Left to right: (Ben Buckingham, Tim Lefel (Yarra Yering, winner of the Champion Victorian Winery Trophy)

The Victoria Pavilion at the Melbourne Showgrounds recently hosted a luncheon to reveal the esteemed winners of the 2023 Melbourne Royal Wine Awards, proudly presented by vintrace, including the prestigious awarding of the 60th Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy. These significant awards have stood as an eminent beacon in the Australian winemaking realm for well over a century, spotlighting and commending exceptional achievements in the industry.

Established in 1884 with just 13 entries, the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards have evolved and grown into a premier celebration for the Australian wine industry, attracting over 2,425 entries from more than 420 wineries across the nation. The growth and influence of the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards reinforces its position as a benchmark of inspiring excellence and innovation within the wine industry.   

The crowning jewel of the awards, the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for Best Young Red, commemorating its 60th awarding this year, was taken out by Tasmania’s Lowestoft Estate Wines for their distinguished Lowestoft La Maison Pinot Noir, 2022. This milestone marked Lowestoft Estate’s maiden Jimmy Watson triumph, making it only the third time a Pinot Noir has clinched this esteemed accolade.

The prestige of winning a trophy at the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards continues to grow, particularly the Francois De Castella trophy for Best Young White Wine, the Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz, and the James Halliday Trophy for Best Pinot Noir.  

For the third year in a row, Lowestoft La Maison Pinot Noir has also been awarded The James Halliday Trophy for Best Pinot Noir, this year with their 2022 vintage. 

The François De Castella Trophy for Best Young White went to Handpicked Wines for their 2022 Handpicked Wines Wombat Creek Vineyard Yarra Valley Chardonnay. The same wine was also awarded Best Chardonnay and Best Victorian Chardonnay. 

With over 904 eligible exhibits, the Douglas Seabrook Trophy for Best Single Vineyard Wine went to McWilliams Wines Single Vineyard 2022 Shiraz, with the same wine also taking out the Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz.  

Melbourne Royal CEO, Brad Jenkins said, “The Melbourne Royal Wine Awards is one of Australia’s oldest and most respected wine award programs, recognising and rewarding excellence in Australian winemaking. This year we celebrate the 60th awarding of the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy and we congratulate the team at Tasmania’s Lowestoft Estate on taking home the top prize in wine.  

“We are grateful to all our entrants, judges, committee members and stewards for their tireless commitment to excellence and for making this year’s Melbourne Royal Wine Awards one of the most coveted in its history.”  

This year the Melbourne Royal Wine Awards presented a total of 1197 medals, including 180 Gold, 296 Silver and 721 Bronze. The awards were judged by 35 accomplished experts in wine, who tasted over 100 wines each per day, over the five days of judging.  In total, approximately 15,000 bottles of wine were held on site during judging, which equates to over 10,000 litres.

Chair of Judges Melanie Chester said of this year’s awards: “The 2023 Melbourne Royal Wine Award results demonstrate the strength and diversity our industry is producing.  

“This year, judges from across the Australian industry gathered with the rather daunting task of tasting just over 2400 wines, and the delicious wines on the bench on trophy day were a testament to the talent and commitment of our viticulturalists and winemakers.”  

The 2023 Melbourne Royal Wine Awards once again showcased outstanding excellence in Australian winemaking. From historic triumphs to remarkable achievements by various wineries, this prestigious event highlighted the passion, dedication, and exceptional craftsmanship of winemakers across the nation.

To find out more about this year’s Melbourne Royal Wine Award winners head to melbourneroyal.com.au/melbourne-royal-wine-awards/.   


Left to Right: Brad Jenkins, Melbourne Royal Chief Executive: Allan Watson, Sponsor Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy, Liam McElhinney, Chief Winemaker, Lowestoft Estate (winner of 2023 Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for Best Young Red), Nigel Watson, Sponsor of Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy.


Left to right:: Peter Dillon, Chief Winemaker at Handpicked Wines (Handpicked Wines Wombat Creek Vineyard Yarra Valley Chardonnay winner of Best Victorian Chardonnay, Best Australian Chardonnay and the François De Castella Trophy for Best Young White)