Australia takes second place at International Wine Challenge 2019

Who says Australia is some far off land of new-world cheap and cheerful wines?!?! This week we proved beyond any measure of doubt that our wines are among the best in world because at the International Wine Challenge, widely regarded as the world’s most rigorously judged wine competition, Australia came SECOND overall. Beaten only by France (who came first.)

Demonstrating Australia’s strength in both white and red wines, the country as a whole won 35 Gold Medals for its white wines and 32 for its reds. And clearly we played to our strengths because twenty of the reds went to Shiraz and 19 of the white Gold Medals went to Chardonnay.

Australia’s impressive total put it in second place in the table, behind the competition’s top country, France.

South Australia gained nearly half of Australia’s Gold tally – 33 – as well as 202 Silver medals and 238 Bronze medals.

Within the South Australia region, it was the cooler Adelaide Hills that shone, taking ten Gold medals, with Chardonnay and Riesling dominating the white grapes, and Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz for red.

Bird in Hand was the region’s top producer, gaining four Gold medals – two from Adelaide Hills and two from Mount Lofty, including the Syrah 2017 which scored 96/100 points. The other 96-point Shiraz in the competition was also from Adelaide Hills – Zonte’s Footstep’s Hills Are Alive 2017.

Adelaide Hills’ other Golds went to Penfolds, Longview Vineyard, Hahndorf Hill Winery, Australian Vintage, and Sidewood Estates.

The Chardonnays proved their worth by bringing home an impressive 97/100 for Penfolds Bin A Chardonnay 2017 and Australian Vintage’s McGuigan Shortlist Chardonnay 2015.

Eden Valley gained six Gold medals, going to Wolfblass, Avon Brae, Yalumba, Hill Smith Estate and McGuigan.

Clare Valley wineries were awarded seven Golds. Wakefield/Taylors Wines won four, with O’Leary Walker Wines, Jim Barry Wines and Kilikanoon Wines netting the others.

While famed for its Rieslings, the Clare Valley secured three Golds for Shiraz, and a Shiraz dominated blend took another.

Showing Australia’ strength in Shiraz, the purple grape also struck Gold in Coonawarra, typically renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon – as well as in McLaren Vale and the warmer temperate climate of the Barossa Valley.

Overall Regional Scorecard for GOLD: 

  • South Australia 33
  • New South Wales 9
  • Victoria 7
  • Western Australia 7
  • Tasmania 4
  • South Eastern Australia (blend of states) 1

Chardonnay is back, baby!

Some of Australia’s Gold-winning Chardonnays: 

  • Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2017 97/100
  • Hardys Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2016 96/100
  • Australian Vintage’s McGuigan Cellar Select Chardonnay 2017 96/100
  • Penfolds Bin A Chardonnay 2017 97/100
  • Flametree Wines’ S.R.S. Wallcliffe Chardonnay 2017 95/100

Oz Clarke, IWC co-chair, said: “This year, every time I got a Chardonnay flight to judge, my spirits soared. I have always loved Chardonnay and have been saddened by how its reputation has been buffeted and bruised by fashion and fad. Well, this year’s results show it is back in all its glory.”