GT Winemaker of the Year 2020

The calibre of the contenders for the 23rd Gourmet Traveller WINE Winemaker of the Year was as impressive as ever. But the judges couldn’t go past second-time nominee Nick Farr of By Farr, who has been recognised for championing fine wines – especially pinot noir and chardonnay in Geelong, Vic. Joshua Cooper, another Victorian, is this year’s recipient of the Young Winemaker Medal for the outstanding wines he makes under his eponymous label in the chilly Macedon Ranges Gourmet Traveller Wine

Thursday night saw the country’s best and brightest winemaking talents vying for Gourmet Traveller Wine’s Winemaker of the Year awards. There was some serious talent at the pointy end of the competition and while the pre-awards highlight was undoubtedly Peter Dredge’s finalist video, find it and watch it please, it was a one-two Victorian punch when it came to the winners with Macedon Ranges’ prodigal son Josh Cooper taking out Young Winemaker of the Year and Nick Farr, who has somehow steered his family’s By Farr estate to even greater heights in recent years, taking out the top gong for Winemaker of the Year.

Many of our savvy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay buyers will be familiar with Josh Cooper’s wines, but for those who have yet to be introduced, these are wines that beautifully echo exceptional sites across Central Victoria. Josh, whose parents are Nelly and Alan Cooper, founders of the highly regarded Cobaw Ridge winery, has grown up in the vineyards of the region and this knowledge and understanding speaks loud and clear in his wines. His Chardonnays are nervy and textural and knotted together by racy acidity. The Pinot Noirs are clearly differentiated by their sites but stylistically they combine a delicate ethereal touch paired with savouriness, power and underlying structure. These wines are the darlings of the minimal intervention camp and do have some little quirks and slight funk around the edges, but for me this adds character rather than clouding the expression of site.

The Farr family are wine royalty in Victoria and Nick had some big shoes to fill when his father Gary, one of Australia’s true vinous pioneers, finally let him take the reins. The estate was already regarded as one of the top Pinot and Chardonnay producers in the country and when you are at the top it can look like there is only one way to go…down. However, since that time Nick has gently nudged the wines forward through meticulous and patient fine tuning and as a result, they have incrementally improved each vintage. Working to lift wines of this calibre even higher is a long game, not a race and Nick has stayed the course. Looking back now some seven years since he was first nominated for the award, you can now truly appreciate the work he has done and is a thoroughly deserving winner.

We have offered out the exceptional wines of both these talented winemakers earlier in the year but have decided to reinstate the special pricing once again so you can get some of the best wines in the country into your cellar.