Wineries to discover: March

29 Mar, 2023

This month we take you across the country to visit some of the very best wineries on offer. Including wineries from the Hunter Valley, Nagambie Lakes, Barossa Valley, Margaret River and more – collectively with a wide range of offerings – there's something here for everyone. 

New South Wales

Bimbadgen – Hunter Valley, NSW

Pictured 1/2

For over 50 years Bimbadgen’s flagship vineyards of McDonald’s Road and Palmers Lane have produced award winning old vine semillon, shiraz and chardonnay and, more recently, tempranillo. Current custodian of the vines and winemaking is Richard Done. Since assuming ownership in 1997, the Lee family has applied the same level of care and attention to cultivating Bimbadgen as they have to other properties in their portfolio. The small but impressive production is consumed largely by the owner’s luxury hotel assets, with limited quantities available in the Sydney market. Exports to Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. – James Halliday. 

4.5  winery | | Halliday profile

Pooles Rock – Hunter Valley, NSW

Pictured 2/2

Pooles Rock was founded, together with the Cockfighter’s Ghost brand, in 1988 by the late David Clarke OAM, and acquired by the Agnew family in 2011. Over time, the emphasis has become one of site-specific iterations across three tiers: Single Vineyard (proprietary Hunter fruit), Premiere (externally sourced fruit from as far afield as South Australia and Tasmania) and Museum Releases (aged wines, incorporating all sources). The style is one of optimal ripeness, plump palate weight and precise structural latticework. Exports to the US and Canada. Note that the most recent wines from Cockfighter’s Ghost can be found under a separate entry.

4.5  winery | | Halliday profile


Fowles Wine – Strathbogie Ranges, VIC

Pictured 1/4

Vigneron, hunter and farmer, Matt Fowles swapped the vitriol of the courtroom for the vineyards of the Strathbogie Ranges.  Matt leads a team of characters making wine with character. Varieties excelling in the ‘Bogies include riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz. Boundaries are being pushed with varieties like arneis, vermentino, gamay and mourvedre.  The best-known wine from Fowles is Ladies who Shoot their Lunch which you can taste paired with regional goodies at the restaurant and cellar door.

5 ★ winery | fowleswine.comHalliday profile

Pt. Leo Estate – Mornington Peninsula, VIC

Pictured 2/4

Their vines stretch up the crest of Pt. Leo Estate and curve down towards the expanse of Western Port Bay. They respond to the constant forces of nature, its sunshine, rain, sweeping winds and cooling ocean breezes. As they say, “Perhaps it is no surprise to us that each day is perfect and each wine has its place”. Their aromatic pinot gris speaks of the sun. Their elegant chardonnay has benefited from cool night-time breezes. Pinot noir and shiraz are perfect partners for a cool day overlooking the Bay.

 winery | | Halliday profile

Tahbilk – Nagambie Lakes, VIC

Pictured 3/4

Established in 1860, Tahbilk is the oldest family owned winery and vineyard in Victoria. Visiting Tahbilk Winery is like stepping into a hidden oasis where natural landscape blends to complement a rich winemaking legacy. Tahbilk has a rich source of old vineyards and iconic single vineyard wines, including Victoria’s oldest shiraz, planted in 1860, and Australian’s oldest marsanne, planted in 1927. Tahbilk was first accredited as a carbon-neutral winery in 2013. By 2022 Tahbilk halved its emissions and was capturing enough carbon through revegetation on the property to achieve the carbon-neutral status. Tahbilk is a founding member of Australia’s First Families of Wine and was Halliday Wine Companion’s Winery of the Year in 2016.

5  winery | | Halliday profile

Yarra Edge – Yarra Valley, VIC

Pictured 4/4

Yarra Edge was established by the Bingeman family in 1983, who were advised and guided by John Middleton (of Mount Mary). The advice was, of course, good and Yarra Edge has always been able to produce high-quality fruit if the vineyard was properly managed. Up to ’98 the wines were made onsite under the Yarra Edge label, but in that year the vineyard was leased by Yering Station, which used the grapes for their own wines. Subsequently the vineyard received minimal care until it was purchased by new owners in 2013, which set about restoring it to its full glory. This has been achieved with Lucas Hoorn (formerly of Hoddles Creek Estate and Levantine Hill) as full-time vineyard manager and Dylan McMahon as contract winemaker, the wines made at Seville Estate. The quality of the wines speaks for itself. – James Halliday. 

4 ★ winery | | Halliday profile

South Australia

Dandelion Vineyards – Various, SA

Pictured 1/8

Elena Brooks crafts full-bodied wines across South Australia’s premium regions: Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley and Fleurieu Peninsula. She endeavours to draw upon vineyards untempered by over-management, as much as she strives for a softer impact in the winery. As a result, Dandelion wines are increasingly bright, transparent and stamped by a more sensitive oak regime than in the past. Grenache, a strong suit. Exports to all major markets. – Ned Goodwin MW.

 winery | profile

Heirloom Vineyards – Various, SA

Pictured 2/8

Another venture for winemaker Elena Brooks and her husband Zar. They met during the 2000 vintage and one thing led to another, as they say. Dandelion Vineyards and Zonte’s Footstep came along first, and continue, but other partners are involved in those ventures. The lofty aims of Heirloom are ‘to preserve the best of tradition, the unique old vineyards of SA, and to champion the best clones of each variety, embracing organic and biodynamic farming’. The quality of the wines has been consistently very good. Exports to all major markets. – James Halliday.

 winery | | Halliday profile

John Duval Wines – Barossa Valley, SA

Pictured 3/8

John Duval is an internationally recognised winemaker, having been the custodian of Penfolds Grange during his role as chief red winemaker from 1986–2002. He established his eponymous brand in 2003 after almost 30 years with Penfolds and provides consultancy services to clients all over the world. While his main focus is on old-vine shiraz, he has extended his portfolio with other Rhône varieties. John was joined in the winery by son Tim in 2016. Wines can be tasted at Artisans of the Barossa. Exports to all major markets. – James Halliday. 

5 ★ winery | | Halliday profile

Mountadam Vineyards – Eden Valley, SA

Pictured 4/8

Established in 1972, Mountadam Vineyards was founded by the late David Wynn who was the first to recognise the potential of a cool, elevated site to produce Australian wines of great elegance and structure. David and Jenni Brown purchased the Mountadam property including the winery and 80 hectares of vineyards in 2005. In 2007, David and Jenni purchased Mountadam farm and in 2015 purchased the TWE High Eden vineyard, thus re-assembling the original Mountadam property of over 1,000 hectares. Mountadam wines are crafted entirely from the Estate’s vineyards and are released in three tiers - Five-Fifty, Eden Valley and High Eden. Exports to Canada, UK, Netherlands, and Hong Kong.

4 ★ winery | | Halliday profile 

Spinifex – Barossa Valley, SA

Pictured 5/8

Spinifex was started by Magali Gely and Peter Schell in 2001. Magali comes from a family that has been growing wine near Montpellier for over 10 generations, while Peter is a trained oenologist and has made wine in Burgundy, Switzerland, Provence, the Minervois, the Languedoc, Bordeaux and New Zealand. Peter and Magali’s combined backgrounds have led to the belief that the vineyard is paramount in the production of unique, ultra-premium wines. Spinifex wines are typically produced from very old, low yielding vineyards in the Barossa and Eden Valleys. Exports to the UK, Belgium, Sweden, US, Poland, Malaysia and New Zealand.

5  winery | profile

Utopos – Barossa Valley, SA

Pictured 6/8

Utopos is, by definition, Kym Teusner’s search for perfection - a Barossan Utopia if you will. Straddling the bounds of Marananga and Greenock, the Utopos Vineyard is one of the most elevated sites on the western aspect of the Valley. Perched at the northern tip of an ironstone ridge that defines the iconic wine style of this closely held Barossan sub-region, the lean and stony soils consistently produce low yields of intensely flavoured fruit that loudly proclaims its Barossan origin. The X-factor is the site-driven savoury nuance that Kym strives for. As he says, he won’t be content until “the seemingly unobtainable is obtained”. 

 winery | | Halliday profile

Vineyard Road – Langhorne Creek, SA

Pictured 7/9

As the timeless adage goes, great wine is made in the vineyard. No one understands this better than the team behind Vineyard Road, which was created in 2016 by Food And Beverage Australia Limited (FABAL), a company who have 30 plus years’ experience managing over 1700 hectares of vineyards across Australia and 25 commemorating exceptional vintages with special bottlings. Following decades of successfully growing grapes in some of Australia’s most premium cool climate wine regions, namely Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Langhorne Creek, the team at FABAL decided to select small parcels of fruit from some of their favourite vineyards to bottle themselves. With Cellar Doors in Langhorne Creek, Barossa Valley or Kent Town, its easy to experience wines crafted by grape growers across South Australia. profile

Zonte's Footstep – McLaren Vale, SA

Pictured 8/8

Zonte’s Footstep is an independent producer established in 2003 by a group of friends with a deep knowledge of every aspect of the wine business. While based in McLaren Flat, grapes are sourced from their own, as well as mates’ vineyards in McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and the Fleurieu. This sees an extraordinary varietal range of 26 different wines using all the classic northern European varieties, as well as a large range of Mediterranean varieties. The wines are well-balanced and food-friendly, while being nicely expressive of grape variety and place. Each Zonte’s Footstep wine has its own unique personality and a quirky name, reflecting a sense of fun that underlies everything they do.

4.5 ★ winery | profile

Western Australia

Cullen Wines – Wilyabrup, Margaret River, WA

Pictured 1/5

Winegrowing began on the Cullen property in Margaret River over 50 years ago. On the advice of eminent agronomist Dr John Gladstones, Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen planted a trial acre of vines at Wilyabrup in 1966. The encouraging results of this led to the planting of 18 acres of vines in 1971, including their first cabernet sauvignon vines. The Estate is certified Biodynamic, Carbon neutral since 2006 and naturally powered. Grapes are harvested by hand on fruit and flower days according to the astrological calendar. The wines have no additions of yeast, acidity or malolactic culture, and aim to express the place and land on which they are grown.

5  winery | | Halliday profile

Domaine Naturaliste – Margaret River, WA

Pictured 2/5

In the words of Erin Larkin, “Before I tell you that Bruce Dukes’ career has spanned over three decades and that he’s had years of experience both locally and abroad, it’s likely a good idea to start at the finish: Bruce Dukes is wholly talented, and while he makes high-quality acclaimed wines for his own estate – Domaine Naturaliste – he also does this for a raft of other, smaller producers in Margaret River and Geographe”. The Domaine Naturaliste wines can be found at Bruce’s own vineyard site in the heart of Wilyabrup, Margaret River. The cellar door offers a relaxing space to taste Bruce’s own range of wines, with a seated wine experience being the focus offering.

5  winery | | Halliday profile

Flowstone Wines – Margaret River, WA

Pictured 3/5

Veteran Margaret River winemaker Stuart Pym’s career constituted long-term successive roles: beginning with Voyager Estate in 1991, thereafter with Devil’s Lair, and finishing with Stella Bella in 2013, the year he and Perth-based wine tragic Phil Giglia established Flowstone Wines. In 2003 Stuart purchased a small property on the edge of the Margaret River Plateau in the beautiful Forest Grove area, progressively planting chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, gewürztraminer and touriga. From 2017, Flowstone leased a vineyard at Karridale, planted to long-established sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. The lease puts the vineyard on par with the estate plantings; the best fruit is retained, the balance sold. Thus Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc appeared for the first time in 2017. In 2021, Stuart’s long term partner Janice McDonald joined the Flowstone team, along with the two dogs.

5  winery | | Halliday profile

The Lake House Denmark – Denmark, WA

Pictured 4/5

Garry Capelli and Leanne Rogers purchased the property in 2005 and have restructured the vineyard to grow varieties suited to the climate – chardonnay, pinot noir, semillon and sauvignon blanc – incorporating biodynamic principles. They also manage a couple of small family-owned vineyards in Frankland River and Mount Barker with a similar ethos. The combined cellar door, restaurant and gourmet food emporium is a popular destination. – James Halliday. 

 winery | profile

Wills Domain – Margaret River, WA

Pictured 5/5

Wills Domain is an acclaimed winery, rated 5 red stars by Halliday Wine Companion, with an on-site multi-award-winning restaurant located in Yallingup, Margaret River. Wills Domain is operated by the Haunold family, whose love of hospitality and wine stretches back many generations. The family have honed and refined their craft over 23 years of operations to deliver on their promise of being the quintessential Margaret River epicurean experience. The site’s ancient Wilyabrup soils, sustainable approach, indulgent onsite restaurant and cellar door offering impressive views of the Gunyulgup Valley converge to provide visitors an unrivalled boutique experience. Bookings recommended.

 winery | profile

Tasmania and Other

AZ Master Wines – Various

Pictured 1/3

Awei Lin began sourcing wine in 2006, and exporting with Gapsted Wines in 2008. The growth of the business led him to join forces with Zhiming Yi in 2015. Derek Fitzgerald, Russell Burns and Richard Langford make the Barossa Valley wines (processed at Elderton, Cooper Burns and Lambert Estate). Oliver Crawford makes the cabernet sauvignon (a blend of Coonawarra and Limestone Coast grapes) and Peter Douglas makes the 100% Coonawarra wines at DiGiorgio, the barrels stored there and at Hollicks. Cellar doors are planned for all regions, the first in the Barossa Valley. Exports to China. | Halliday profile

Clover Hill – Northern Tasmania

Pictured 2/3

Clover Hill was established by Taltarni in 1986 with the sole purpose of making a premium sparkling wine. It has 23.9ha of vineyards (chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier) and its sparkling wine is excellent, combining finesse with power and length. The American owner and founder of Clos du Val (Napa Valley), Taltarni and Clover Hill has brought these businesses under the one management roof, the group known as Goelet Wine Estates. Exports to the UK, the US and other major markets.

4.5 ★ winery | | Halliday profile

Handpicked Wines – Various

Pictured 3/3

Handpicked® Wines is an independent Australian winery crafting top-quality wines that offer a true sense of place. The Mornington Peninsula is home to the winery and flagship vineyard Capella, but winemaking spreads to fully-owned estates in Tasmania, Yarra Valley, and Barossa. Pioneers in organic farming and sustainable grapegrowing, the Mornington and Tamar Valley sites are the first and only to hold both organic and sustainable certifications in the states of Victoria and Tasmania. Carrying a remarkable trophy and accolade tally, Handpicked® Wines has held a Halliday Wine Companion 5-Red-Star-Winery rating since 2014. Urban Cellar Doors in Sydney and Melbourne – bookings recommended, walk-ins welcome.

5 ★ winery | | Halliday profile