Bicknell crowned Winemaker of the Year

Dave Bicknell of Oakridge Estate (Photo: Huon Hooke)

David Bicknell has won the 20th Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine Winemaker of the Year. The chief winemaker and manager at Yarra Valley winery Oakridge, Bicknell has distinguished himself especially with chardonnay, but also with pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and other varieties. His exploration of individual vineyard sites in the Yarra is second to none, with the result that Oakridge fields a vast and ever-changing array of vineyard names, especially on chardonnays in its Local Vineyard Series and top-of-the-range 864 wines. Its AUD $23 Over The Shoulder wines are among the keenest value for money wines in the Yarra.

Bicknell is also a distinguished show judge and had a deep influence when he was chairman of the Royal Melbourne Wine Show.

Winner of the Viticulturist of the Year is Mark Walpole, of Fighting Gully Road, Beechworth, a champion of alternative grape varieties and stalwart of north-east Victoria winegrowing for many years, whose CV includes stints with Brown Brothers and a founding partner of Greenstone at Heathcote.

Winner of the Len Evans Award for leadership is Mark Lloyd, founder and CEO of Coriole in McLaren Vale.

Young Winemaker of the Year is Michael Downer, of Murdoch Hill in the Adelaide Hills.

The seven other Winemaker of the Year finalists were Mike Symons & Will Byron of Stonier; Peter Fraser of Yangarra Estate; Rebecca Willson of Bremerton; Phil Lehmann of WD Wines (maker of Hesketh, St John’s Road, Parker Coonawarra Estate and Vickery Wines); Kerri Thompson of Wines by KT in Clare; Taras Ochota of Ochota Barrels in Adelaide Hills; and Gavin Berry of West Cape Howe in Western Australia.

Congratulations to all and well deserved!

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