Janice McDonald, of Burch Family Wines in Western Australia has been crowned Gourmet Traveller’s 2018 Winemaker of the Year.
McDonald is the winemaker at Howard Park Wines, MadFish Wines and Marchand & Burch. The awards, now in their 21st year, have celebrated and showcased 168 finalists since the inaugural event in 1998.
Other winners included: Perpetual Young Winemaker Medal Winner Owen Latta of Eastern Peake and LATTA Vino near Ballarat, Victoria. Perpetual Viticulturist of the Year Fred Peacock of Bream Creek in Tasmania. The Len Evans Award for Leadership recipient Judi Cullam of Frankland Estate in Great Southern, Western Australia.
The independent judging panel decided on McDonald after much consideration of the eight finalists’ achievements and the quality of their recent wines. Some of Australia’s foremost wine experts make up the panel, which is chaired by Peter Forrestal and includes Huon Hooke, Peter Bourne, Nick Bulleid MW, Andrew Caillard MW, Mike Bennie and Toni Paterson MW.
“Janice McDonald is an outstanding winemaker,” said chair of judges Peter Forrestal, “demanding of herself and others; thoughtful; rigorous; painstaking in her attention to detail.”
Judge Toni Paterson MW added: “The level of insight and knowledge that McDonald has is the culmination of almost 30 years dedicated to her craft. She has a finely tuned palate that leads to the creation of wines that have finesse and balance. For these traits, she is much admired.”