Eric Semmler of 919 Wines was named Australian Winemaker of the Year at the annual Winestate Magazine Wine of the Year awards last week.
The competition is a year in duration and is for wines and winemakers from across Australia and New Zealand. The results are distributed throughout Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.
Eric said “It was totally unexpected award but it re-confirms that with appropriate viticulture and winemaking techniques this region can produce the highest quality wines. It’s great to be rewarded for our hard work over a long period of time. It’s an honour to be the recipient of such a prestigious award.” He added “We are fortunate to have been contracted to make wine for some of the other up and coming Riverland producers. It’s fantastic to see these small brands really make a stamp on the Australian wine map and win awards in their own right”.
The award was presented in Adelaide on Friday at the Winestate Annual Wine of the Year awards. In making the award, Winestate’s founder Peter Simic made an interesting remark. He said, “When Eric’s name was put forward as the recommendation from the judges for this year’s award, I couldn’t believe it that the Riverland could produce such outstanding results. But let me assure you, Eric scored the highest possible ranking, five gold stars in six separate categories, a truly outstanding achievement.”
919 Wines was established in 2004 and produces a range of wines from Mediterranean grape varieties including Petit Manseng, Tempranillo, award-winning fortified wines and the cult classic Durif. The winery produces wines from its own vineyards, but also provides a contract winemaking service to a number of boutique brands in the region.