Top 100 Wineries 2023

Campbell Mattinson on Top 100 Wineries 2023

By Campbell Mattinson

9 Oct, 2023

Chief editor Campbell Mattinson reveals the producers included in the inaugural Halliday Wine Companion Top 100 Wineries, and tells us how he selected the 100 wineries from around the country.

When my kids were young they’d often overhear me waxing lyrical about the delights of Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier, or Cullen Cabernet Merlot, or Henschke Mount Edelstone, among (many) other wines. It’s no surprise then that the names of these wineries sunk in, and that they remember them.

Exactly how they remember them though is interesting. My ‘kids’ are both now in their twenties. Whenever I place any of the wines from the Clonakilla, Cullen or Henschke ranges on the kitchen table at home, they notice them, and react positively. 

That is, they react to the winery name, and not just to the individual wine. The halo effect is therefore real. I talked of specific icon wines for years, and this has resulted in the general view, in my home, that all the wines by these producers are good.

Campbell MattinsonCampbell Mattinson.

In the case of the producers mentioned above, it’s not a bad assumption. Every wine produced by Clonakilla, Cullen or Henschke does tend to be good.

It’s also worth noting, before my argument here comes across as too insular, that the mantra often drummed into people as they begin to learn about the wines and geography of France’s Burgundy region, just by way of example, is: producer producer producer. 

Vineyards, varieties, vintages and sub-regions are critical, of course, but the producer – the decision makers in the process – are of great importance, and are often the deciding factor.

With this as a backdrop, we decided that there is real value in listing the best Australian producers of now. Arm yourself with these names and you can walk into any bottle shop in Australia, or peruse any Australian wine list, and be ripe to pick the eyes from it. These are the producers that, essentially, guarantee that you’ll drink well.

Henschke Hill of GraceHenschke's Hill of Grace vineyard.

Top 100 Wineries 2023 criteria

The first step I took in putting this Top 100 list together was to write down the names of all the producers who categorically had to be on it. I then counted these names up, and found that I’d listed 188 producers. Every one of these 188 producers, and probably more, deserved to make it onto this list, and so in the process of whittling it down a lot of darlings had to be sacrificed. It hurts me to say that a host of my favourite Australian wineries – and some of the wineries most represented in my personal cellar – do not appear here. There are scores of producers who can count themselves ultra-unlucky.

But that’s the thing: this list isn’t an historical classification.

The first selection criteria for this 2023 Top 100 Wineries list was that the winery had to have submitted wines to the Companion team in recent times. There are some wineries – Wendouree for example – who don’t submit to the Companion, and so they are not considered for inclusion. From there, the prime selection criteria was simple: quality, across the current range, had to be as close to guaranteed as possible. 

This list is about now, in the glass. High scoring wines in a producer’s current range are of absolute relevance here, but so too is consistency across the entire range. If the range of wines isn’t consistently good, or is patchy, then it has been downgraded in calculations. 

In short, this is a list of producers who know, in their heart and in their head, that consumers don’t owe them a living. This is a list of producers who are prepared to stake their reputation on every single wine they release.

Join us at the Top 100 Wineries tasting events in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne next month. Don't miss your chance to taste wines from some of the nation's best producers.

Event details


Wednesday November 15
Cloudland | 641 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley QLD
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Wednesday November 22
The Hammond Room, Kimpton Margot Sydney | 339 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW
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Wednesday November 29
Panama Dining Room | Level 2/231 Smith Street, Fitzroy VIC
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