Brokenwood senior winemaker and former Upper Hunter student Stuart Hordern in celebration mode after James Halliday 2021 Wine Companion awards

Success: Brokenwood lab supervisor Lorrae St Vincent, senior winemaker Stuart Hordern, winemaker Kate Sturgess, director Iain Riggs and crew member Emily Glover.
Success: Brokenwood lab supervisor Lorrae St Vincent, senior winemaker Stuart Hordern, winemaker Kate Sturgess, director Iain Riggs and crew member Emily Glover.

THE Hunter Valley's Brokenwood 2018 Graveyard Shiraz, due for release on November 1 at $350 a bottle, has been declared wine of the year and shiraz of the year in the prestigious James Halliday 2021 Wine Companion awards.

Based on reviews of 10,000 Australian wines, the six major awards and the 16 top varietal wines were announced by Mr Halliday last Wednesday night and saw the Brokenwood 2014 ILR Reserve Semillon named the top semillon.

The wine, named in honour of Brokenwood's retiring chief winemaker-CEO Iain Leslie Riggs, will go on sale at $100 a bottle on October 1.

Mr Riggs said the 2018 was the 30th Graveyard release and the culmination of a perfect vintage and great teamwork, starting in the vineyard with the late vineyard manager Keith Barry and his daughter Katrina, now vineyard manager.

"Everything came together superbly," he said.

Brokenwood acquired the Graveyard vineyard in 1978, so named as it includes the site gazetted as the Pokolbin cemetery, although never used as such.

Former Upper Hunter student Stuart Hordern, who was named the Len Evans Tutorial Dux for 2016, is the senior winemaker there.

The son of Muswellbrook couple John and Wendy, he attended Martindale Public School before venturing to Scone Grammar.

The Halliday awards are presented annually to coincide with the publication of Wine Companion, the $39.95 2021 edition of which has more than 4000 tasting notes, lists all award winners and is a comprehensive guide to Australia's best wineries, grape growing regions.

A full list of more than 9000 tasting notes is available now online at www.winecompanion.com.

The winery of the year was South Australia's Barossa Valley Henschke Wines.