The 2024 Shortlist

Dark Horse Winery: The Finalists

By Halliday Wine Companion

Meet the 2024 Dark Horse Winery finalists.

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We present to you the 2024 Shortlist for Dark Horse Winery. Dark Horses are wineries that are not new to the Companion but who have received a 5-star rating for the first time this year. It’s an exciting moment for them, and for all of us. Meet our finalists below.

A group of people sitting at a table outside with the Anderson & Marsh vineyard in the background

Anderson & Marsh, Alpine Valleys

Three wines, two star winemakers, one label. It turns out that it’s a killer combination. The people involved are Eleana Anderson (of Mayford) and Jo Marsh (of Billy Button), two near-neighbours in the Alpine Valleys in Victoria with an enormous feel for grapes, the way they are grown, and the various ways they can be turned into wine.

Tom White in the vineyard

Curator Wine Company, Barossa Valley

Full-bodied red wine, grown and made in the Barossa Valley, often designed to highlight and champion sub-regional differences. Curator’s estate vineyard is at Marananga but wines are also made to showcase Greenock and Vine Vale, amongst others. This is a winery where shiraz, cabernet and grenache rule the roost.

A close up of a bottle of Emilian

Emilian, Yarra Valley

If you see the wines of this Yarra Valley producer, you should pounce. The quantities are small but the produce is excellent. There’s an understatement to these wines; they’re not taxing, they’re charming. This label has only existed since 2016 but, step by subtle step, it’s gotten better and better.

Mount Eyre vineyard and cellar door

Mount Eyre Vineyards, Hunter Valley

Mount Eyre in the Hunter Valley has been under its current ownership since 1999, but both the families involved have been around wine for a lot longer than that – indeed for centuries. Mount Eyre grows a range of varieties across three vineyards.

Topper's Mountain gate into the winery

Topper’s Mountain Wines, New England

Topper’s Mountain is an innovator, not a follower. As a result it’s one of Australia’s most interesting producers. Located in the New England region, it focuses on a wide range of road-less-travelled varieties, often in highly successful fashion.

*This is an edited extract from the 2024 Halliday Wine Companion, with reviews by James Halliday, Campbell Mattinson, Dave Brookes, Jane Faulkner, Jeni Port, Mike Bennie, Ned Goodwin MW, Philip Rich and Shanteh Wale. Cover art by Ka Mo.

The winner of each category will be announced at the 2024 Halliday Wine Companion Awards on Wednesday August 2, 2023.

The 2024 Halliday Wine Companion is available from August 3. You can pre-order your copy of Australia's most comprehensive wine guide here


Words by Campbell Mattinson