February 26, 2024

Hacking the Future of Shiraz: Winners announced!

Earlier in the month (Feb 06) Inkwell Wines owners Dudley Brown and Irina Santiago-Brown along with convenor of judges, Mike Bennie, we very pleased to announce the inaugural winners of the very special offer for one tonne of (free) Inkwell Regenerative Organic Certified (TM) Shiraz.The project is an exciting, and proactive way for Dudley and Irina to support the future of shiraz in Australia, hence the project name β€œHack the Future of Shiraz”. The project came about after Inkwell was awarded Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) designation, the first in Australia and one of 20 vineyards recognised globally, in January (2024).

The final decision was a tough one…Mike Bennie commented β€œWe had an incredible response from applicants with different winemaking backgrounds. We chose strikingly diverse people, stories, stylistic experiences and regions to make up our inaugural class. We would encourage all who applied this year to apply again next year.”

So who got to decide the winners in this first year of the prize? A diverse, and worldwide tasting panel of distinguished wine writers and judges from Australia, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Meet the 2024 inaugural judges:

Mike Bennie – Convenor of Judges – Sydney Australia – The WineFront, delicious magazine, Halliday Wine Companion
Tamlyn Currin – Wine writer – London England – Jancis Robinson.com
Marcus Ellis – Wine writer – Melbourne Australia – Halliday Wine Companion
Erin Larkin – Wine writer – Perth Australia – The Wine Advocate
Christina Pickard – Wine writer – New York USA – Wine Enthusiast
Jeffrey Porter – Wine writer – New York USA – Wine Enthusiast
Kasia Sobiesiak – Wine writer – Sydney Australia – The WineFront
Fongyee Walker MW – Wine Educator – Shanghai China

And, to the lucky winners of one tonne shiraz (each) from Dudley and Irina’s Mclaren Vale vineyard are:

J&S Fielke – Jemma and Steve Fielke – Adelaide Hills
Little Frances – Erin Pooley – Beechworth
MSL – Michelle Li – Clare Valley
Stoke Wines– Nick Dugmore – Kangaroo Island
TroubleChild – Darcy Chiswell and Loc Ziesing – Adelaide Hills

An incredible opportunity, and a very exciting adventure for our very own Erin Pooley, Little Frances. All of the winners are working with the Inkwell Wines team to manage the picking day/s. All planning when to pick their parcel (one tonne) of fruit at the opportune time.Β  Very lucky, and incredibly grateful for the opportunity, the winners are all quite local (South Australian based) except for Erin, who lives here in Beechworth.Β  Very grateful for the shiraz, there is still a rather large drive for Erin to collect her winnings “…there is nothing free about driving 1,750+ kms to collect fruit!”

The Hacking the Future of Shiraz project is designed to identify emerging talent in the Australian wine industry who will craft unique Shiraz wines in non-traditional styles, attractive to younger consumers and non-consumers of Shiraz. The open-source project has begun with the 2024 vintage, with bottling and packaging to be completed by the end of the calendar year. Each winemaker will submit and document all techniques, and additions (if any) used. The tasting panel will assess and write about each wine (from each winner) on the basis of creativity, accessibility and drinkability in early 2025 prior to the 2025 vintage.

Erin is currently on-route back from McLaren Vale with her one tonne shiraz. “A massive THANKYOU to the guys at Ricca Terra, who assist me with some bins for the trip – couldn’t have done it without you!” Also adding “I can not wait to get this back to the winery, and see how it transforms in the next few weeks.” With an incredibly good growing season for the ‘Vale, Erin was instantly impressed by the quality of fruit, and took no time to make the trek across the country once the baume was sitting where she wanted.

More to come, watch this space!

Image credit (featured): Courtesy of Inkwell Wines’ Dudley Brown and Irina Santiago-Brown.