The roof of Henschke was lucky to survive last Wednesday night as the Keyneton winery was announced as the 2021 Winery of the Year in the prestigious Halliday Wine Companion Awards.
Prue and Stephen Henschke invited their staff for a dinner to watch the presentation, streamed online for the first time to combat coronavirus restrictions, and according to Prue, response to the announcement was thunderous.
“The roof just about lifted off!” Prue laughed.
“We’re really thrilled, because it’s been such an awful year, climate-wise and then the loss of one of our vineyards (in the Cudlee Creek fire).
“Being recognised as Winery of the Year has topped it. It’s a big deal!”
Another Barossan to win a major award was Brett Grocke of Eperosa in Tanunda, being named as Winemaker of the Year.
“I’m very excited. It’s a little bit surreal and also incredibly humbling,” said Brett, a trained viticulturist who put his win down to the synergy his label carries from vine to wine.
“You can’t make great wine without fantastic fruit basically. It’s from the soil up; healthy soil, healthy vines, healthy fruit, great wine.”
Among the 2021 varietal winners was Eden Valley’s 2018 Brothers at War Single Vineyard Grenache, which scored 99 points in the Grenache and Blends category.
The 1920 Seppeltsfield 100-year-old Para Liqueur secured Seppeltsfield’s 14th year in a row of earning top honour in the Fortified category with 100 points.
Brothers at War winemaker, Angus Wardlaw and senior winemaker at Seppeltsfield, Fiona Donald both expressed their delight in the wins, a particularly exciting moment for Angus, receiving a Halliday gong for the first time.
With two out of the six major awards and two from the 16 varietal winners hailing from the region this year, the Barossa was well represented, particularly during a year that recorded yields down by 60-70 percent.
“It validates our position in the market place and how we’re recognised worldwide,” said Prue of the Barossa’s success.
“It’s good to have our iconic James Halliday recognising us in such a way. It’s really strong.”