cessnock

  • Gold medal for their 2022 First Creek Winemaker’s Reserve Chardonnay

Tyrell’s Vineyards, Pokolbin

  • Gold medal for their 2023 Tyrrell’s HVD Semillon

Gartelmann Wines, Lovedale

  • The NSW Department of Primary Industries James Busby Perpetual Trophy for Best NSW Wine for their 2018 Gartelmann Diedrich Reserve Shiraz (Sourced from a single vineyard in the Orange Wine region)

Cockfighter’s Ghost, Pokolbin

  • Gold medal for their 2021 Cockfighter’s Ghost Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Sourced from their Chairman’s Vineyard in McLaren Vale)

Mercer Wines, North Rothbury

  • Gold medal for their 2022 Mercer Wines Tempranillo (Sourced from Hilltops region, Southern NSW)
  • Gold medal for their 2022 Mercer Barbera (Sourced from Orange region, Central Ranges NSW)

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