Australia’s Best Young White from Yarra Valley’s Wombat Creek Vineyard

November 9, 2023
By Melissa Parker

Victoria’s Handpicked Wines claimed the François De Castella Trophy for Best Young White at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards for its Wombat Creek Vineyard Chardonnay 2022.

The François De Castella Trophy is the most prestigious award, alongside the coveted Jimmy Watson Trophy for Best Young Red.

The wine also picked up the trophy for Best Chardonnay and Best Victorian Chardonnay.

Peter Dillon, Chief Winemaker at Handpicked Wines, said: “I’m overjoyed to be receiving this award. It’s the icing on top of the cake of a very exciting year for Handpicked Wines.” 

“Wombat Creek is an incredible site located at the very top of the Yarra Valley. It’s a site we have a lot of heartfelt passion for, having been custodians of it since 2016. Since then, we’ve been laser-focused on organic farming and regenerative viticulture practices, which has set this site on a path towards being fully organic. It’s apparent these practices have raised the quality of fruit we can source from the site and, ultimately, the quality of wines we can produce,” Dillon added.

In addition to the three major trophies, Handpicked Wines walked away with three gold medals, three silver medals and six bronze medals. The winery was also nominated as a finalist for Champion Victorian Winery, which went to Yarra Yering. 

At 424m above sea level, Wombat Creek vineyard is the most elevated vineyard in the Yarra Valley, with free-draining volcanic loam soils. It is planted with mature Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines, producing complex cool climate wines.

Located in Gladysdale’s hilly countryside, it is watered by tributaries of the Yarra River and is six km south-east of Yarra Junction. Wombat Creek Vineyards is also a certified member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia.

The Handpicked Wines Wombat Creek Vineyard Chardonnay 2022 exhibits aromas of grapefruit pith, quince blossom, lemon and lime. It is aromatic with flinty reduction, talcy minerality, and finely integrated oak.

The Handpicked Wines Wombat Creek Vineyard Chardonnay 2022 will be released at the start of 2024 for RRP $69.99, available at select wine retailers, Handpicked Wines Sydney and Melbourne City Cellar Doors, and online at

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