Drinks news: November

By Nola James

8 Nov, 2023

Your monthly round-up of Australian drinks news.

Welcome our regular drinks news round up. This month, an international award for a Barossa favourite and a new small-batch ruby cabernet from Rutherglen. Plus, a top winery changes hands and Melbourne gets a new wine store.

Mayfield Estate

Tassie on top

Visitor numbers at Tasmania’s cellar doors are at an all-time high. The latest Tasmanian Tourism statistics show that more than 300,000 interstate and international visitors called into one of the island’s cellar doors in the year to June 2023. The news marked the release of Wine Tasmania’s 2024 Tasmanian Wine Trails, a free guide to the island’s best wine experiences. The guide is available online at and in print at cellar doors and visitor centres around the state. 

Inside With Gusto

Taste of Victoria

With Gusto, a Victoria-only wine bar and produce store, has opened at 27 Little Collins Street at the Sheraton Melbourne Hotel. The list features regional producers including Tar & Roses, Paringa and Dal Zotto. Buy a bottle to-go or pull up a chair for by-the-glass options. A short snack menu is mostly local – seems the allure of Spanish tinned fish is too hard for anyone to resist. A rotating roster of ‘Meet the winemaker’ events is also on the cards.

Alkina Wine Estate

Winning stays

Alkina Wine Estate’s luxury accommodation has been named world’s best. The Barossa winery took out a ’Best of Wine Tourism – Wine Tourism Accommodation’ regional and global accolade at the 2024 Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards, held in Lausanne, Switzerland in October. The Alkina Old Quarter Homestead and Cottage offer self-contained stays among the estate’s biodynamic vines.

Gemtree team

Gemtree wines sold

The Randall Wine Group, which owns Seppeltsfield in the Barossa and Penny’s Hill in McLaren Vale, has bought Gemtree Wines, also in McLaren Vale. Gemtree was established in 1998 by Mike and Melissa Brown, who will remain in their roles as winemaker and viticulturist, respectively. Gemtree’s vineyards have been certified organic since ’11 and are farmed biodynamically. The group intends to expand the label, drawing on certified organic-certified growers in McLaren Vale.

St Leonards Ruby with a picnic

Pilot project takes off

Rutherglen winery St Leonards Vineyard has released the second edition of its small-batch range Pilot Project, with skinsy marsanne/muscat blend Marsie back on the shelves. New for this year is the 2023 St Leonards Vineyard Pilot Project Ruby, a 100 per cent ruby cabernet designed to be drunk with a brisk chill. St Leonards Vineyard is run by four-generation vigneron siblings Nick, Eliza and Angela Brown. Both wines are sourced from estate-grown Wahgunyah fruit.

Image credit: Jesse Hunniford and Jasper Da Seymour.