The winners of the QANTAS Epiqure Halliday Wine Companion awards for 2018 have been announced. Distinguished wine critic James Halliday has named Paul Hotker of the historic Bleasdale Vineyards as Winemaker of the Year for 2018, as well as the top performers in a host of other prestigious categories highlighting the best in Australia’s rich and diverse winemaking scene.
Bleasdale Vineyards senior winemaker Paul Hotker has made his mark in the wine circuit over the past two years, drawing comparisons with Langhorne Creek pioneer Wolf Blass. This year’s edition saw seven of Hotker’s wines (three shiraz and three malbec) rated 95 points or above, and the multi-trophy-winning 2015 Wellington Road GSM clocking 98 points.
All awards are based on reviews published in the 2018 Halliday Wine Companion book. Seen as a definitive guide to Australian wine, this book features over 1200 wineries and 6940 individual wine ratings.
Lisa Hudson, Head of Qantas epiQure, said: “James Halliday is a name that is synonymous with quality and that’s something Qantas epiQure is passionate about, so we’re proud to bring the two together to recognise the best in Australian wine.”
The most sought after of these titles is Wine of the Year and Best Shiraz given to 2012 Henschke Hill of Grace, handpicked from a 152-year-old vine from the Eden Valley. Clare Valley legend Jeffrey Grosset, of Grosset Wines, took out Best Value Winery for his globally renowned range.
The Yarra Valley region led the pack with single-vineyard estate Mount Mary taking hoem Winery of the Year and Best Pinot Noir, Dappled Wines named Best New Winery and Boat O’Craigo the Dark Horse to watch. Boat O’Craigo achieved a five-star rating for the first time with a trilogy of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir, made by influential winemaker Rob Dolan.
James Halliday said: “I am really proud of this edition, my 12th, and love that Australia is returning to produce the classic varieties of chardonnay and shiraz, with pinot noir the rising star. All can confidently share the world stage; Australian wine is in a really good place now.”
The major award winners are as follows:
Wine of the Year (sponsored by Qantas epiQure): 2012 Henschke Hill of Grace
Winery of the Year (sponsored by Wine Australia): Mount Mary
Winemaker of the Year (sponsored by Wine Australia): Paul Hotker, Bleasdale Vineyards
Best Value Winery of the Year (sponsored by Thomas Foods International): Grosset Wines
Best New Winery: Dappled Wines
Dark Horse Winery of the Year: Boat O’Craigo
The 2018 Halliday Wine Companion has been published by Hardie Grant and will be available for purchase for $39.99 in September. A profile on all winners can be found at: winecompanion.com.au
Images: SDP Media.