Hall of Grace: Prue Henschke named a national wine treasure

South Australia dominated the prestigious Halliday Wine Companion Awards last night taking out winery of the year, winemaker of the year, wine of the year and topped off with Henschke wines’ chief viticulturist Prue Henschke being inducted into the first ever Hall of Fame.

Aug 03, 2023, updated Aug 04, 2023
Prue Henschke of Henschke Wines in Keyneton was inducted into the James Halliday Hall of Fame: Wine Industry. Photo: Dorky

Prue Henschke of Henschke Wines in Keyneton was inducted into the James Halliday Hall of Fame: Wine Industry. Photo: Dorky

Seppelstfield’s 100-year-old Para Vintage Tawny that sells for $1700 a bottle was also granted entry into the inaugural Hall of Fame: Wine.

James Halliday AM praised the liquid gold saying “the importance and quality of this wine is beyond refute; it is a gift from generations past, a wine altar on which we worship, an ode in a bottle to Australian wine history”.

Henschke wines in Keyneton is home to the famed Hill of Grace shiraz, its chief viticulturist Prue Henschke trumpeted as a “beacon for many people within the wine industry game”.

When it came to recognising Henschke for her achievements and contribution to the grape growing and winemaking industry Halliday said she “has shown consistently over many, many, years that she was the pace maker, not the pace follower, and she is a really wonderful person to work with”.

“There is no one else that has done more for the broader wine industry…You can walk into a vineyard that she has under her care and you will very quickly come to the conclusion that this is remarkable,” he continued.

Henschke is committed to restoring balance to the natural environment and has led the way with regenerative viticulture, using her expertise from botany and zoology university studies to establish thousands of different Australian native plants.

A planting program has restored woodlands and forests to 50 per cent of all Henschke lands and Henschke has pioneered restructuring vineyards with new trellis types to enhance grape quality and has improved soil health using native grasses or compost.

“It is wonderful to see my work recognised and the importance of nurturing our vineyard sites and soils, and the role this plays in the wider winemaking community, especially as we head into challenging changes in the world’s climate,” Henschke said.

The 2024 Halliday Wine Companion Awards may have been announced at Melbourne’s Stokehouse Restaurant but the night belonged to South Australia.

halliday wine awards

Seppeltsfield centennial cellar chief winemaker Fiona Donald. Photo: supplied

Bleasdale Vineyards in Langhorne Creek was named Winery of the Year, Kate Goodman of Penley Estate in the Coonawarra, Winemaker of the Year, and Yangarra Estate Vineyard Old Vine Grenache 2021 that is made in McLaren Vale was named Wine of the Year.

Bleasdale also had two wines named as best in their class – the 2021 The Iron Duke cabernet cauvignon was crowned Cabernet Sauvignon of the Year from 600 entries and the 2021 Wellington Road Shiraz Cabernet won best Shiraz Cabernet Blend of the Year.

“Winning Winery of the Year feels like we’ve made it. It’s a testament to the dedication that our Bleasdale team pours into grape growing and winemaking each year in Langhorne Creek,” winemaker Paul Hotker said.

SA won more varietal awards than any other state too, Yangarra Estate Vineyard Old Vine Grenache 2021 in McLaren Vale was cited as Red Wine of the Year with 99 points.

And Landaire at Padthaway Estate Chardonnay 2021 was awarded White Wine of the Year with 98 points. The state took home best shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet shiraz, grenache, chardonnay and riesling.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Boutique Adelaide Hills winery Murdoch Hill topped more than 1,500 competitors to be named Shiraz of the Year last night.

The winery’s 2021 Landau Syrah scored 99 out of 100 points – the highest point score ever given to an Adelaide Hills wine – putting Murdoch Hill up there with famous producers like Penfolds and Henschke.

Chief winemaker Michael Downer told InDaily the win felt “unbelievable” and that it was the first time an Adelaide Hills wine had ever been awarded Shiraz of the Year since the initiative began in 2015.

“I never really expected that – so it’s a bit of a shock but of course we’re completely honoured,” he said.

“That’s our tenth release of the Landau Syrah and we’ve been evolving it over time and it’s brilliant to be able to showcase the Adelaide Hills and the cool climate nature.

“If you think about Shiraz in this country, it’s usually associated with bigger, bolder styles. For this cool climate-style to be awarded is thrilling and exciting for the region.”

He said that the ’21 vintage was one of the “most outstanding” for all growers in South Australia, “which makes the award even more unreal”.

Halliday wine awards

Michael Downer and Landau Shiraz 2021. Photo: Daniel Marks

“To be in the top echelon of Australian Shiraz is just enormous,” he said.

“I knew the 2021 Landau Syrah was going to be exceptional from the moment we picked the fruit.

“The 2021 growing season delivered near perfect conditions and the grapes ripened beautifully.”

More than 8500 wines were tasted for the 2024 Halliday Wine Companion from over 1100 wineries.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.