Herne Hill’s Sittella Winery rules the night at wine show

John Ward from Quik Impressions and Colby Quirk from Sittella
John Ward from Quik Impressions and Colby Quirk from Sittella

HERNE Hill’s Sittella Winery stole the spotlight at the Singapore Airlines Swan Valley Wine Show on Friday, taking home more than half of the trophies that were up for grabs.

Simon and Maaike Berns’s privately-owned vineyard walked away with eight awards, including the most prestigious prize of the night – the Singapore Airlines Premium Trophy for best table wine of show for its Museum Release Silk 2009, which was also named the best Swan Valley white table wine.

The WA winery also won best sparkling wine for its 2012 Sittella Grand Vintage, best red wine or blend and best Swan Valley red table wine for its 2016 Sittella Avant Garde Grenache, best fortified wine of show and the most successful producer trophy.

Sittella chief winemaker Colby Quirk, who has worked with the winery for almost five years, said it was “a little bit embarrassing” to have won so many awards on the night.

“We put a lot of thought into how we want to make the wines and it’s sort of coming into fruition,” he said.

“It takes a very long time to make wine and a lot of my time was spent working over east in particular at Domaine Chandon (in Victoria).

“Coming over to the Swan valley and realising the heritage and 180 years of winemaking was pretty amazing and I thought surely there’s some really gnarly old vines here, so me and Yuri Berns, the other winemaker, hunted up and down to find these old vines and I guess they’re singing true tonight.”

Mr Quirk said he was surprised at the range of classes Sittella was awarded in.

“I sort of think I’m a sparkling winemaker predominantly but to win across most of the styles is a bit bizarre really,” he said.

“I’m happy to take second place any day really to John Kosovich Wines and Talijancich because they are something else and I don’t know how we won that but it is a great feeling.”

Other big winners on the night include Houghton Wines, Jarrah Ridge Wines and Mandoon Estate, with Domenic Pinelli from Pinelli Wines also named the 2017 Icon of the Swan Valley.

Singapore Airlines Swan Valley Wine Show 2017 winners

* Best sparkling wine: Sittella Grand Vintage 2012

* Best verdelho: Faber Vineyard Swan Valley Verdelho 2013

* Best small producer (less than 35 tonnes): Jarrah Ridge Wines

* Best non-greater Perth zone wine (red or white): Mandoon Estate Margaret River Reserve Chardonnay 2016

* Best 2017 dry white wine of show: Stringybark Winery Verdelho 2017

* Alan Dinneen Memorial Trophy: Jarrah Ridge Reserve Shiraz 2016

* Best white wine or blend (other than verdelho): Sittella Museum Release Silk 2009

* Best red wine or blend (other than shiraz): Sittella Avant Garde Grenache 2016

* Best Swan Valley white table wine: Sittella Museum Release Silk 2009

* Best shiraz or shiraz-dominant blend: Aldersyde Estate Shiraz 2015

* Best Swan Valley red table wine: Sittella Avant Garde Grenache 2016

* Best fortified wine of show: Sittella Reserve Liqueur Muscat

* The West Australia Media Award Trophy for most successful producer: Sittella Winery

* City of Swan Trophy (for exhibitor whose five or more entries gained the highest average score): Houghton Wines

* Singapore Airlines Premium Trophy for best table wine of show: Sittella Museum Release Silk 2009