Jim Barry Wines was named Winery of the Year at the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards held last night at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Established by Jim Barry in 1959, the Clare Valley winery has become synonymous with crafting quality Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon while also pioneering the variety Assyrtiko outside of Greece.
James Halliday said, “This year, Jim Barry’s performance at the Clare Valley Wine Show was six gold medals for Riesling and that has never happened before, and it probably won’t happen again.
“They are really, really good communicators and they focus on what the Clare Valley does best – Riesling.”
Second-generation winemaker Peter Barry, who oversees day-to-day operations alongside sons Sam and Tom said, “The entire industry watches in anticipation for the announcement of these awards. James Halliday is the king of the Australian wine industry, and I feel that we have just received a knighthood.
“The Halliday award is a tremendous accolade representing our commitment to owning our own vineyards, wine quality and the Clare Valley. This win is the realisation of the dreams we have and what dad set out to achieve from the beginning.
“I feel euphoric – this recognition encompasses all of my father and family’s hard work, commitment and vision. He was my hero and mentor, and he would be so proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Jim Barry was the first qualified winemaker to work in the Clare Valley, graduating from Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1947 as just the 17th oenologist from the newly-established course.
The accolade comes as Jim Barry is preparing to celebrate its 60th birthday this month, which will see the release of a commemorative book detailing the family’s six decades of winemaking.
“As a young person, we all dream about the future. My family’s dream over three generations has always been to make wine that was respected by our peers. We have won many trophies and gold medals over the years, but this is our greatest award to date,” said Peter.
Sales manager Sam Barry said, “The trade has been so supportive and good to us, and we believe that this award will only give them more confidence in us and our wines. They are a big part of this award.
“Grandpa and Grandma’s vision was always to own our vineyards and to give ourselves the best chance of making the best wine possible. Sixty years later and this is still our philosophy. It is something that my brother and I will pass onto the next generation.”
Winery of the year – Jim Barry Wines, Clare Valley.
Winemaker of the year – Vanya Cullen, Cullen Wines, Margaret River.
Wine of the year – 2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands McLaren Vale Grenache.
Best New Winery – Shy Susan Wines, Tasmania.
Dark Horse of the Year – Dal Zotto Wines, King Valley.
Best Value Winery of the Year – Domaine Naturaliste, Margaret River.
Sparkling – 2004 House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged – 99 points.
Riesling – 2006 Crawford River Reserve Riesling – 98 points.
Semillon – 2013 Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon – 97 points.
Sauvignon Blanc – 2017 Flowstone Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc – 96 points.
Chardonnay – 2017 Moss Wood Wilyabrup Chardonnay – 99 points.
Semillon Sauvignon Blends – 2016 Stella Bella Suckfizzle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – 97 points.
Pinot Noir – 2017 Mount Mary Yarra Valley Pinot Noir – 99 points.
Shiraz – 2017 John Duval Entity Shiraz – 99 points.
Shiraz and or Grenache – 2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands Grenache – 99 points.
Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016 Deep Woods Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – 99 points.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Family – 2017 Cullen Diana Madeline – 98 points.
Fortified – 1919 Seppeltsfield 100 Year Old Para Liqueur – 100 points.
The Halliday Wine Companion ($39.95) goes on sale today.
James Halliday said, “I am really proud of this edition, with the Australian wine industry once again producing some outstanding wines. The awards show the extraordinary diversity of the Australian wine scene from north to south, east to west with winners from right across the country.”
More than 9,048 wines were tasted for this edition, which features full tasting notes for 3,943 wines, as well as ratings, drink-to-dates and prices for a further 3,268 wines from 1,234 wineries (including 64 new operations).
The tasting panel is made up of James Halliday, Ned Goodwin, Jane Faulkner, Campbell Mattinson, Steven Creber, Tyson Stelzer, Jeni Port and David Bicknell.
• See our Friday e-bulletin The Week That Was for full coverage of the 2020 James Halliday Wine Companion.