Barossa’s wineries were the big winners in the 2021 Halliday Wine Companion Awards, which were announced on Wednesday night in an online awards broadcast presented by former ABC broadcaster Jon Faine and James Halliday AM.

Henschke, one of Australia’s oldest family-owned wineries, was awarded the prestigious ‘Winery of the Year’ title for 2021.

“It’s a great honour be named Winery of the Year and we are overjoyed to share this award with our fantastic, loyal and hardworking staff. We celebrated 150 years of family winemaking in 2018 and we couldn’t be prouder to receive this accolade, in a year that our oldest Hill of Grace vines, the ‘Grandfathers’, turn 160 years of age. As we reflect on our own journey as Henschke custodians, we pay tribute to the trailblazers who laid the foundations for our Henschke story,” said Stephen Henschke.

A second of the six major awards went to a Barossa winery, with Brett Grocke of Eperosa Wines named 2021 Halliday Wine Companion ‘Winemaker of the Year’.

“Of the 56 wines (Brett) has made since 2005, 33 have received 95 or more points. He is a fiercely committed and proud sixth-generation Barossa vigneron/winemaker” said James Halliday AM.

In the varietal awards, Brothers at War’s Single Vineyard Eden Valley Shiraz 2018 won ‘Best Shiraz and/or Grenache’, with 99 points and Seppeltsfield’s 1920 100-year-old Para Vintage Tawny was awarded ‘Best Fortified’ , scoring an unbeatable 100 points for the fourth year running.

The celebrations continued with the release of the 2021 edition of the Halliday Wine Companion book on Thursday. 3 Barossa wineries were named in the Top 10 lists; Max & Me Wines – Top 10 Best New Wineries, Pindarie – 10 Dark Horses and Head Wines – Top 10 Best Value Wineries.

Barossa’s success was further reflected in the star ratings. 83 wineries received the ‘5 star winery’ rating, including 51 with the coveted ‘5 red stars’ which denotes the winery to be an “outstanding winery regularly producing wines of exemplary quality and typicity.” This number, an increase of 9 from the 2020 edition, represents the largest number of 5 stars awarded in any Australian wine region.

Shiraz was unsurprisingly a standout in the variety awards, with 50 of the 116 top-rated Shiraz produced by Barossa wineries.

The Halliday Wine Companion Awards was broadcast online for the first time this year, showcasing the resilience and strength of Australia’s wine community in a year plagued with fire, drought and virus.

“The accessible move online, made to combat restrictions within the current climate, proved highly successful, with wine-loving viewers from across Australia and the globe tuning in to learn the deserving winemakers, wineries and wines honoured as the 2021 award recipients,” said the Halliday Wine Companion’s publisher, Hardie Grant.