When the seven members of the Halliday wine companion the tasting team recently met, together they judged the wines that each panelist had put forward as the best of the best from their respective regions. In doing so, a new collaborative system was introduced to determine the varietal category winners. Long discussions – and debates – over three days of tastings also formed the basis for determining the major winners.
As a result, the fast approaching Halliday Wine Companion Awards 2022, to be held on Thursday, August 12, will launch several new awards. This year there will be a sparkling wine of the year, a white wine of the year and a red wine of the year, these wines competing to determine the overall wine of the year.
A seventh major award category has also been introduced with Winemaker of the year recognize the considerable work in the vineyards. In addition, the Public Prize just launched, with all wine lovers invited to vote for their favorite wine experience to win this inaugural title.
This week the shortlists for six of the main Halliday Awards have been revealed, with the top contenders representing some of the country’s top producers. This is the first time the finalists have been announced as part of the awards, providing the opportunity to celebrate so many worthy Australian wineries and the members of their teams.
Halliday wine companion editor-in-chief Tyson Stelzer is excited about new developments, including the fact Companion 2022, released on August 13, introduced a record number of new wineries this year – over 100 operations submitted wines for the first time.
Part of the Halliday team in action while judging the best wines together earlier this year.
Tyson became editor-in-chief last September when James Halliday took on a move back of some of his broad responsibilities within the Companion. At this point, the tasting team has grown to seven panelists, with each member tasked for the first time with specific wineries. In doing so, the tasting team became true regional specialists, which helped the Companion grow with new and diverse wineries involved.
This new regional approach makes a lot of sense, according to James Halliday, who now holds the title of Taster at Large. As for his take on the current state of the industry, James is extremely positive. “From a production standpoint, the condition of Australian wine has never been better. Smart harvesters – getting rid of leaves, stems and all debris – and optical scanners that examine every berry on sorting tables reduce costs, increase quality and avoid labor shortages, ”says -he.