The 1st September marks the beginning of DD's 9th birthday festivities, and kicks off a month-long celebration of the Different Drop Classification!
What is DD Classified, you may ask?
Well, it's our comprehensive list of Australia's most exemplary, forward-thinking and sought-after artisan producers. These artisans hail from all corners of the country, make wine in all styles and include small cult labels, up-and-coming stars and famous names. The Classification list is intended to be a snapshot of the state-of-play for the vibrant and fascinating independent side of the Australian wine industry.
We have criteria for each producer to fit before they can go on our list, which you can read all about here.
In short: it's going to be an epic month!
2022 sees six new producers added to the Classification, so read on below to see if your favourite has made the list this year...
When our first bottle of Aphelion Grenache arrived at DD HQ in early 2017, we just knew we had found something special. Rob Mack was a star on the rise and we were in it for the long-haul from day dot.
This year saw Rob take his Grenache game to a new level, with the culmination of a 7 year project to isolate the best parcels of Grenache from the very top echelon of his vineyard sources, resulting in a fantastic lineup of 3 single vineyard wines.
Grenache is Rob's obsession and the juggernaught behind setting up Aphelion.
He's a master of the variety, finding nuance and complexity in the grape like few others in the country. His examples are as good as any top Grenache you'll see in Australia.
Basically, if you aren't yet acquainted, you should definitely get to know Aphelion.
Founded by Stuart Hooper in the early 1970s and guided initially by the legendary Gary Farr, Bannockburn has a long and storied history.
The wines of Bannockburn vineyard have a real unique character about them: intense, deeply flavoured and seasoned with that signature saline minerality derived from their ancient soils, these wines are absolutely some of Victoria's finest.
Now under the guidance of winemaker Matt Holmes, this iconic estate has gone from strength to strength in recent years and has produced some of its greatest-ever wines. If you've ever delighted in the wines of Bannockburn, you'll know why they're an unarguable inductee into the 2022 Classification.
Matt has got a few things in store for us this month, including limited allocations of his very best Chardonnays... so keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming releases.
Bruce Dukes and his stellar suite of Margaret River wines are a perpetual favourite of ours here at DD. Being one of the last bastions of value in the ever-more-premium Margaret River region, it's no surprise he's one of our WA staples with his wines that massively over-deliver for the price.
From the cheery bargain Discovery range all the way up to his flagship series of Chardonnays and Cabernets, Bruce has an impeccable range - classic, classy and beautifully made.
We've got our final allocations of the tremendous 97 point Rebus Cabernet and 96 point Sauvage Sauvignon Blanc Semillon available, with new flagships on the horizon due to land in a few weeks. Stay tuned!
Samantha Connew is a highly experienced winemaker and one of the country's most respected Wine Show judges. She spent years behind the scenes in some very notable wineries before eventually embarking on this, her solo project, in 2013.
Stargazer is a one-woman operation in pursuit of Tasmanian excellence. She has a small vineyard in the Coal River Valley that's producing some stunning fruit, bringing some great critical acclaim to this small operation.
Sam is a loving vigneron who is fully realising the potential of her special little site and producing some seriously exciting stuff. All Tassie wine fans should delight in her wines - if you're lucky enough to nab one, that is, as they're all made in extremely limited quantities.
We've got some brand new releases from Sam coming up in the next week or two, and don't worry - we'll let you know when they arrive.
Steve and Monique Lubiana are pioneers of biodynamic farming in Tasmania, being some of the best grape-growers south of the Bass Strait. We've been huge fans of theirs for years, and we're stoked to welcome them into the Classification this year.
The Lubianas care deeply for their home vineyard and have led the way for organic/biodynamic farming on the Apple Isle. Their wines represent the same pursuit of quality, where faithfully honouring the fruit is the absolute goal.
An uncompromising sense of quality is the thumbprint of the Lubiana family from top to toe.
Very few wineries in the Yarra Valley have as prestigious a history as Yeringberg. The de Pury family were pioneers of the region, planting one of the first vineyards in the Yarra over 100 years ago.
The original vineyard was ripped out when the demand for Australian wine slowed to a trickle. However, the site was replanted in the 1970s and is one of the great estates of the modern Yarra, with third-generation winemaker Sandra de Pury as the sole person behind the wines today.
At Yeringberg, time seems to stand still. Everything is done traditionally in the winery, the trends of the modern day don't extend past the winery doors. These are exquisite, elegant wines from a great Australian Domaine and an unquestionable entrant into the Classification this year.
Of course, though, these are just the latest round of inductees to come in to our hall of fame (of sorts), and there's a whole lot of gold to be found from our list of 60 Classified producers.
While you wait for our next instalment of September madness, why not check out them all out here?