Gold Medal Winners From 2023 Sydney NSW Wine Awards Announced

Written by: The Hilltops Phoenix


IMAGE: Hilltops’ Hungerford Hill takes top honours at Canberra and Region Wine Show.

The ‘Best Wine In NSW’ may well be from right here in the Hilltops region, with a number of Hilltops wines earning a gold medal in the 2023 ICC Sydney NSW Wine Awards.

Moppity Vineyards’ Lock & Key Shiraz is one of the gold medal winners, affirming owners Jason and Alecia Brown’s belief that the Hilltops region is great for Shiraz.

In fact, while Moppity’s owners continue to enter as many competitions as they can, Mr Brown said that wine judging could be quite subjective.

“There’ll be three judges and those three judges will come up with their own list of the best wines,” Mr Brown said.

“Then they come together and one might say, “Wine number 62 was great, I gave that a gold.”

“But another judge might say, “Yeah, it was good, but I gave it a bronze. That’s when the wrestle begins.”

Mr Brown said that the ultimate decision could come down to the personality of the judges and which one is more forceful than the others.

“Silver is the worst medal to get because it means one of the judges gave you a gold and caved in the end.”

Mr Brown doesn’t need to worry about that this time round because he already has the gold, now he waits with bated breath to learn whether his Lock & Key Shiraz will be named the ‘Best Wine in NSW’.

Moppity Vineyards is the only Australian winemaker to win the Great Australian Shiraz Award twice and the only vineyard in NSW to win it at all.

Mr Brown said more than winning awards, he looks at consistency. If the wine is consistently winning awards, it shows that there is something special going on.

NSW Wine’s major sponsor, ICC Sydney hosted 16 expert wine judges from across Australia from October 4 to 6 to evaluate the country’s best local wines.

Some of the Judges include:

  • Chair of Judges and award-winning winemaker, Nick Spencer;
  • Wine Selectors Panellist and wine educator, Adam Walls;
  • Master of Wine and Group Beverage Manager for Solotel, Annette Lacey;
  • McLaren Vale winemaker, Rob Mack;
  • Food and Beverage Director at The Point Group, Alex Kirkwood; and
  • Vice President of Sommeliers Australia, Bridget Raffal.

A total of 480 medals were awarded. Of those medals, 65 were gold.

Chair of Judges Nick Spencer said he was thrilled to chair his third NSW Wine Awards. “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the results were amazing,” Mr Spencer said.

“The quality of wines this year was extraordinary and a real testament to the producers, particularly when considering how challenging.”

There were stand-out classes, including Semillon and Shiraz and, encouragingly, the sparkling wine class has improved significantly, with 20 medals awarded, up from 12 last year. Other classes that shone were the Alternative White and Red classes which seem to improve year in, year out.

Mr Spencer said this year’s top Chardonnays backed his belief that NSW produced some of the best Chardonnay in the world.

All 65 Gold Medal finalists will now move to the next stage of the Awards, the exclusive 2023 ICC Sydney NSW Wine Awards Presentation Lunch where the top 2023 trophy winners will be announced November 10 at ICC Sydney.

Tickets to the NSW Wine Awards Lunch can be purchased online at in ‘upcoming events’ until sold out.

Gold medal winners from the Hilltops region include:

  • Collector 2022 Cherry Orchard Shiraz, Hilltops
  • De Iuliis Wines 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hilltops
  • Hungerford Hill 2022 Tempranillo Graciano, Hilltops
  • Lark Hill Winery 2023 ‘Regional’ Riesling, Hilltops
  • Moppity Vineyards 2022 Lock & Key Shiraz, Hilltops
  • Mada Wines 2023 Blanc, Hilltops
  • Mercer Wines 2022 Joven Tempranillo, Hilltops
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