Bellarine winery wins inaugural Australian Pinot Noir Challenge

Yes said the Seal's 2-16 Pinot Noir takes trophy

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Yes said the Seal Winemaker Darren Burke

Yes said the Seal Winemaker Darren Burke [©Yes said the Seal Wines]

Yes said the Seal Pinot Noir

Indisputable proof that Bellarine wines are amongst the nation’s best with local Yes said the Seal awarded Best Pinot Noir in Australia at the inaugural Australian Pinot Noir Challenge announced on Saturday, August 19.  Yes said the Seal’s 2016 Pinot Noir was awarded 98 points by judges and was the clear winner amongst more than 250 Pinot Noirs from all around Australia.  

Crafted from handpicked Bellarine fruit sourced from sister vineyard Leura Park Estate’s Block 9, (clone 115), the result is a serious credit to winemaker Darren Burke who spent many hours nurturing the vines including leaf plucking and shoot thinning during the growth phase. 

“All here are absolutely ecstatic to be awarded the inaugural trophy at the Australian Pinot Noir Challenge, it means a lot on so many levels.  It is a credit to the skill and dedication of our Winemaker, Darren Burke who spent hours personally tending our beloved front block,” Director, Lyndsay Sharp said.

“The award is also a wonderful result for Geelong & The Bellarine as a cool climate wine growing region.  Pinot Noir has long been a signature varietal of the region and to be recognised at this level reinforces the fact that this great part of Victoria stands tall on the national stage,” Ms Sharp said.

Picked at a baume’ at around 13, the fruit was naturally fermented with 10% whole bunches before enjoying a natural ferment which was cooled as required to ensure the temperature was never greater than 28 degrees celsius. Total time on skins was 15 days. The ferment cap was gently submerged once daily and 25% new French oak was embraced as the new wood component. 

Elevage of 10 months included a natural malo-lactic fermentation before being assembled for bottling, unfined and filtered. 

If that’s all too technical, don’t worry!  It just means that this wine is the best of the best due to keen attention to detail, top winemaking skills and great Bellarine grapes! 

Pre-release of the 2016 Yes said the Seal is available online via



  • Bellarine Peninsula (VIC)

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August 30th, 2017
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