Chief viticulturist Prue Henschke was inducted into the James Halliday Hall of Fame: Wine Industry at the 2024 Halliday Wine Companion Awards at Stokehouse Restaurant in St Kilda last night (Wednesday, 2 August 2023).
James Halliday AM recognised Prue for her outstanding achievements and contribution to the grapegrowing and winemaking industry:
“Prue Henschke has been a beacon for many people within the wine industry game and she has achieved such a lot, which has not only been relevant for Henschke but for the broader industry. [She] has shown consistently over many many years that she was the pace maker, not the pace follower, and she is a really wonderful person to work with,” said James.
“There is no one else that has done more for the broader wine industry…You can walk into a vineyard that she has under her care and you will very quickly come to the conclusion that this is remarkable,” he continued.
With over 50 years’ experience as a viticulturist, botanist and conservationist, Prue’s commitment to restoring balance to the natural environment and minimising harmful impacts to the earth has seen her lead the way with regenerative viticulture.
In the once empty spaces across the Henschke vineyards, Prue has used her botanical expertise from university studies in botany and zoology to establish thousands of different Australian native plants. These contribute to soil health and support wildlife; insects, small animals, microbats and birds. A planting program has restored woodlands and forests to 50% of all Henschke lands – 18,000 trees were planted in one property alone.
Prue has been a pioneer in restructuring the Henschke vineyards with new trellis types to enhance grape quality and improving soil health through the use of organic and biodynamic practices, such as planting permanent swards of native grasses, using compost covered with straw mulch to preserve soil moisture and applying biodynamic preparations to the vineyards.
“I am incredibly honoured to be the first inductee in the James Halliday Hall of Fame. It is wonderful to see my work recognised and the importance of nurturing our vineyard sites and soils, and the role this plays in the wider winemaking community, especially as we head into challenging changes in the world’s climate. I never imagined that my ideas about soil health and connecting the vines to the surrounding landscape would have such an influence in viticultural practices across Australia,” said Prue.
The Halliday Wine Companion Awards also marked the release of the 2024 edition, which features a number of Henschke wines, including:
- 2022 Peggy’s Hill Riesling, 91 points
- 2022 Julius Riesling, 97 points
- 2021 Louis Semillon, 94 points
- 2022 Innes Vineyard Pinot Gris, 90 points
- 2020 The Rose Grower Nebbiolo, 92 points
- 2021 Johann’s Garden Grenache Mataro, 96 points
- 2021 Stone Jar Tempranillo, 93 points
- 2021 Henry’s Seven Shiraz Grenache Blend, 92 points
- 2021 Five Shillings Shiraz Mataro, 92 points
- 2019 Keyneton Euphonium Shiraz Cabernet Blend, 94 points
- 2019 Apple Tree Bench Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 95 points
- 2020 Marble Angel Cabernet Sauvignon, 93 points
- 2020 Tappa Pass Shiraz, 94 points
- 2018 Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon, 96 points
- 2018 The Wheelwright Shiraz, 96 points
- 2018 Mount Edelstone Shiraz, 98 points
- 2018 Hill of Roses Shiraz, 97 points
- 2018 Hill of Grace Shiraz, 99 points
Full reviews and scores are also available on winecompanion.com.au