The 2025 Shortlist

Dark Horse Winery: The Finalists

By Halliday Wine Companion

Meet the 2025 Dark Horse Winery finalists.

Brought to you by The Wine Collective logo

The Dark Horse Winery shortlist celebrates producers who have ascended to 5-star winery status for the first time. It’s an exciting moment for them, and for all of us. We present the 2025 Dark Horse Winery Shortlist – meet our finalists below.

Matthew Eades of Amour Wines

Amour Wines

Where: Orange, New South Wales
Established: 2014
Winemaker: Matt Eades
Viticulturist: Matt Eades
Why: "Amour was a stand-out producer this year and thoroughly deserves its 5-star status."

Steve Mobbs and Nadja Wallington of ChaLou

ChaLou Wines

Where: Orange, New South Wales
Established: 2021
Winemakers: Nadja Wallington and Steve Mobbs
Viticulturist: Steve Mobbs
Why: "If you’re going to step up to the hallowed status as a 5-star winery then why not do it in the finest of style."

Paul Wilson and Heather Budich of Samson Tall

Samson Tall

Where: McLaren Vale, South Australia
Established: 2018
Winemakers: Paul Wilson and Heather Budich
Why: "This here is the holy grail."

See Saw Wines

See Saw

Where: Orange, New South Wales
Established: 1995
Winemaker: Monica Gray
Viticulturist: Brendan Jarrett
Why: "There’s always so much of interest in the See Saw range of wines. The wines are champions of the Orange region, are cool climate in style... Shiraz and pinot noir lead this winery’s 5-star charge."

Ryan Horaczko of Solum

Solum Wines

Where: Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Established: 2019
Winemaker: Ryan Horaczko
Viticulturist: Ryan Horaczko
Why: " would be fair to say that this is a rising star of the Mornington Peninsula."

Tom Keelan of The Pawn Wine Co.

The Pawn Wine Co.

Where: South Australia
Established: 2002
Winemaker: Tom Keelan
Viticulturist: Tom Keelan
Why: "The Pawn Wine Co. produces a lot of good wine... The wines are always reliably good, sometimes better than that, increasingly better than that again."

2025 People's Choice Award

Voting is now open for the 2025 Halliday People's Choice Award. While the Awards celebrates the best of the best in Australian wine, the People's Choice Award honours the best winery experience from around the country. Cast your vote and go into the running to win the ultimate prize pack valued at over $1900. Vote now.

2025 Taste the Awards events

Tickets are now on sale for the 2025 Taste the Awards events. Meet some of the winning winemakers and be the first to taste the top wines of the year. Taste the Awards 2025 is an exclusive showcase of award-winning wines and wineries from the 2025 Halliday Wine Companion Awards. Secure your tickets below.

Taste the Awards: Melbourne
Thursday August 8, 2024
Sophia, Prahran
Book here

Taste the Awards: Brisbane
Thursday August 15, 2024
Blackbird, Brisbane City
Book here

The winner of each category will be announced at the 2025 Halliday Wine Companion Awards on Wednesday August 7, 2024.

The 2025 Halliday Wine Companion is available from August 8. You can pre-order your copy of Australia's most comprehensive wine guide here


*This is an edited extract from the 2025 Halliday Wine Companion, with reviews by James Halliday, Campbell Mattinson, Dave Brookes, Jane Faulkner, Jeni Port, Marcus Ellis, Mike Bennie, Philip Rich, Shanteh Wale and Toni Paterson MW. Cover art by Vera Babida.

Quotes by Campbell Mattinson.