Media Releases

26 November 2021


The national Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA) program results have been collated for the 2021 growing season with McLaren Vale continuing its trend in championing sustainable winegrowing practices.

SWA is Australia’s national program for grape growers and winemakers to demonstrate and continuously improve their sustainability in the vineyard and winery through the environmental, social and economic aspects of their businesses.

Building on McLaren Vale’s leadership in sustainability and performance, a further 20 producers completed Australian Wine Industry Standards of Sustainable Practices (AWISSP) certification training in 2021, meeting the requirements to undertake an independent audit for certification. In doing so, audited producers will access added benefits including independent verification, use of a certified trust mark and opportunities to participate in sustainability-related marketing activities.

In addition to an increase in certification training, the program attracted 15 new McLaren Vale members, bringing the tally to 134 total members across 127 vineyard sites across the region.

Wirra Wirra Vineyards Viticulturist, Anton Groffen credits the SWA program as a vehicle to provide sustainability assurance to customers.

“With sustainable production underpinning all our operations here at Wirra Wirra Vineyards, the SWA program helps us to capture and report on these operations while challenging us to improve further,” said Mr Groffen.

“Delivering the quality of fruit required for our wines is key, but SWA certification gives us further confidence in our environmental, economic and community credentials. With the certification trust-mark now available, we’re assuring sustainability across the business and can easily share these successes with our customer.”

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager Jennifer Lynch is pleased the Program continues to evolve and grow in significance.

 “Sustainability is not linear, nor is there an end-point – it is a continuous evolution towards improving economic, social, cultural and environmental harmony. As a region, we continue to work towards best practice and are committed to supporting our businesses to thrive sustainably, now and into the future," said Ms Lynch.

To read full results, please click here.


Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, MVGWTA Marketing Manager
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

05 November 2021

The fifth annual James Halliday Grenache Challenge (JHGC) gathered varietal grenache wines from around Australia for a competitive tasting to celebrate and elevate the variety. 

The Challenge invited producers from all Australian wine regions to participate, encouraging an honest gauge of Australia’s winemaking form and to catch the styles and movements developing across the landscape.

Barossa's Krondorf Wines has been named 2021 James Halliday Grenache Challenge winner for its 2020 Founders View Barossa Grenache.

2021 McLaren Vale Wine Show Chair of Judges, Tony Love was impressed with the diversity of grenache expression.

“The 2021 James Halliday Grenache Challenge was a showcase of one of the country's most loved wine varieties at the height of its powers," said Mr Love.  

"A highlight of the Challenge was to witness the diversity of Grenache expression, from juicy, lighter, easy drinking styles to bolder and more robust iterations. All variations are, of course, legitimate, while the finest of the entries created plenty of enthusiastic interest from all three panels of judges. 

"After a rigorous day of assessment, the winner emerged from the highest quality selection of finalists after displaying attractive varietal aromatic characters with a sense of power, yet elegantly controlled and balanced. A superb example of South Australian Grenache."

The Challenge received a record 146 Grenache entries across a diverse range of Australian winegrowing regions.

Renowned wine critic and writer, James Halliday AM highlights McLaren Vale and the Barossa as champion grenache producing regions.

"Grenache has come in from the cold in no uncertain fashion. One statistic speaks louder than words. In 2010 the average price per tonne was $575; this year (2021) it averaged $1256 per tonne. Its geographic spread has also increased, but two regions dominate: the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale in a multitude of styles. It’s also exciting to see 2021 wines starting to appear, with more to come," said Mr Halliday.

Full results here.

Media Enquiries:

McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

28 October 2021

McLaren Vale’s 2021 Best Wine of Show and prestigious ‘Bushing Monarch’ title was awarded this evening at a black tie trophy presentation dinner live streamed from Beresford House.

Dandelion Vineyards winemaker Elena Brooks and Zar Brooks were crowned the 2021 Bushing Monarchs for their 2020 Lion's Tooth McLaren Vale Shiraz Riesling.

From almost 800 exhibits, the 2020 Lion's Tooth McLaren Vale Shiraz Riesling was the highest scoring wine of the 2021 McLaren Vale Wine Show as judged by an impressive panel of South Australian judges including Kate Laurie (Deviation Road), Tim Dolan (Peter Lehmann Wines) and Natasha Mooney (The Wine Architect) and lead by esteemed wine writer Tony Love.

The winners were recognised in front of fellow winemaking peers and trophy winners, sponsors of the McLaren Vale Wine Show and invited guests. Chef Todd Steele curated a menu with a regional focus, which was complemented by the trophy winning wines of the Show. 

“It was a privilege to judge at the McLaren Vale Wine Show and witness the breadth of excellent wines representative of one of the most progressive regions in the country”, said Chair of Judges, Tony Love.

"It was most encouraging to see the first ever separate Fiano class trophy awarded, indicative of the region's celebration of the "new". Nero d'Avola also is standing up as a variety to further embrace. Grenache continues to grow in stature. And it's always a joy to see contemporary styles surfacing out of the more traditional Shiraz and Cabernet classes".

Mr Love noted the focus towards evolving wine varieties and styles suited to the district, from Grenache to other Mediterranean reds and whites, was exciting. Mr Love was also pleased the attention still given to traditional styles remained respectful and critical to the region's reputation and economic well-being.

"To see such diversity and quality across all four days of the show judging suggests McLaren Vale is in a very good place in its winemaking journey. I hope we have been able to bring to the forefront the best wines of the year for all to enjoy, knowing they have managed to impress all the judges and rise to the trophy podium on their individual merits".

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch is thrilled the Best Wine in Show celebrates the region's most notable variety and awards a female winemaker for a second year in a row.

"Shiraz is our region's most predominant grape variety and our region's most historical - more than fifty percent of McLaren Vale is planted with Shiraz, and our oldest producing vines are Shiraz which date back to 1887 - suffice to say, we have a long-term love affair and reputation for producing exceptional Shiraz wines, globally", said Ms Lynch.

"Congratulations to Dandelion Wines and winemaker Elena Brooks - in 2020, we celebrated Chalk Hill Wines and winemaker Renae Hirsch with her 2019 Alpha Crucis Old Vine Grenache - it is thrilling to witness the celebration of another of our region's phenomenal female winemaking talent as the Best of Show for a second year in a row." 

The celebrations continue on Friday 29 October at the Bushing Picnic, held on the concert lawns at Serafino Wines. Guests at the Picnic include the McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism community, sponsors and VIPs, the Bushing Monarchs and trophy winners from the McLaren Vale Wine Show.

Please click here to download the 2021 McLaren Vale Wine Show Results.

Media Enquiries:

McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

25 October 2021


McLaren Vale wineries Chalk Hill Wines and Gemtree Wines have been named winners in the 2022 Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism South Australian Awards.

Chalk Hill Wines was named as South Australia's winner in the Innovative Wine Tourism Practices category, whilst Gemtree Wines has been named as joint South Australian winners with Banrock Station in the Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices category. The winners were announced at the ‘Cheestfest – Gather and Graze’ event at Rymill Park on Friday 22 October.

The local winners stand alongside nominees from ten other Great Wine Capitals at the international awards which will be formally acknowledged at the Great Wine Capitals global Annual General Meeting next week on 28 October.

The Great Wine Capitals Best Of Wine Tourism Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in wine tourism throughout the eleven greatest wine regions in the world.

The 'Best Of' program provides an opportunity for wineries and other visitor-serving businesses in each region to gain exposure and recognition for their commitment to presenting leading wine tourism options while giving visitors a one-stop list of the best places to experience.

Gemtree Wines has established itself as the leader in sustainable wine tourism, having previously been announced as a local and global winner in this category in 2019.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch is thrilled two of the region's wineries have been recognised alongside a distinguishable line up of South Australian wine businesses.

"Congratulations to Chalk Hill Wines and Gemtree Wines - two deserving winners with exemplary wine tourism offerings and immersive visitor experiences," said Ms Lynch.

"It's great to note the high calibre of South Australian's wine businesses recognised - we wish our McLaren Vale finalists the very best of luck and are looking forward to the announcement of the International award winners on 28 October".

Media Enquiries:

McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

20 September 2021

Peter Kennedy, winemaker at Ekhidna Wines has been awarded the 2022 Wayne Thomas Scholarship.

Named after prominent McLaren Vale wine identity, the late Wayne Thomas, the annual scholarship recipient receives a fully funded place at the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course and the opportunity to judge as an Associate Judge at the McLaren Vale Wine Show – one of Australia’s most significant wine shows.

An experienced winemaker, Peter has completed 19 vintages in McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and St Emilion. He has been a Panel Judge with Winestate Magazine since 2016 and in 2020 completed his WSET Level 3 with a Distinction. Keen to hone his tasting skills further, he was inspired to apply for the Wayne Thomas Scholarship to advance his learning. 

“I had the pleasure of knowing Wayne Thomas”, said Mr Kennedy. “He was such a character with a heart of gold and a passion for the McLaren Vale Wine Industry, and I am so proud to receive this scholarship in his memory.”

In completing the AWAC course, Peter will experience different wine styles from around the world and develop his sensory vocabulary and palate calibration alongside esteemed industry peers during the intensive four-day workshop.

These newly acquired skills will be put into practice in October 2022 when Peter will be an associate judge in the McLaren Vale Wine Show.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch, reaffirms the region’s reputation as a home of talented and passionate wine industry ambassadors.

“The scholarship enables recipients to advance their judging profile whilst also developing knowledge and experience to benefit our region and industry,” said Ms Lynch.

“Peter’s commitment and dedication to our region goes above and beyond his winemaking role at Ekhidna and he is a very worthy recipient.”

The Wayne Thomas Scholarship is funded by proceeds raised through the annual McLaren Vale Wine Show.

Media Enquiries:

McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

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