We present to you the 2024 shortlist for Best Value Winery. This category is closely tied to the awarding of special value rosettes ✪ to wines that offer value for money, whatever their price point. With around 2800 rosettes awarded this year, the 2024 edition of the Companion may well offer the best value wines yet. Meet our finalists below.
Billy Button is the brand of the ultra-talented Jo Marsh. At Billy Button she makes a large and eclectic range of wines that, as soon as you taste one, you just want to settle down and drink. It’s lucky then that so many of the wines are well priced.
One of the most historic wineries
in Australia – Bleasdale has become a quality juggernaut, but special value wines are the kind of bread and butter it knows more about than most. The simple fact is that these wines stack up no matter which way you look at them. This isn’t new for Bleasdale; this is what it does.
Husband and wife Andre Bondar and Selina Kelly began a deliberately unhurried journey in 2009, which culminated in the purchase of the celebrated Rayner Vineyard post-vintage ’13. They wanted a vineyard capable of producing great shiraz
. The Rayner Vineyard had all the answers: a ridge bisecting the land, Blewitt Springs sand on the eastern side; and the Seaview, heavier clay loam soils over limestone on the western side.
Bremerton has been producing wines since 1988. Rebecca Willson and Lucy Willson were the first sisters in Australia to manage and run a winery. The Bremerton range is one of the happiest hunting grounds on the Australian market today, with all manner of tastes catered for: from shiraz and cabernet to verdelho, fiano, lagrein, malbec, tempranillo-graciano and more.
Briar Ridge has been a model of stability, and has the comfort of substantial estate vineyards from which it is able to select the best grapes. This Hunter Valley producer (also sourcing from Wrattonbully) has both its value and quality cylinders firing across a range of varieties and styles: fiano, shiraz, chardonnay, semillon and albariño among them.
In '00 the Davis family selected parcels of fruit from their vineyards in the Hunter Valley, Orange and Wrattonbully to make wines that are a true expression of their location. To best reflect this strong emphasis on terroir, the wines were named after their respective vineyards. In recent years Tim Davis has taken over the reins from his father John, and brought these wines under the Carillion banner. He launched the Lovable Rogue range of wines, which highlight his keen interest in alternative grape varieties, as well as explore innovative and experimental winemaking methods.
Yarra Valley producer Dappled is here because of its sheer outstanding consistency. Owner and winemaker Shaun Crinion was introduced to wine in '99, his career since then has been so impressive we can’t cut it short: 2000 Devil’s Lair, Margaret River and Corbett Canyon Vineyard, California; ’02 Houghton, Swan Valley; ’03 De Bortoli, Hunter Valley; ’04–06 Pipers Brook, Tasmania; ’06 Bay of Fires, Tasmania; ’06–07 Williams Selyem, California; ’08 Domaine Chandon, Yarra Valley; ’10 Domaine de Montille, Burgundy; ’09–present Dappled Wines.
De Bortoli is run by the husband-and-wife team of Leanne De Bortoli and Steve Webber. The wines are released in three quality (and price) groups: Single Vineyard, Estate Grown and Villages. De Bortoli makes top-end wine but along the way it makes sure that everyone is kept happy. Name a variety or style and there’s every chance that De Bortoli has nailed it, at a fair price.
A couple of years ago we uncovered Mordrelle, and it’s been a great pleasure to ride its swift progress since. Amid this quality rise, value remains paramount, especially among its Langhorne Creek releases (Mordrelle’s base is at Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills). If you haven’t yet cottoned on to Mordrelle, now’s the time.
You get the feeling when you look at the Oakridge range that this producer respects its customers as much as it does the quality of its wines. This is one of a number of areas where Oakridge shines: at consistently getting the very top-end of quality into value considerations. Oakridge proves that to drink the very best, you don’t need to break the bank.
While Two Hands often operates at the very top end of town, there’s still ample value to be found in this range. Grapes are sourced from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Eden Valley, the Adelaide Hills and Heathcote. The emphasis is on sweet fruit and soft tannin structure, all signifying a very successful business.
If someone asked you for the name of a single winery, and you knew that both quality and value were important to them but you had no idea of their personal wine preferences, then Xanadu would be a perfect choice. It makes such an outstanding range of wines and styles, all with their fruit flavours presented bell clear. Sauvignon blanc, nouveau syrah, semillon, cabernet sauvignon, graciano shiraz, chardonnay, cabernet franc, viognier and more.
*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.
BACK TO THE SHORTLIST
Words by Campbell Mattinson