Last week, winemakers, wine lovers and industry experts came together to celebrate the annual Halliday Wine Companion Awards: an evening celebrating the country’s best varietal wines, as well as the country’s overarching best-produced wine for the year.

In other words, it’s the crème de la crème of wine awards, revered as the most anticipated – and important – event on the Australian drinks calendar.

The highly anticipated 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards, presented by liquor conglomerate Dan Murphy’s, was held at the National Gallery of Victoria where deserving winners were announced in front of the best the Australian wine industry has to offer, including Halliday Wine Companion’s James Halliday himself. Wine royalty, Halliday is an unmatched authority on every aspect of the Australian wine industry.

James Halliday

The tasting panel consisted of James Halliday along with Ned Goodwin, Jane Faulkner, Campbell Mattinson, Steven Creber, Tyson Stelzer, Jeni Port and David Bicknell, who tasted more than 9048 Australian wines over the past year. Coming to a decision on the winners of six major awards and twelve varietal winners was extremely considered and discussed.

Fortunately for the guests of the evening, 27 wines were up for taste paired meticulously with a curated five-course menu, with comedian and MC Merrick Watts hosting the night – and providing the jokes. All in all, the atmosphere was set for a fantastic evening of fine dining coupled with the country’s best wine varietals.

Halliday Wine Companion Awards

The awards also marked the release of Australia’s indispensable reference to the country’s leading wines and wine-growing regions, the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion book. Released nationally, this comprehensive, bible-like guide is the must-have resource for every wine lover, from novice to expert.

“I am really proud of this edition, with the Australian wine industry once again producing some outstanding wines,” says James Halliday.

“The Awards show the extraordinary diversity of the Australian wine scene from north to south, east to west with winners from right across the country. The winners of the major awards come from Clare Valley, Margaret River (2), McLaren Vale, Tasmania and the King Valley, and the varietal winners come from Tasmania, Henty, Hunter Valley, Margaret River (4), Yarra Valley, Barossa (2) and McLaren Vale. Here the 2017 vintage was a connecting link.”

The book features full tasting notes for 3943 wines, ratings, drink-to-dates and prices for a further 3268 wines from 1234 wineries (including 64 new operations), as well as an overview of the best of the best wines by variety, best wineries by region, varietal wine styles and regions, and a guide to food and wine pairing.

Varietal Winners

These were the winners of the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards…


  • Sparkling – 2004 House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged – 99 points
  • Riesling – 2006 Crawford River Reserve Riesling – 98 points
  • Semillon – 2013 Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon – 97 points
  • Sauvignon Blanc – 2017 Flowstone Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc – 96 points
  • Chardonnay – 2017 Moss Wood Wilyabrup Chardonnay – 99 points
  • Semillon Sauvignon Blends – 2016 Stella Bella Suckfizzle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – 97 points
  • Pinot Noir – 2017 Mount Mary Yarra Valley Pinot Noir – 99 points
  • Shiraz – 2017 John Duval Entity Shiraz – 99 points
  • Shiraz and/or Grenache – 2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands Grenache – 99 points
  • Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016 Deep Woods Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – 99 points
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Family – 2017 Cullen Diana Madeline – 98 points
  • Fortified – 1919 Seppeltsfield 100 Year Old Para Liqueur – 100 points

Best Value Winery of the Year

  • Domaine Naturaliste, Margaret River, WA

Dark Horse of the Year

  • Dal Zotto Wines, King Valley, Victoria

Best New Winery

  • Shy Susan Wines, Tasmania

Wine of the year

  • 2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands McLaren Vale Grenache, McLaren Vale, SA

Winemaker of the year

  • Vanya Cullen – Cullen Wines, Margaret River, WA

Winery of the year

  • Jim Barry Wines, Clare Valley, SA


For more information on the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards, visit the website here