The 2024 Shortlist

Best New Winery: The Finalists

By Halliday Wine Companion

Meet the 2024 Best New Winery finalists.

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We present to you the 2024 Shortlist for Best New Winery. This category celebrates the finest wineries submitting to the Companion for the first time. With more than 50 new wineries this year, this award recognises the best of the wineries that are new to the Halliday Wine Companion. Meet our finalists below.

Entropy Wines wine bottle being carried

Entropy Wines, Gippsland

Entropy's (high-density) vineyard is located at Leongatha in the Gippsland region of Victoria. Ryan Ponsford, the man behind the label, is characterised by deep thought, hard work and an artistic flair; it’s little wonder that he’s turning out outstanding pinot noir and syrah, among other varieties.

Lisa and Justin Jenkins with their dog

Fleet Wines, Gippsland

Fleet Wines is the work of noted wine professionals Lisa and Justin Jenkins, and although being a comparatively small outfit, they somehow managed to produce 12 wines this year. The wines come from established vineyards in the Yarra Valley, Gippsland and Mornington Peninsula regions, though Fleet has also put down its own roots at Leongatha (Gippsland). The world is at this producer’s feet.

A bottle of Gaffy & Neal wine

Gaffy & Neal, Mornington Peninsula

Darrin Gaffy is the name behind the excellent Principia Wines; Doug Neal has had a varied career in wine, including a side gig selling Sirugue barrels. Gaffy has been buying them for 20 years and, in-between oak conversations, Neal would say ‘we should make a chardonnay’. Gaffy & Neal. There’s a ring to it. The project began with the ’21 vintage when they sourced fruit from around Merricks. Only two chardonnays are made. Both have strong personalities – Gaffy prefers a richer, riper style, Neal a flavoursome yet acid-driven chardonnay.

Gareth from Gentle Folk in the vineyard

Gentle Folk, Adelaide Hills

Gentle Folk wines are interesting, individual, lovingly crafted and just plain delicious. This Adelaide Hills producer is the work of Gareth and Rainbo Belton, both of whom are marine scientists, specialising in marine plants (seaweeds). The wines here are deep-down good.

Joshua Cooper in the vineyard

Joshua Cooper Wines, Victoria

Such is the incredible quality and consistency of Joshua Cooper's wines. Josh Cooper, who makes wines mostly out of central Victoria up to Macedon, grew up at the noted Cobaw Ridge winery (he’s the son of Alan and Nellie Cooper) and it’s fair to say that his knowledge and respect for what makes quality wine runs deep. There’s an authenticity to his wines, a command, and a life.

MMAD vineyard

MMAD, McLaren Vale

Two masters of wine and two of the most highly regarded winemakers: that’s the team behind MMAD. The names respectively are no less than Martin Shaw, Michael Hill Smith, Adam Wadewitz and David LeMire. There are three wines in the range – shiraz, grenache and chenin blanc – all from Blewitt Springs in McLaren Vale.

Dave Powell in the vineyard with his dog

Neldner Road, Barossa Valley

This is the new name of famed Barossa winemaker Dave Powell, formerly of Powell & Son and, before that, of Torbreck. All of the wines, which showcase the best of both the Barossa and the Eden valleys, are nothing if not powerful, but even so there are signs of restraint at every turn, not to mention nuance.

Peter and Sam in the winery

Nightfall Wines, Coonawarra

New names out of Coonawarra are relatively uncommon and they are especially so at this quality level. The Nightfall wines – made with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot – are from an established single vineyard and are the creation of Sam Brand, who (as you can tell by his surname) has a long winemaking history behind him (four generations, stretching back to 1852).

Terrason grapes

Terrason Wines, Victoria

The brainchild of Marc Lunt and Leanne Westell, Terrason has a knack for sourcing excellent-quality grapes from both the King and Yarra valleys and then, with minimal intervention between times, turning out characterful wines of real interest. 

Karin Adcock from Winmark Wines in the vineyard

Winmark Wines, Hunter Valley

Karin Adcock isn’t the winemaker but she’s the driver behind this outstanding new estate in the Hunter Valley. By new we mean both rejuvenated – the estate was formerly known as Poole’s Rock – and new to this guide, though we hope to follow every step from here. All four wines submitted this year were chardonnay.

*This is an edited extract from the 2024 Halliday Wine Companion, with reviews by James Halliday, Campbell Mattinson, Dave Brookes, Jane Faulkner, Jeni Port, Mike Bennie, Ned Goodwin MW, Philip Rich and Shanteh Wale. Cover art by Ka Mo.

The winner of each category will be announced at the 2024 Halliday Wine Companion Awards on Wednesday August 2, 2023.

The 2024 Halliday Wine Companion is available from August 3. You can pre-order your copy of Australia's most comprehensive wine guide here


Words by Campbell Mattinson