Tasmanian Pinot Noir wins Jimmy Watson trophy

Tasmania’s Lowestoft Estate Wines has taken out the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for Best Young Red for its Lowestoft La Maison Pinot Noir 2022.

The 2023 trophy winner was announced at the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards at Melbourne Showgrounds.

The Melbourne Royal Wine Awards is one of Australia’s oldest and most respected wine shows. Established in 1884 with just 13 entries, the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards have evolved and grown to attract more than 2425 entries from more than 420 wineries across the nation.

This is the first time Lowestoft Estate, which is part of the Fogarty Wine Group, has won the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy and just the third time a Pinot Noir has claimed the prestigious trophy, following the Pinot Noir wins of Home Hill Winery in 2015 and Yabby Lake Winery in 2013.

For the third year in a row, Lowestoft La Maison Pinot Noir has also been awarded The James Halliday Trophy for Best Pinot Noir, this year with their 2022 vintage.

“It is a great honour for me and our winemaking and viticulture teams to be able to produce such amazing wines from the Lowestoft vineyard,” said Lowestoft Chief Winemaker Liam McElhinney.

“We are immensely proud that the consistency of style we are capturing in the La Maison is setting a new benchmark for Australian Pinot Noir. Our success is Tasmania’s success, and we hope wine consumers will continue to appreciate how fantastic Tasmanian Pinot Noir is.”

Melbourne Royal CEO Brad Jenkins said: “The Melbourne Royal Wine Awards is one of Australia’s oldest and most respected wine award programs, recognising and rewarding excellence in Australian winemaking.

“This year we celebrate the 60th awarding of the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy and we congratulate the team at Tasmania’s Lowestoft Estate on taking home the top prize in wine.

“We are grateful to all our entrants, judges, committee members and stewards for their tireless commitment to excellence and for making this year’s Melbourne Royal Wine Awards one of the most coveted in its history.”

The François De Castella Trophy for Best Young White went to Handpicked Wines for their 2022 Handpicked Wines Wombat Creek Vineyard Yarra Valley Chardonnay. The same wine has also been awarded Best Chardonnay and Best Victorian Chardonnay.

Handpicked Wines chief winemaker Peter Dillon said: “I’m overjoyed to be receiving this award – certainly not what I imagined when I woke up this morning! It’s the icing on top of the cake of a very exciting year for Handpicked Wines.

“Wombat Creek is an incredible site, located at the very top of the Yarra Valley. It’s a site we have a lot of heartfelt passion for, having been custodians of it since 2016. Since then, we’ve been laser-focused on organic farming and regenerative viticulture practices, which has set this site on a path towards being fully organic. It’s apparent these practices have raised the quality of fruit we can source from the site and, ultimately, the quality of wines we can produce.”

Among the other winners were McWilliams Wines Single Vineyard 2022 Shiraz, which won the Douglas Seabrook Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Wine and the Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz.

In their first win at the Awards, Tasmania’s Freycinet Vineyard was awarded the Dr Tony Jordan Trophy for Best Sparkling with their Freycinet Vineyard Radenti Vintage Cuvee, 2016 Chardonnay, Pinot Noir.

This year the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards presented a total of 1197 medals, including 180 Gold, 296 Silver and 721 Bronze. The awards were judged by 35 accomplished experts in wine, who tasted over 100 wines each per day, over the five days of judging.

Chair of Judges Melanie Chester said: “The 2023 Melbourne Royal Wine Award results demonstrate the strength and diversity our industry is producing.

“This year, judges from across the Australian industry gathered with the rather daunting task of tasting just over 2400 wines, and the delicious wines on the bench on trophy day were a testament to the talent and commitment of our viticulturalists and winemakers.”

To find out more about this year’s Melbourne Royal Wine Award winners head to

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