On Friday afternoon (10 December 2021), the 2021 ICC Sydney NSW Wine Awards top trophy results were announced at an exclusive Awards Presentation Luncheon at ICC Sydney. 21 Trophies were presented to the state’s best wines, including the ultimate Trophy - the ‘NSW Governor’s 2021 Best in Show’ - presented by the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC.
Chair of Judges, Mr Nick Spencer said, “Choosing a single wine to be awarded the title of NSW Wine of The Year was an exceptionally challenging task, given the quality of wines to select from, and the breadth of styles that were awarded best in their respective classes. Two wines went head-to-head this year resulting in a very close contest. The wine that was ultimately awarded as the 2021 NSW Wine of The Year was the Silkman Wines 2014 Reserve Semillon from the Hunter Valley.”
“This wine is nothing short of extraordinary, and a true marker of the Hunter wine region as one of the best in the world. Skilled wine maker Liz Silkman has produced a wine that is remarkably fresh for a 7 year old wine, while still offering an incredibly complexity. When I consider what makes a wine exceptional – it’s structure, balance, length, freshness, complexity, concentration and an ability to mature gracefully, this wine ticks all of those boxes.”
Of the other trophies awarded during the day, there was fabulous array of diversity, with winemakers and grape growers from Orange, Tumbarumba, Hilltops, Canberra District, Gundagai, Mudgee and the Riverina all receiving acclaim. A full list of all trophy winners is below.
The Riverina regions was a particular focus this year as it was selected for the Chair of Judges Trophy. Each year the Chair is asked to select a wine from a nominated region in NSW. The region changes every year and is selected based on a number of criteria. This year the Riverina was nominated as it is one of Australian most important wine regions, not only because it is responsible for around 20% of Australia entire production but importantly because it is becoming an epicentre for innovation in viticulture with particular focus on growing grape varieties suitable to Australia’s changing climate. The wining wine was the Trimboli Family Wines 2021 Saverio Fiano, a perfect example of why this variety will become one of Australia’s most important grape varieties in the future. The wine itself is a beautiful, bright, aromatic wine with lovely fine acidity and fresh fruit flavours and importantly is a grape variety that is very well suited to our climate. A great introduction to Fiano for a consumer.
Charles Sturt University, located in the Riverina, is a sponsor of the NSW Wine Awards and was there on the day to see the trophies be presented. Dr Leigh Schmidtke, Director National Wine and Grape Industry Centre, said, “It is great to see the Riverina get such significant recognition. The Riverina has been the powerhouse of the NSW wine industry for many years now. Charles Sturt University has been making wine and making winemakers for over three decades, supporting the family winemaking enterprises of NSW”.
This is the third year the Awards have been held at ICC Sydney and celebrates the fifth year that the convention centre has been open. For the last 5 years, ICC Sydney has not wavered from its commitment to showcasing NSW wine with now a wine list of 100% NSW wines (100,000 bottles pre pandemic). Geoff Donaghy, CEO ICC Sydney, said, “We are delighted to host the Awards for the third consecutive year, helping promote NSW wine on a global platform. By supporting the industry, we also provide our clients and event attendees access to wines of diversity and quality, that NSW is becoming famous for.”
ICC Sydney’s team has also created a fantastic docuseries to share their passion, called 100% Local, which showcases our state’s established wine regions and winemakers of extensive experience. To honour their support of the NSW wine industry, they released Episode 4 “Old Vines” during the Awards Presentation today. You will find this episode and the others in this series, on ICC Sydney’s website.
As well as the wine awards, another great achievement was recognised on the day, when the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) presented the 2020 Graham Gregory Award (the award is retrospective) for services to the NSW wine industry, our industry’s top citation. This year’s recipient has had an amazing career within the wine industry, since graduating from the University of Adelaide followed by becoming a National Nuffield Farming Scholar. They currently run their own viticulture consultancy, specialising in the fields of research and development, vineyard sustainability, climate change adaption and fruit quality for growers, and providing expert technical and practical advice to vineyard owners throughout NSW, nationally and internationally. They have also taken their passion for research and viticulture to the next level by representing the NSW wine industry in national forums, committees and boards for many years. The winner of the 2020 Graham Gregory Award was Liz Riley, from Vitibit.
President of the NSW Wine Industry Association, Mark Bourne said, “Liz Riley’s significant contribution to the NSW wine industry is without peer. Her advocacy for the NSW wine industry on research, development, extension and precision viticulture has been a major driver in keeping NSW grape growers and winemakers at the forefront of quality and sustainability.”
Liz is the first female recipient of the Graham Gregory, and when she is joined by the 6 female NSW Wine Awards judges and the winemaker of the 2021 NSW Wine of The Year, it certainly seems like the 2021 ICC Sydney NSW Wine Awards has been a great celebration for the female professionals within the NSW wine industry.
The 2021 ICC Sydney NSW Wine Awards trophy winners are:
Australia Post Trophy for Best Riesling ~ Pepper Tree Wines 2021 Stone Mountain Riesling (Orange)
[www.peppertreewines.com.au/product – $50 a bottle]
NSW DPI Trophy for Best Semillon ~ Silkman Wines 2014 Reserve Semillon (Hunter Valley)
[www.corkscrewcellars.com.au – $45 a bottle]
Nexia Australia Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc ~ Kosciuszko Wines 2021 Sauvignon Blanc (Tumbarumba)
[www.kosciuszkowines.com.au – $27 a bottle]
Finlayson’s Trophy for Best Chardonnay ~ First Creek 2019 Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay (Hunter Valley)
[www.firstcreekwines.com.au - $65 a bottle]
Orora Trophy for Best Other White Variety ~ Trimboli Family Wines 2021 Saverio Fiano (Riverina)
[www.wineselectors.com.au – $26 a bottle]
CCL Trophy for Best White Blend ~ Saddler’s Creek Wines 2021 Winemaker’s Craft Wild White (Hunter/Hilltops)
[www.saddlerscreek.com – $30 a bottle]
MultiColor Trophy for Best Light Red ~ Cassegrain Wines 2021 Seasons Spring Rosé (Hilltops)
[www.cassegrainwines.com.au – $25 a bottle]
Australia Post Trophy for Best Pinot Noir ~ Heifer Station 2019 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir (Orange)
[www.heiferstation.com – $45 a bottle]
Nexia Australia Trophy for Best Shiraz ~ Lerida Estate 2019 Shiraz (Canberra District)
[www.leridaestate.com.au – $28 a bottle]
RIEDEL Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon ~ Shaw Wines 2018 Reserve Merriman Cabernet (Canberra District)
[www.shawwines.com.au – $65 a bottle]
MultiColor Trophy for Best Other Red Variety ~ McWilliam’s 2021 Alternis Nero D’Avola (Gundagai)
[www.mcwilliams.com.au – $22 a bottle]
Charles Stuart University Trophy for Best Red Blend ~ Margan 2019 White Label Saxonvale Shiraz Mourvèdre (Hunter)
[www.shop.margan.com.au – $50 a bottle]
NSW DPI Best Organic Wine Award ~ See Saw 2021 Marge (Orange)
[www.seesawwine.com – $35 a bottle]
ICC Sydney 1828 Innovation Award ~ Gilbert 2021 Petillant Naturel Rosé (Mudgee)
[www.gilbertfamilywines.com.au – $28 a bottle]
Chair of Judges Trophy for Best Riverina Wine ~ Trimboli Family Wines 2021 Saverio Fiano (Riverina)
[www.wineselectors.com.au – $26 a bottle]
WINEDEPOT Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine ~ Printhie Wines Swift 2013 Vintage (Orange)
[www.printhiewines.com.au – available now $65 a bottle]
ICC Sydney Trophy for Best Sweet Wine ~ De Bortoli 2019 Noble One Semillon (Riverina)
[www.shop.debortoli.com.au – $50 a 500ml bottle]
ICC Sydney Trophy for Best Fortified ~ De Bortoli NV Show Liqueur Muscat (Riverina)
[www.shop.debortoli.com.au – $26 a 500ml bottle]
Orora Trophy for Best Dry White in Show ~ Silkman Wines 2014 Reserve Semillon (Hunter Valley)
CCL Trophy for Best Dry Red in Show ~ Lerida Estate 2019 Shiraz (Canberra District)
NSW Governor’s Trophy for Best in Show ~ Silkman Wines 2014 Reserve Semillon (Hunter Valley)