When Nick Glaetzer’s Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers MON PèRE Shiraz 2010 became the first Tasmanian wine to win the fabled 2011 Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show, it brought back memories of another equally historic win. Back in 1983, David Hoehnen, then of Cape Mentelle, won the trophy for the winery’s 1982 dry red claret. It was the first time a Margaret River region cabernet sauvignon had won the coveted award, which was first established in 1963 by Jimmy Watson’s family and friends to honour his legacy of promoting fresh, young Australian reds.

In a fascinating article on the history of the Jimmy Watson in the second issue of James Halliday’s Wine Companion magazine, Hoehnen told wine writer Jane Faulkner that winning the Jimmy Watson was not only life changing for Cape Mentelle but for the Margaret River region in general: “The most telling achievement of the award was not just about getting the name Cape Mentelle out and better recognised, which it did and that was wonderful for us, but more so it was critical Margaret River. From then on people took notice.” (“Just Rewards” by Jane Faukner, James Halliday’s Wine Companion, Feb/Mar 2012)

Only time will tell whether Glaetzer’s win will be equally as significant for his fledgling young winery and for Tasmanian shiraz in general. But the win has already generated a fair amount of publicity, with many commentators noting that for a Tasmanian shiraz to beat out 1,249 other young red wine entries is nothing less than extraordinary.

When it comes to red wine production, Tasmania is far better known for pinot noir than  shiraz. All up less than five hectares of shiraz vines are planted in Tasmania, and as a whole Tasmania accounts for less than 1 per cent … Read the rest