A BATHURST region winery has taken out of the top prizes in the prestigious 2022 Halliday Wine Companion Awards, announced on Thursday night.
Renzaglia Wines has been named the Dark Horse Winery of the Year, selected from wineries that have established a five-star rating for the first time.
The annual award goes to a winery the judges believe is producing quality products and is recognition of their potential to continue developing into a top category winery.
For Renzaglia Wines owner Mark Renzaglia, the award is a case of overnight success that's been more than two decades in the making.
Mr Renzaglia is one of the real leading lights in the Bathurst region's small wine industry and he started his O'Connell vineyard in 1997.
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He has done more than most to promote Bathurst's burgeoning wine industry and taking out the Dark Horse award will bring his winery - and the region - valuable national exposure.
"We are both surprised and honoured to receive this award," Mr Renzaglia said.
"It feels like a reward for many years of hard work and dedication to a challenging industry.
"More than anything, I think it solidifies our belief in what we are doing and it allows us to continue to focus on making honest, character-filled wines that speak of our particular region and philosophy."
The award caps off an exciting 12 months for the Renzaglia family who have planted more than 2500 vines at their Bella Luna vineyard, near O'Connell, over the past year.
The plantings started in May 2020 with 500 vines, comprising two clones of the grenache grape and one clone of tempranillo.
Mr Renzaglia said the award was a shot in the arm for all Central Ranges winemakers and promised a healthy future for his family's business, with sons Sam and Paul also entering the industry.
"The di Renzo line is our most recent line and its focus is larger format vessels - big used oak barrels and concrete where texture, savouriness and secondary characters are favoured over primary fruit and freshness. These wines are driven by our son, Sam," he said.
"Lastly the single vineyard line are wines of high quality that have depth of fruit and will age well. These wines come from either our own vineyard (Bella Luna) or our vineyard in the middle of Wahluu (Mount Panorama Estate).
"To win the Dark Horse award puts us in the spotlight for a little while which hopefully means people will notice and appreciate what we are doing and, at the same time, appreciate the potential of the area."
In awarding Renzaglia Wines the Dark Horse title, Halliday judge Ned Goodwin praised their wine-making skills.
"Minimal imprint in the vineyard and winery, judicious use of high-quality oak and courageous extraction gift us with a suite of detailed, precise and prodigiously digestible wines," Mr Goodwin said.
"These are the sort of savoury mid-weighters across price points that this country should make more of."
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