Eight at the Gate showcases the quality of Wrattonbully wine region

AWARD: Eight at the Gate co-owners Jane Richards (left) and Claire Davies (right) with Mt Gambier mayor Lynette Martin OAM.
AWARD: Eight at the Gate co-owners Jane Richards (left) and Claire Davies (right) with Mt Gambier mayor Lynette Martin OAM.

A boutique Wrattonbully producer has taken on the industry's big guns, collecting two major trophies at the recent Limestone Coast Wine Show.

Eight at the Gate Wines' 2019 Family Selection Chardonnay won the Pam Dunsford Trophy for Best Chardonnay and the Colin Kidd Trophy for Best White Wine of Show.

The family-owned winery also finished runner-up for Best Wine of Show, capping off an amazing evening.

Judging panel chair, Corey Ryan, described it as an "outstanding" example of modern-style Australian Chardonnay in a solid class of wines.

"It was tight and steely, with lovely intensity of flavour," he said.

While many residents may know the story behind the winery's name, but for those who don't, it came from the number of children the winery's co-owners share.

Co-owners Claire Davies and Jane Richards are sisters with four children each - all of whom spent their early years perched up on a gate watching intently while the adults were hard at work.

After supplying premium grapes for iconic wine labels for many years, the family began bottling their own wines six years ago.

BIG FAMILY: Co-owners Claire Davies and Jane Richards are sisters with four children each - all of whom spent their early years perched up on a gate.

BIG FAMILY: Co-owners Claire Davies and Jane Richards are sisters with four children each - all of whom spent their early years perched up on a gate.

The trophy-winning wine is one of two Chardonnays produced, along with Cabernet Shiraz and Sparkling Shiraz NV.

Jane said it was an amazing feeling to be recognised at last week's wine show, especially due to the many great local producers in the area.

"It's absolutely thrilling to have a little company like ours pull off a trophy like this with the competition in this region and so many amazing producers; it validates what we do," she said.

"We have this particular block where this Chardonnay comes from - it's called Block 12 for us - and it's just consistently got some amazing characters.

"This one is all made in traditional French oak barrels, and it's a very sophisticated, elegant Chardonnay."

Wrattonbully Wine Region Association chair, Tim Fletcher, said it's wonderful to see a white wine from Wrattonbully steal the show.

"Wrattonbully has had a lot of wine show success for its red varieties, winning multiple trophies for Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, with Riesling from the region also winning the 'Best White' trophy in 2011," he said.

"Eight at the Gate's trophies for Chardonnay affirm the consistent quality across all varieties produced in this region."

Adding to the celebrations, Eight at The Gate's Wrattonbully Vineyard, 'Lanacoona Estate', also supplied the vast majority of grapes that went into the gold medal-winning Jack Estate 2018 Shiraz.

In other Wrattonbully accolades at the 2021 Limestone Coast Wine Show, Malone Wines' 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon scored gold, while the 2016 and 2017 vintages were awarded silver. The 2016 Malone Wines Shiraz also won a silver medal.

Seasoned performer Pepper Tree Wines won gold for their Pump Shed Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2020, and silver for the Block 21A Single Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon 2016. Smith and Hooper's 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot also bagged gold, and silver medals went to Barristers Block Bully Shiraz 2019 and Mérite Wines 2019 Shiraz Malbec.