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The Jimmy Watson Trophy - An Australian Institution

Famous, coveted and often controversial, the Jimmy Watson Trophy is the most celebrated award in Australian wine. Despite the proliferation of major wine shows and trophies, none has the power or market traction of the Jimmy Watson. So who was Jimmy Watson and why is the trophy now an Australian Institution?

Jimmy Watson was a proprietor of a wine bar in Lygon Street Carlton in Melbourne between 1935 and 1962. A champion of Australian wine, he was a true pioneer, organising trips to vineyards as early as the 1940’s and selecting particular barrels and hogsheads from various wineries to be brought back to Melbourne and bottled for sale at his wine bar.

After his sudden death in February 1962, a group of friends & customers decided to establish the perpetual Jimmy Watson Trophy for the best one year old red still in barrel at the Royal Melbourne Show.  

The award has historically been very controversial because it was awarded to an unbottled and unfinished wine that could be subjected to further manipulation after the win.  However in 2011 on the 50th anniversary of the trophy, the entry criteria was broadened to include two year old wines and the rules tightened to ensure the wines must be finished and bottled. This in effect put an end to the controversy and has given the award the gravitas it deserves.

Now in its 53rd year, the trophy is still arguably Australia's most coveted, with hundreds of entries in the class each year. Over the years it has been won by some of the biggest names in the Australian wine industry including  Cape Mentelle, Hardy’s, Penfolds, Seppelt Wolf Blass and Wynns with smaller producers including Best’s, Yabby Lake and S.C. Pannell more recent winners.

Andrea Pritzker

List of Jimmy Watson Trophy  Winners 1962- 2014

Year       Name of Winery                              Name of Wine

2014       S.C. Pannell                                   Adelaide Hills Syrah 2013

2013       Yabby Lake                                    Vineyard Block 1 Pinot Noir 2012

2012       Best's                                            Great Western Shiraz 2011

2011       Glaetzer-Dixon Family                     Winemakers Mon Pere Shiraz 2010

2010       Harvey River Bridge Estate              Joseph River Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2009       Eden Road Wines                            'Long Road' Shiraz 2008

2008       Flametree Wines                             Cabernet Merlot 2007

2007       Scarpantoni Estate Wines               Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

2006       Shingleback Wines                         D Block Reserve McLaren Vale CS 2005

2005       Geoff Merrill Wines                         Reserve Shiraz 2004

2004       Casella Estate                                Yellowtail Premium Reserve CS

2003       Saltrams                                        Eighth Maker Shiraz 2002

2002       Rosemount Estate                           Traditional Cabernet Merlot 2001

2001       Pepper Tree Wines                         Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

2000       Punter's Corner                              Coonawarra Shiraz 1999

1999       Wolf Blass Wines                            Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

1998       Katnook Estate                               Coonawarra Shiraz 1997

1997       De Bortoli Wines                             Yarra Valley Shiraz 1996

1996       Hardys                                           Eileen Hardy Shiraz 1995

1995       Leasingham Wines                          Leasingham Classic Clare Shiraz 1994

1994       Rouge Homme Wines                      Richardson Block Blend 1993

1993       Elderton Wines                               Cabernet Sauvignon 1992

1992       Seppelts                                        Harpers Range Blend 1991

1991       Mitchelton Vintners Pty Ltd              Reserve Shiraz 1990

1990       Peter Lehmann Wines Pty Ltd          Stonewell Barossa Shiraz 1989 (Magnum)

1989       Mildara                                          Jamiesons Run Cabernet Blend 1988

1988       Hardys                                          Padthaway Cabernet Sauvignon 1987

1987       Riddoch Wines                               Coonawarra Cab Shiraz 1986

1986       Lindeman's Wines Coonawarra        Pyrus Premium Claret Blend 1985

1985       Hollick Wines                                 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 1984

1984       Cape Mentelle Vineyards                Cabernet Sauvignon 1983

1983       Cape Mentelle Vineyards                Cabernet Sauvignon 1982

1982       Mildara                                     Mildara Cabernet Shiraz 1981

1981       Lindemans Wines                      St George Cabernet Sauvignon 1980

1980       Krondorf Wines                         Burge & Wilson Cabernet Sauvignon 1979

1979       Orlando Wines                           Cabernet Sauvignon 1978

1978       Chateau Yarrinya                       Cabernet Sauvignon 1977

1977       Wynns Coonawarra Estate          Cabernet Sauvignon 1976

1976       Wolf Blass Wines                       Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 1975

1975       Wolf Blass Wines                       Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 1974

1974       Wolf Blass Wines                       Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 1973

1973       Berri Co-op Winery & Distillery    Cabernet Shiraz 1972

1972       Seppelts                                    Dorrien Cabernet Sauvignon TTI 47 1971

1971       Gramps                                     Orlando Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 7003 1970

1970       Basedow Wines                          Bin 15 Dry Red Cabernet Shiraz 1969

1969       d’Arenberg                                d'Arenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 1968

1968       Penfolds                                    Grange Shiraz Bin 95 1967

1967       Saltram Wines                           Claret 1966

1966       Penfolds                                    Grange Shiraz Bin 95 1965

1965       Seppelts Great Western              Hermitage 1964

1964       Penfolds                                    Cabernet Sauvignon 1963

1963       Hardy's                                     Cabernet Sauvignon Bin C404 1962

1962       Stoneyfell Wines                        Metala Cabernet Shiraz Claret Type 1961

ABN: 13 133 179 656
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