Follow your nose, and your tastebuds, down this award-winning wine trail

Australian wine lovers recently cast their votes for their favourite wineries and results make for a must-see, must-taste travel experience.

More than 5000 votes were counted across 700 wineries in the 2023 Halliday People’s Choice Award, with five of the top 10 hailing from South Australia.

Anna Webster, editor at Halliday, said the top 10 wineries not only made a good drop, but they went out of their way to offer an incredible experience for guests.

“This could be offering a unique tasting experience at their cellar door, having an award-winning restaurant onsite, beautiful views, perhaps an art gallery or space for the kids to play – whatever it is, there is something about these wineries, beyond their delicious wines of course, that draws guests back time after time,” she said.

“Producing excellent wines is just one part of their operation – they’re just as focused on making sure their guests have a memorable experience when they visit the winery.”

If you plan to visit these popular wineries, we’ve done the hard work for you by asking of the top 10 to nominate their favourite wine.

1. Pikes, Clare Valley, SA

This is the second year Pikes has made it to the top 10. The popular Clare Valley winery has just recently released its 2022 Luccio’ Sangiovese Rosé and it’s a total winner. It’s pressed off skins immediately to keep the colour light and then fermented in stainless steel to create a fresh, dry and crisp rose. Works very well with chargrilled octopus.

2. Audrey Wilkinson, Hunter Valley, NSW

If you can visit the Audrey Wilkinson winery, you’ll be treated to 360-degree views from the colonial-style cellar door, which is open 10am to 5pm daily. You really can’t go wrong with any of the semillons, especially when paired with some fresh oysters.

3. Elderton, Barossa Valley, SA

The Command Shiraz is sourced from a vineyard that dates back to 1894 and just as a fine wine should, it continues to improve with each year. Enjoyed at home, the team at Elderton suggest you match it with a Wagyu rump to really savour the flavours.

4. Two Hands Winery, Barossa Valley, SA

Bella’s Garden is the first wine Two Hands produced in 2000 and it is on the tasting menu at the cellar door every day for guests to try. The shiraz is blended from the best barrels of Barossa Valley Shiraz with a rich fruity flavour attributed to the red soils of the Barossa’s western ranges.

5. Bakkheia, Geographe, WA

Bakkeia is a hidden gem found in Geographe, a town near Busselton, south of Perth. Although the winery doesn’t have a cellar door or restaurant, the winemakers there can recommend the perfect pairing to cook at home.

Try their 2019 Groszman (Graciano) with a rare ribeye and vegies cooked over coals. The marbled meat melts into the mouth and is complemented by the tannin and acid structure of the Graciano.

Find the perfect drop and just add cheese and crackers.

6. Happs, Margaret River, WA

Happs visitors adore the Charles Andreas, which is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, merlot and petit verdot. Winemakers vary the blend each year with to produce the best wine possible from these varieties.

The Happs crew recommend pairing with a picnic hamper of goodies including the Margaret River Dairy Company Original Club Cheddar, Beef By the Reef Mixed Charcuterie and Crunch Preserves Spicy Tomato Relish.

7. Iron Pot Vineyard, Tamar Valley, TAS

The Iron Pot Vineyard in Tassie’s beautiful Tamar Valley has an extensive list of cool climate wines, but the most popular drop is the 2019 pinot meunier, also known as the Mani.

Pinot meunier is typically grown for sparkling wine, but the experts at Iron Pot have been using it to produce a still red since 2014.

8. Zonte’s Footsteps, McLaren Vale, SA

You can’t go past the Sunday Roast and Red, which feature the delishly named Chocolate Factory Shiraz or Love Symbol Grenache. Bring your appetite to contend with the generous plate of roasted meat and vegies complete with Yorkshire pudding, lashings of gravy and, of course, the red wines.

9. Chapel Hill, McLaren Vale, SA

This is the second consecutive year Chapel Hill has made it to the top 10, which is admirable as the award is only two years old.

The Icon Tasting at Chapel Hill, McLaren Vale.

The winemakers at Chapel Hill recommend you look no further than the Icon Tasting, which features four of their very best: ‘1948’ Old Vine Grenache, The House Block, The Road Block and The Vicar Shiraz. The Icon Tasting comes with a small platter of food that includes two cheeses (brique d’argental and parmigiano reggiano), a mushroom pate from Little Acre in Willunga, quince paste from Cheese Culture and Tucker’s crackers.

10. Stockman’s Ridge, Orange, NSW

There’s a good reason the 2016 Outlaw Chardonnay is the most popular wine at Stockman’s Ridge. It recently won best chardonnay award for the third time at the Cowra Wine Show, so it’s a big hit with the locals.

The 2016 Outlaw Chardonnay is a cool-climate chardonnay that tastes fresh and crisp with light oak elements. Pairs well the served cheeses, including a baked brie.

Topics: wine
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