The Halliday Wine Companion Awards

Best New Winery

By The Tasting Team
Brought to you by Pentridge Cellars logo

2023 Best New Winery

Living RootsAdelaide Hills, South Australia

The Best New Winery of the Year is the finest winery submitting to Halliday Wine Companion for the first time. The Companion welcomes more than 50 new wineries this year.

Our winner was confirmed by one 96-point score, two 95s, and all five of its remaining submissions between 91 and 94 points.

Sebastian and Colleen HardySebastian and Colleen Hardy produce wine in the Adelaide Hills and in the Finger Lakes regions.

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Living Roots is an urban winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York and a not-so-urban winery in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia.
As they themselves say 'Living Roots is an urban winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York and a not-so-urban winery in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia.' It was founded by husband-and-wife team Sebastian (an Adelaide, South Australia native and sixth-generation winemaker) and Colleen (a Rochester, New York native and marketer) Hardy. There’s more skin in the game than 400 dozen production of eight wines. The range of the Australian wines includes some very smart offerings, all scoring between 91 and 96 points this year, and all priced under $40. – James Halliday

Sebastian Hardy shovelling grapes.
Sebastian Hardy is a sixth generation winemaker.

Sebastian, or Seb, is a sixth-generation winemaker. His great-great-great-grandfather founded Hardy’s in 1853 (his dad is Geoff Hardy), so winemaking is in his blood. “I definitely grew up thinking winemaking was a good path for me, but I didn’t want to have my blinkers on. But after travelling a lot and doing vintages in different places [Australia, France, Italy, Austria, and now upstate New York], I loved the diversity in wine.”

Colleen is a New York native who was working in corporate marketing research and found herself looking for a break from cubicle life. 

“I loved wine as a consumer, and knowing that it was a pretty dynamic industry, I decided I wanted to work a harvest, dive right in, and really get my hands dirty.” It was too late to relocate from Chicago to join a harvest in the US, so, rather than wait another year, Colleen turned her attention to the southern hemisphere. After landing in McLaren Vale and working at Hardy’s, she met Seb and fell in love with the wine industry and Australia.

That was back in 2014. Two years later, they released their first wines under Living Roots. Now, the pair work transcontinental harvests, splitting their time between Australia and America. 

Tyson Stelzer on the 2023 Best New Winery

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Previous Best New Winery recipients include Rob Dolan Wines (2014), Flowstone (2015), Bicknell fc (2016), Bondar Wines (2017), Dappled (2018), Mewstone (2019), Shy Susan (2020), Varney Wines (2021) and Place of Changing Winds (2022). 

The 2023 Halliday Wine Companion is available now. Secure your copy of Australia's most comprehensive wine guide here – and at all good bookstores.

*This is an edited extract from the 2023 Halliday Wine Companion, with reviews by Dave Brookes, Jane Faulkner, Ned Goodwin MW, James Halliday, Erin Larkin, Jeni Port, Philip Rich and chief editor Tyson Stelzer.