Media Releases

02 November 2018

The second annual James Halliday Grenache Challenge (JHGC) gathered varietal Grenache wines from around Australia for a competitive tasting to celebrate and elevate the variety. 

The Challenge invited producers from all Australian wine regions to participate, encouraging an honest gauge of Australia’s winemaking form and to catch the styles and movements developing across the landscape.

Cellarmasters 2017 Blood Brother Republic McLaren Vale Grenache emerged victorious, with Z Wine 2017 Rustica just a single point behind.

2018 James Halliday Grenache Challenge Panel Judges included Julian Langworthy - Deep Woods, Andrew Thomas - Thomas Wines and Fiona Donald - Seppeltsfield.

2018 McLaren Vale Wine Show Chair Liam Van Pelt, was thrilled to receive quality Grenache submissions from all over Australia.

"Once again, the JHGC was supported by many great wine regions around Australia. Entries were scrutinised by some of Australia’s top show judges with the top eight wines creating a lot of conversation around style, winemaking and Grenache’s overall position in Australia," said Mr Van Pelt.

"Judges were impressed with the strength of the entries with eventual winner chosen for showing brightness, balance, varietal definition and complexity.” 

James Halliday also noted the standout quality of the final entries.

"The eight grenache that were in contention for the best overall and best regional awards are a brilliant testimony to all that modern day grenache has to offer," said Mr Halliday.

"Lifted, perfumed red fruits and hints of spice of the bouquets were mirrored by vibrant, supple palates with a seamless flow of varietal fruits ranging through red cherry, strawberry and raspberry. The wines achieved these wonderful flavours at moderate alcohol levels, making them a sheer pleasure to drink."

Mark 'Jamo' Jamieson, the winemaker behind the winning wine, is honoured to receive the accolade.

“To get recognition from Australia’s most respected wine critic is a tremendous honour,” Jamieson said.

“Creating a beautiful wine is a team effort, and this win is a true testament to all the hard work the grower, cellar hands and winemaker do together. At the end of the day, it’s all about the vines, the soil, and ability to pick the fruit at optimum ripeness – not to mention a large dash of luck.”

Full results here.

Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, Marketing and Communications Manager, MVGWTA
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:

26 October 2018

*Embargoed until 4pm, 26 October 2018

McLaren Vale’s Best Wine of Show and prestigious ‘Bushing King’ title was awarded at the 54th annual MGA Insurance McLaren Vale Winemakers Bushing Luncheon held at Serafino Wines.

Stephen Pannell and Fiona Lindquist were crowned 2018 Bushing Monarchs - an incredible fourth title for the winemaking team behind S.C. Pannell Wines.

The 2016 S.C. Pannell Cabernet Malbec was the highest scoring wine of the 2018 Wine Show as judged by an impressive panel of international and Australian judges. 

Chair of Judges, David LeMire MW has praised the quality of wines entered into this year’s Show, with "classic" varietals proving a difficult decision to determine front runners.

"With one hundred metres to go, you could have thrown a blanket over the contenders for the Best Wine of Show. The Grenache, the Cabernet, and a delicious blend of Cabernet and Malbec that is becoming recognised as classic, and uniquely an Australian style, were hard to separate, but the Cabernet Malbec just got over the line, by a (fragrant) nose,” said Mr LeMire.

This year’s McLaren Vale Wine Show received 799 entries from 113 exhibitors, with 50 gold medals awarded.

Building on the excitement of McLaren Vale's nomination as 'International Wine Region of the Year' in Wine Enthusiast Magazine's 2018 Wine Star Awards, McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch considers the annual Wine Show and associated Bushing Luncheon a significant indicator of changing winemaking and culinary trends.

“Food and wine has long been the culinary language of many countries in the world – a reflection of place, people and produce," said Ms Lynch.

"How food and wine is enjoyed in Australia and internationally is evolving, and McLaren Vale wines are extremely well-placed to evolve with growing and changing tastes of discerning palates. We are a dynamic and multi-dimensional wine region – it is no wonder that McLaren Vale’s international recognition continues to grow."

The ‘McLaren Vale meets Leigh Street’ medal and trophy tasting event will be held on Friday, November 9 in Adelaide, tickets can be purchased here.

List of trophy winners here. Full results book posted at 4pm on the MVGWTA website.

Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, Marketing and Communications Manager, MVGWTA
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:

24 September 2018

Oliver Budack, cellar door manager at McLaren Vale’s Gemtree Wines has been awarded the 2019 Wayne Thomas Scholarship.

Named after prominent McLaren Vale wine identity, the late Wayne Thomas, the annual scholarship recipient receives a fully funded place at the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course and the opportunity to judge as an Associate Judge at the McLaren Vale Wine Show – one of Australia’s most significant wine shows.

As a newer resident to the region, hailing from Germany and a qualified Sommelier – Oliver is grateful for the opportunity to progress his wine sensory and analysis capabilities.

“Being new to the area I wanted to find an opportunity to be more engaged with my industry and to contribute to it in a meaningful way. I also want to build on my existing wine knowledge and education, and to become a qualified wine judge. Wherever I am, I always want to learn more and deepen my journey into wine,” said Mr Budack.

“It will be a great pleasure to support a wide range of wine events, meet lots of people, form relationships and to be a strong advocate for the local industry.”

In completing the AWAC course, Oliver will experience different wine styles from around the world and develop his sensory vocabulary and palate calibration alongside esteemed industry peers during the intensive four-day workshop.

These newly acquired skills will be put into practice in October 2019 when Oliver will be an associate judge in the McLaren Vale Wine Show.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch, reaffirms the region’s reputation as a home of talented and passionate wine industry ambassadors.

“The scholarship enables recipients to advance their judging profile whilst also developing knowledge and experience to benefit our region and industry,” said Ms Lynch.

The Wayne Thomas Scholarship is funded by proceeds raised through the annual McLaren Vale Wine Show awards luncheon, the Winemakers Bushing Lunch.

“Oliver joins an esteemed collective of McLaren Vale leaders that have completed the same sensory course over the last ten years, and who have since received many accolades for their businesses, thereby enhancing our region’s reputation as a haven for fostering leadership in the wine industry.”

Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, Marketing and Communications Manager, MVGWTA
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:

10 September 2018

McLaren Vale has been nominated by Wine Enthusiast Magazine (US) for International Wine Region of the Year at the 2018 Wine Star Awards.

McLaren Vale is the only Australian wine region to be nominated, alongside some of the world’s greatest wine regions such as Champagne (France) and Sonoma (California).

McLaren Vale’s nomination was supported by Wine Enthusiast’s Contributing Editor, Christina Pickard, who was directly hosted in our region by MVGWTA and our Members in February this year through Wine Australia's visitation program.

In addition to our region’s nomination, MVGWTA is equally thrilled to note McLaren Vale’s very own Peter Fraser (Yangarra Estate Vineyard) has also been nominated for 2018 International Winemaker of the Year.

Pete is the only Australian nominee amongst a very impressive calibre of international winemaking colleagues.

With a print readership of 940,000 per annum, 2.1 million page views per month and a combined social following of more than 600,000 – Wine Enthusiast’s nomination of our region and Peter Fraser will continue to build McLaren Vale’s international recognition as a truly global and exciting wine tourism region in one of our key international markets for wine exports and visitation.

Please click here for full Nominee details. Winners will be announced on Thursday, November 8, 2018 and Wine Star Award trophies will be presented and celebrated at Wine Enthusiast’s black-tie gala on Monday, January 28, 2019 at Nobu Eden Roc in Miami, Florida, USA.

Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, Marketing and Communications Manager, MVGWTA
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:

20 August 2018

The James Halliday Grenache Challenge (JHGC) returns for its second running following the success of the inaugural wine competition first hosted by McLaren Vale in 2017.

Coordinated in conjunction with the 2018 McLaren Vale Wine Show, Grenache samples are sought from producers Australia-wide with entries officially opening Monday, August 20 and closing on Friday, September 14.

Judging will take place on Sunday, October 14 and the official trophy winner will be announced via video release on Friday, November 2.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch recognises great synergy in continuing the event following it's inaugural unveiling in 2017.

“As the home of some of the oldest bush vine Grenache in Australia, McLaren Vale produces some of the world’s best Grenache wines so it is entirely fitting for our region to host the Challenge and to continue to foster national and international recognition of this deserving varietal,” said Ms Lynch.

2018 McLaren Vale Wine Show Chair, Liam Van Pelt is eager to see the continued progression of diverse Grenache winemaking styles from all over Australia.

“The James Halliday Grenache Challenge gathers varietal Grenache wines from around Australia for a competitive tasting to celebrate the variety and provides an honest gauge of Australia’s winemaking form, catching the styles and movements developing across our landscape,” said Mr Van Pelt.

“On the back of the 2017 event, we can now taste, compare and discuss the continued evolution of one of our most underestimated varietals.”

James Halliday has long-praised Australian Grenache and the recently released 2019 Halliday Wine Companion is no exception.

“I am hugely excited by the changing approach to Grenache, particularly by appropriate vineyard management and a clear vision of the winemaking style,” Halliday Wine Companion, 2019.

For more information, entry terms and conditions and submissions, please visit here:

Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, Marketing and Communications Manager, MVGWTA
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:

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