'Hack the Future of Shiraz' winners announced

By Nola James

7 Feb, 2024

Five Australian winemakers will receive a tonne of shiraz fruit from Inkwell’s regenerative vines.

Dudley Brown and Dr Irina Santiago-Brown of Inkwell have announced the inaugural inductees of their ‘Hack the Future of Shiraz’ project, a new initiative that aims to regenerate the reputation of shiraz in Australia by enlisting emerging winemaking talent.

Jemma and Steve Fielke (J&S Fielke, Adelaide Hills), Erin Pooley (Little Frances, Beechworth), Michelle Li (MSL, Clare Valley), Nick Dugmore (Stoke Wines, Kangaroo Island), and Darcy Chiswell and Loc Ziesing (TroubleChild, Adelaide Hills) will soon head over to McLaren Vale to claim one tonne each of Inkwell’s ROC-certified shiraz.

The project came about after Inkwell was awarded Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) designation, the first in Australia and one of 20 vineyards recognised globally, in January.

InkwellInkwell in McLaren Vale has announced the winners of its inaugural ‘Hack the Future of Shiraz’ project.

The winning winemakers will work a diverse group of judges led by wine writer Mike Bennie, a member of the Halliday Tasting Team. Mike will be joined by Australian wine writers Marcus Ellis (Halliday Wine Companion), Erin Larkin (Wine Advocate) and Kasia Sobiesiak (The WineFront). Tamlyn Currin (Jancis Robinson) will chime in from London, along with New York-based judges Christina Pickard (Wine Enthusiast) and Jeffrey Porter. Finally, Inkwell has enlisted Shanghai-based wine educator Fongyee Walker MW. 

The winners were selected from around 20 promising entries, Dudley says. The open-source project will begin with the 2024 vintage with bottling and packaging to be complete by the end of the calendar year. Participating winemakers will receive individual feedback from judges on their wines, which will be sold in mixed six packs.

“We had an incredible response from applicants with different winemaking backgrounds,” Mike Bennie says. “We chose strikingly diverse people, stories, stylistic experiences and regions to make up our inaugural class. We would encourage all who applied this year to apply again next year.” 

Inkwell plans to run the initiative for vintages 2024, 2025 and 2026, with winemakers splitting the profits from their endeavours. “Our goal is to lift up the future of shiraz and regenerative wine farming together,” Irina says.

Image credit: Wine Australia.