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Thomas Wines


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Kylie White
27 June 2023 | Kylie White

Thomas Trifecta - Andrew Thomas is Named Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year for the 3rd time

It’s the Hunter Valley’s night of nights, which sees almost four hundred of the local wine industry’s stalwarts celebrate the region’s successes and recognise talent, at the annual Hunter Valley Wine Industry & Legends Awards. The prestigious black-tie awards presentation was held on Thursday 8th June at Rydges Hunter Valley.
For Andrew Thomas, owner winemaker of leading Semillon and Shiraz specialist Thomas Wines, renowned for producing exceptional wines with focus on these two signature varieties of the region, it was confirmation that they are at the top of their game, being named Winemaker of the Year for a record third time. Only one other winemaker in the region has received such recognition which puts Andrew Thomas right at the pinnacle of winemaking in the region.

“I am humbled and delighted to receive this award, it gives recognition to all the hard work and attention to detail that we apply to our winemaking every day as well as the successes we have achieved with our wines, particularly over the last 12 months.” comments Andrew Thomas of his recent acknowledgement.
Andrew, or “Thommo” as he’s best known, was on a wine trade mission to Japan on the night of the 16th rendition of the Legends Awards and while he was disappointed not to be at the awards evening in person, was proud that his two sons Dan - who works in the business as Assistant Winemaker, and local viticulturalist son Remy, were able to accept the award on his behalf.
“Making wine is definitely a team effort, and I would like to acknowledge my son Dan who has been working alongside me for the last three years, as well as all of my staff who work tirelessly in the pursuit of promoting excellence with the two signature varieties of our region. I was proud that Dan (and Remy) could accept this award in my absence, as it really is a combined effort for which he deserves to be a part of this recognition” he adds.
The First Creek Winemaking Services Winemaker of the Year award was created to recognise a Hunter Valley winemaker who has achieved recent success on the wine show circuit as well as having made a significant contribution to the promotion of their wines as well as the Hunter Valley’s wines in general. For Thommo who has been making wine for 37 years in the Hunter Valley and producing wines under his own Thomas Wines label for 25 years, winning this award in 2008, 2014 and now for the third time in 2023, shows incredible commitment and consistency in producing some of the region’s best wines year after year.
Thomas Wines has had huge success on the 2022 wine show circuit which is a consideration for judging of the Winemaker of the Year. Thomas Wines, having won 4 trophies and 8 gold medals was named Most Successful Exhibitor in the 2022 Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show, at the same show winning the Trophy for Best Aged Semillon for the 2013 Braemore Cellar Reserve Semillon as well as the Trophy for Best Mature Red for the 2017 Kiss Shiraz and the Best Open Vintage Shiraz for the 2017 Elenay Shiraz.
Adding to the long list of trophies in the 2022 judging year, he went on to win the Trophy for Best Red of Show for the 2021 Elenay Shiraz and Best One Year Old Shiraz also for the 2021 Elenay at the NSW Small Winemakers Show and later named Best Young Semillon at the Winewise Awards in 2022 for his Thomas Braemore Semillon 2022.
At the highly regarded Hunter Valley Wine Show in 2022, Thomas Synergy Shiraz 2021 was named Best One Year Old Shiraz of Show. Thomas received 3 Golds from 3 entries in the 2022 NSW Wine Awards. Thomas Wines maintained the highest Halliday Wine Companion rating of Red 5 Stars for 2023. Both signature wines – Thomas Kiss Shiraz and Thomas Braemore Semillon were included in the inaugural The Real Review Classification each receiving 2 Merits, as well as Thomas Wines being included in the Top Wineries Of Australia, further adding to a hugely successful 2022-2023 judging year and consolidating the Winemaker of the Year win for Thommo in 2023.
The Hunter Valley Wine Industry & Legends Awards, now in its sixteenth year are an important part of the ongoing recognition for the local wine industry, and Andrew would like to recognise all the work of the local industry and his peers who have contributed to the regions success and thanks them for endorsing this incredible recognition of being named Winemaker of the Year for the 3rd time.
Thomas Wines is located on Hermitage Road, corner of Mistletoe Lane and is open 7 days a week for tastings and some of the regions leading wine tasting experiences which are bookable in advance by visiting
Time Posted: 27/06/2023 at 10:57 AM Permalink to Thomas Trifecta - Andrew Thomas is Named Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year for the 3rd time Permalink
Kylie White
3 July 2020 | Kylie White

The New Normal - Your guide to a post COVID-19 Hunter Valley visit

Remember the days when you eagerly headed up the F1 to the Hunter Valley, a mere two-hour drive from Sydney, boot empty, friends in tow, ready to hit as many wineries as you could in a day and do some serious wine tasting?

Well, COVID-19 has put the hand-brake on much of that, and while the Hunter Valley is very much open for business, it’s a matter of planning ahead, and understanding the new Post COVID-19 wine tasting etiquette.

On the back of what’s been described as a trifecta of outstanding vintages (2017, 2018, 2019) came 2020... A vintage troubled by drought, tormented by bushfires, and then came COVID-19 which shut down the Valley for the best part of three months.

Regional travel restrictions lifted in June and with that came a flurry of winemakers and marketers working out how to best navigate the tricky but necessary legalities of serving and selling wine in a post COVID world. That’s not to mention the mass flurry of regional travellers keen to support the regions and get back out into the world.

The Hunter, being on Sydney’s doorstep, and the oldest and most visited wine region in Australia, is a great example of what post COVID-19 wine tourism looks like. And while it might take a bit of getting used to, it’s likely here to stay. We’re here to help you navigate what that looks like.

The new normal looks a bit different to the old, but it’s actually meant that some incredible new tasting experiences have come out of adversity. You can now book ahead (and its absolutely recommended that you do) for most of the cellar door offerings, and with each brand having to reinvent the way they run their cellar doors, it’s incredible to see what’s on offer.

With the 4 square metre rule applying just as it does to restaurants, and the requirement that all guests must be seated, comes the need to offer finite spaces for tastings at Cellar Doors, and with that has come the rise of the online booking system and paid tastings. Paid tastings have slowly crept into the wine tourism experience over the years, but now it’s a genuine need. With limited spots available to taste, and the huge increase in resources required to manage the hygiene and social distancing measures in place, there is no other way for these winemakers to exist. And we salute this decision, after all where else in the world can you go for a free wine, right?

In addition to the need to be seated, the law requires that wineries gather contact details from a person within your group attending a tasting be that by pre-registration or signing in on arrival, and are asked to encourage visitors to download the COVID tracker app if they haven’t done so. Operators are empowered to refuse entry to anyone who presents unwell, with cold or flu like symptoms or with a fever or temperature. They’re required to provide floor markings and designated order, pay, collect areas as well as single entry and exit points if feasible. There’s sanitiser, disposable utensils, single use spittoons, laminated or single use tasting lists, and no communal water on offer, and unless the winery has a commercial grade dishwasher on the premises, the glassware must be either disposable or yours to keep. It’s a whole new world.

So with the School Holidays and the peak period upon us, it’s essential that we’re all aware of the new etiquette when you’re planning your visit to the Valley. It’s trickier than ever to taste with kids in tow too so best to check ahead if you’re booking a tasting experience as many can’t accommodate kids under these new rules.

Our top tips for visiting the Hunter Valley this winter

Book ahead, do your research on which kind of wine experiences you’re after.

  • If you’re travelling with a group, check with cellar doors can accommodate your group size.
  • If you’ve got kids in tow, check if children are allowed, or if there’s any activities for them to do while you taste.

Please understand that these aren’t “our” rules, but they are state government restrictions placed upon us, designed to keep us all safe.

  • Arrive on time for your pre-booked tasting experience.
  • Allow the time recommended to best enjoy your tasting experience.
  • Adhere to NSW social distancing laws.
  • Stay home if you’re at all unwell.

Winemaker Andrew “Thommo” Thomas’s Top Tips for bookable Tasting Experiences

Is it an in-depth experience of the Hunter’s two signature varieties you’re after? If so make a bee-line to us at Thomas Wines on Hermitage Road where no one will ever give you a better Semillon and Shiraz only experience that encompasses soils, vineyards and a tasting of up to 17 single vineyard varietals. The Discovery tasting just $10 per person, or the one hour Journey $20 per person /Visit-Us

If you’re a collector, head to one of David Hook Wines two tasting locations, the quaint cellar door that everyone knows and loves next to Café Enzo off Broke Road, or the tasting room at the winery with expansive views over their vineyards in Belford conveniently located just off the Hunter Expressway. Your $15 tasting will reward you with a take home Riedel glass valued at $25. Take up to 6 friends and collect the set.

Is it a food and wine experience you’re looking for? You’d be hard pressed to go past Margan, who are offering a range of Limited Release wines from 100 hectares of Sustainably Farmed Margan vineyards with a range of casual grazing options with your wine flights, seven days a week or dine in the acclaimed one hat restaurant Friday through to Sunday. Our pick is the Hunter Heroes tasting which includes 6 wines, a board of local artisan cheeses and salumi, 75 minutes $40.

For a cheese matching experience and a family friendly offering, you can’t beat Scarborough Wines on Gillards Road, and a view that’s hard to beat. With 5 levels of bookable tastings ranging from $30-$45 there’s something for everyone. You’ll be seated and served by your own private host while you taste through individually portioned small bottles. Taste your set, and take your mates set home. Or if you don’t have the full hour that’s recommended to enjoy these experiences they’ve cleverly created the Sip on Inn experience which showcases 6 wines chosen by your host for just $20 per person

If you’re simply after a great tasting of a full range of Hunter varietals while taking in the view then head to Bimbadgen and try their full Signature Experience for just $15.

At Brokenwood the options are just as fancy as their new Cellar Door with tastings ranging from $25 to $110 depending on where your budget and palate is at. Their pod seating is as COVID safe as you can get and allows your group a relative privacy.

For a family friendly tasting experience, the 125 year old institution, Tulloch Wines on Debeyers Road has created a full spectrum of tastings from Wine & Chocolate ($30) through to their premium Aged Wine & Cheese experience ($100), plus there’s a special kids tasting of three soft drinks matched with three kids snacks all for just $10 to keep the kids occupied while the adults taste. There’s even a Kombucha tasting for the designated driver!

Time Posted: 03/07/2020 at 2:26 PM Permalink to The New Normal - Your guide to a post COVID-19 Hunter Valley visit Permalink

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