Proof that some of the best wines in Australia are being made on the South Coast has been highlighted by a local vineyard winning its 2000th award.
Ironically it has come for the newest wine at Coolangatta Estate near Shoalhaven Heads.
Riesling was only introduced by pioneering vigneron Greg Bishop several years ago on the advice of the winemakers at Tyrrell's. And the 2018 Winsome Riesling made from only the second vintage has earned the estate its 2000th award.
"Tyrrell's have seen our fruit for a very long time and identified the fact that riesling would go really well here. Now they are saying to me "Greg plant more"," Mr Bishop said.
While no one expects the rieslings will enjoy the same wine show success as the semillons Coolangatta has become renowned for. It is already turning many heads.
Cellar door manager Ben Bishop said the 2018 Winsome Riesling was recently named Best Wine in Show at the South Coast Regional Awards.
"I think the 2000th wine show award is a milestone not many wineries reach," he said.
"I don't know how many small boutique wineries in the country have reached that. And some of them are large international awards".
Greg Bishop said looking back to when he first planted vines and harvested the first vintage 30 years ago in 1989 he never dreamed of anything like what Coolangatta Estate has managed to achieve.
"To be honest when we planted that first block of sauvignon blanc we thought we would get something similar to the Tyrrell's Long Flat White at that stage. Then we planted the chardonnays and it was the 91 chardonnay that won a gold medal at the National Wine Show in Canberra. That is when the penny dropped that we could be onto something here. And that was before we planted the semillons".
Continually listening to the judges and learning from their comments is something Mr Bishop has always done diligently.
"It is about the bench-marking. It is not just about winning awards. We want to know how we stand in the marketplace against others. And because we are a little isolated down here it is the only opportunity we really get to play with the big boys".
The Cooly family has played pretty well. But Mr Bishop is quick to say how important the contribution is that Tyrrell's has made to the vineyard's success.
Coolangatta Estate has made such a name for itself it is about to represent Australia at a major international wine event.
Mr Bishop is the one who decided to plant vines near the historic Coolangatta village but credits his late father Colin Bishop for cementing the relationship with Tyrrell's.
"We used to go to the Hunter and buy a lot of wine for the restaurant in those amazing bush banquet days," he said.
"Dad was the one who got the relationship started. And when I decided to plant grapes we already knew them and asked if they would make the wine for us. They said yes and dad drove the first truck load of grapes up. None of this success would have happened without Tyrrell's. Without them our true potential would not have been discovered".
Ben Bishop has taken on the role of attending the regional, state, national and international wine shows.
He said it was a great honour to now work in and represent the business his grandfather Colin Bishop and father Greg Bishop started. He said he had enjoyed a wonderful upbringing at the historic property and looked forward to that continuing for future generations of the Bishop family.
As for what is next.
Greg Bishop is planning to plant more riesling and semillon.
He said that tannats keep performing really well and the 2018 reds are due any day after what was a bumper harvest in terms of quantity and quality 18 months ago.
"And the cabernet is looking pretty damn good," he said.
Mr Bishop said another new arrival he is really looking forward to in the coming weeks is the 2007 Fortified Verdelho.
"It is a lovely wine. And it is in a nice package that looks really smart. My son Ben is really excited about it," he said.
Ben Bishop described it as "being similar to a white port".
The new 2019 Winsome Riesling arrived a week ago.
- 30 years of wine celebrated at Coolangatta Estate
- Australia's Semillon of the Year produced from grapes grown locally at Shoalhaven Heads
- The man who saved an important piece of Australian history on the South Coast remembered for his great legacy
- The Bishop family is preparing to mark 30 years of wine production in the Shoalhaven with a public tasting event in one of the oldest buildings in NSW
- Shoalhaven wine producer and tourist attraction showcases South Coast produce to holiday makers
- Record time for 2018 wine harvest at Coolangatta Estate