McLaren Vale winemaker Peter Fraser, of Yangarra Estate Vineyard, has been named the best in Australia for 2016.
Eminent Australian wine critic James Halliday has selected Peter and Yangarra from more than 1,300 Australian wineries to award this prestigious title. He also scored all ten of Yangarra’s new release wines at 94 points and above.
Peter, a McLaren Vale local whose background in the wine industry spans three decades and as many continents, says: “To win the winemaker of the year is very exciting for Yangarra, but also very humbling considering the quality of wine that some of the great producers are creating. We have had quiet and organic growth since we began growing and making wines at Yangarra in 2001, and many people have not heard of us. So an award like this hopefully creates an interest for new people to try our wine that have not previously. But ultimately it is business as usual, continuing our journey to understand our land better and showcase the wines our place delivers, and that people hopefully want to drink and to cellar.”
He also stresses that the award recognises a team effort, calling out in particular the property’s owner Barbara Banke and the Jackson Family, his vineyard manager Michael Lane, and his winemakers Shelley Torresan and Charlie Seppelt for making this award possible.
Yangarra’s wines are single-estate, from a 400 acre wine farm in the north of McLaren Vale. Peter assisted the Jackson Family to purchase the site in 2001. Prior to this, Peter worked for St Halletts in the Barossa and Normans Clarendon Winery, and has worked and studied in Spain, France and the United States.
Peter’s credits honesty, a level head, an uncompromising approach, innovation, and an understanding of the vineyard as the most important attributes for a winemaker. But he recognises that these are nothing without a great vineyard producing outstanding fruit, and passionate and dedicated staff.
In his time at Yangarra, Peter has worked with Michael to implement organic and biodynamic practices across the whole vineyard, and since the 2013 vintage all of Yangarra’s wines are certified organic/biodynamic.
Since its inception, the Yangarra wines have steadily gained respect and critical acclaim, culminating in this achievement. Yangarra’s cosy cellar door was also acknowledged with awards for the best in McLaren Vale and the best cellar door person in McLaren Vale (Genevieve Ticehurst) in 2015.