Australian Wine Companion 2016 by James Halliday »

The definitive guide to Australia wine, yet again

By Laura McKinnon
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James Halliday Wine Companion 2016 edition

James Halliday Wine Companion 2016 edition [©SDP Media]


Eagerly awaited by winemakers, collectors and older wine lovers, the James Halliday annual Australian Wine Companion is recognised as 'the definitive guide to the wines and wineries of Australia'. However,  many younger wine drinkers especially haven't heard of it. We think it's time this changed!

The 2016 edition has been totally revised to bring you up-to-date information on what's happening in Australian wine, including new labels and producers. Halliday includes full tasting notes for an impressive 3859 wines as well as ratings, 'drink to' dates and prices for a further 2,629 wines.

The most comprehensive guide to Australian wine on the market starts with a brief introduction to the current wine market and instructions on how to use the book in order to get the most out of it.

This is followed by the highly anticipated awards of Winery of the Year, Wine of the Year, the Winemaker of the Year and Best Value Winery of the Year.

  • Five generation family-owned winery Victorian winery Tahbilk took out the coveted Winery of the Year

  • South Australian Peter Fraser (of Yangarra Estate) the Winemaker of the Year

  • The 2014 Serrat Yarra Valley Shiraz Viognier won Wine of the Year
  • Western Australia’s Cape Howe Wines won Best Value Winery, and
  • Yarra Valley winery Bicknell fc won Best New Winery

Each award comes with a full page description of why they deserve the honour, and I am sure as you read these pages you will agree with Halliday's conclusions. Having worked alongside David Bicknell at De Bortoli I can confirm that his hands are always stained with wine and that his mastery of chardonnay and pinot noir is as described.

What follows is the best of the best by variety, an extremely useful section when you are looking for the perfect bottle for dinner or a gift and don’t have time to wade through the many thorough reviews contained in this book.

Tasked with purchasing a gift for a sauvignon-loving Kris Kringle (Secret Santa)  this year, it gives me an easy reading list of sauvignon blancs that rated 95 or above, meaning I'm sure to be able to pick up a crowd pleaser!

If you prefer to visit wineries to taste and try their wines the best wineries of the regions lists are for you. Here you will find the wineries with a demonstrated track record of excellence, or have performed exceptionally this year and have the potential to repeat this performance.

The ten of the best new wineries provides a brief description of newcomers who have earned a 5 star rating in their debut appearance in the Australian Wine Companion.

If you prefer a winery that has a history in the industry but is just now obtaining a 5 star rating, the ten dark horses will be for you. These are ones to watch for sure. 

The opening chapters of the Australian Wine Companion finish with an index of the Australian geographical indications, information on varietal styles and regions, vintage snapshots and the author's acknowledgements.

The main body of this book as you would expect is made up of the detailed descriptions and tasting notes of the 3859 wine producers, including 92 new wineries.

In alphabetical order, Halliday shares his extensive knowledge of each producer’s wines through detailed tasting notes, each with vintage-specific ratings and advice on optimal drinking as well as each wine’s closure, alcohol content and price.

He provides information about the wineries and winemakers, including vineyard sizes, opening times and contact details.

Overall the 2016 Australian Wine Companion is a comprehensive wine guide suitable for anyone interested in wine and a great stocking filler for a wine lover at Christmas!


[ED: a recent winner of VisitVineyards' promotion of the 2016 edition said thisVerdict  it’s wonderful. I am a simple wine drinker who had never seen the book before, though I had heard of it. I found the book full of interesting, fascinating,  helpful facts. I have spent hours reading it. I have learnt a lot and I know it will be a useful asset in future winery tours.  It’s my new coffee table book!.The rest of the family and friends are constantly picking it up for a look.]

The 2016 Australian Wine Companion by James Halliday AO is published in Australia by Hardie Grant Books (Melbourne, 2015; sc, 776pp) and retails in Australia for A$39.95

Search for The 2016 Australian Wine Companion online via Booko here »



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November 27th, 2015
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