Thorn-Clarke Wines Barossa

Thorn-Clarke Wines Barossa


Thorn-Clarke Wines Barossa

Thorn-Clarke Wines Barossa Blog

New Cellar Door open!



We are very happy to announce the opening of our new cellar door! Come and taste our beautiful award winning wines in style, whilst enjoying our wonderful hospitality. We have a large range of wines on offer, all excellent quality with recognition at both the national and international level.

We look forward to welcoming you soon!


Cellar Door progress

‘Blue Gold’ Winner! 2014 Sydney International Wine Competition


Our 2010 William Randell Shiraz has continued its recent run of success. Today it was announced the wine has won a highly regarded ‘Blue Gold’ medal at the 2014 Sydney International Wine Competition, we are still contenders for a Trophy which will be announced in March 2014.

The Sydney International Wine Competition is one of the few wine competitions globally where the wines entered are assessed alongside food and judged on how well they accompany / complement a dish deemed as suitable for the style (William Randell is classed ‘Fuller Bodied Dry Red Wine’).

With 2000 entries and a tasting panel consisting of five Australian judges and 7 international judges a ‘Blue Gold’ is an excellent result – fingers crossed we collect a trophy in March.

With a double trophy win at the International Wine Challenge this year, multiple gold medals in international wine shows, a spot in James Hallidays Top 100 wines last year and numerous other accolades to its name, the 2010 William Randell has certainly proved to be a hit with all who taste it. 

Thorn-Clarke winemaker scoops awards!


Congratulations go to our Senior Winemaker Helen McCarthy for scooping two out of the three prizes at the “2013 Young Winemaker of the Year Awards”! Not only did Helen win the “Supporter Choice Award”, an award judged by the sponsors and trade but she also took out the “Finalists Choice Award”, an award given to her by her peers for her William Randell Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 and William Randell Shiraz 2010.

This year the award, which has been running annually since 2001, attracted a field of 69 nominees from ages 35 or younger. Judging was conducted in two rounds – with industry stalwarts Ian McKenzie, Greg Melick, Travis Fuller and Toni Paterson MW responsible for the first cull to determine the 10 finalists.

From here, the finalists’ wines were shipped to an international judging panel comprising recognised industry leaders and wine show judges from Australia and New Zealand. The 2013 finalist panel comprised of John Belsham (Foxes Island), Tom Carson (Yabby Lake), Iain Riggs (Brokenwood), James Halliday, 2013 Sommelier of the Year Jarrod Mills (EST.) and last year’s The Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year, Nick Picone (Villa Maria).

“As in previous years, the quality of the wines was fantastic,” said Ian McKenzie.  “It is a great opportunity as a judge to see the wines from this new generation of winemakers. They will obviously continue to gain experience and offer more to the industry in future years.”

Two International trophies for Barossa’s Thorn-Clarke Shiraz


2013 International Wine Challenge: 2010 William Randell Shiraz


Double Trophy Winner – Top Australian Shiraz and Top Barossa Shiraz

Australian wine producer Thorn-Clarke Wines continued its remarkable run of trophy wins yesterday at the London-based International Wine Challenge.

The 2010 vintage of Thorn-Clarke’s flagship William Randell Shiraz came away with Trophies for Best Australian Shiraz and Best Barossa Shiraz, in a field of outstanding wines from around the globe.

Over the last 10 years the family-owned ‘quiet achievers’ have logged an impressive record of 20 trophies for their Barossa wines from International and major Australian wine shows.

Chief Executive Sam Clarke, speaking from the London Wine Trade Fair said today that Australian winemakers can take heart from the high standards they set both domestically and internationally.

“Australian wines are consistently setting the pace for elegance and balance and they are worthy ambassadors of Australian culture,” he said.

“With an ever-strengthening reputation for quality, effective point-of-origin regulation and clean, green credentials, Australian wineries continue to be among the nation’s most successful exporters.”

“We are in an excellent position to take advantage of the recent improvement in our terms of trade following the fall of the Australian dollar.”

Mr Clarke said the 2010 William Randell Shiraz was awarded 97 points and a ranking in James Halliday’s Top 100 wines for 2012 late last year. The company had also taken out three trophies for their Shotfire and Terra Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend in the Great Australian Red competition recently.

“The International Wine Challenge wins confirm that our wines hold both local and International appeal. It’s a big win for our winery and vineyard team, whose dedication and quality focus have made this success possible”.


Thorn-Clarke Vintage 2013



Vintage Roundup for 2013:

Thanks to a very dry spring and summer vintage 2013 wines are of a high standard.   The weather resulted in little to no disease pressure during the growing season.  Vintage was on average two weeks earlier than normal.

The white wines (all grown on our Mount Crawford vineyard) are showing crisp acid backbones and delicate flavours.

The red wines are intensely coloured and flavoured.  The dry weather however resulted in extremely low crop levels on our red vineyards across the Barossa region.



Helen McCarthy and Anna Broms

Women in Wine


Thorn-Clarke winemakers Helen McCarthy and Anna Broms will be attending the “Women in Wine” event.

Women in Wine Logo

You’ve got to pay it to the Piper



Surf Coast Times 2/4/2013 page 72


“Grapevine” Brought to you by Jon Helmer:


“Believe it or not, but this ‘Piper’ was pipped at the post by only half a point by the winner of last year’s Jimmy Watson Trophy (the Bests 2011 Bin 1 Shiraz- $25, a wine that went on to sell out extremely quickly as per usual with Jimmy Watson winners of yore). Not only that, but the 2011 Sandpiper Shiraz has so far won a Gold Medal at the 2012 Melbourne Wine Show and a Gold Medal at the recent Sydney Wine Show….phew! Considering the price point, this is huge news and punters looking for an exceptional buy should be jumping all over this!

The 2011 vintage was as most know a much cooler vintage with a slower ripening period which has helped produce more elegance than usual in the reds of the Barossa – well known for their big ripe flavours and generous fruit. The Sandpiper range is all about value and the 2011 Shiraz delivers in spades. Typical dark berries, plums and spice dominate the rich palate with a whiff of oak in the background and soft tannins and good length on the finish. Now, how many of you can keep this under your hat so that we all can enjoy it before all hell breaks loose whenword gets out? I wonder.”

2010 Thorn-Clarke William Randell Shiraz- James Halliday 97 points



James Halliday’s Top 100 Wines,

Reds over $20

The Weekend Australian Magazine,

November 2012, Page 29

Inky purple crimson, as the colour promises, a wine saturated with all manner of black fruits and bitter chocolate. Yet it has an open-weave texture that keeps it light on its feet and allows a farewell of juicy fruit to find its way through the quality oak and fine tannins. An exceptional Shiraz.

Drink to 2050 with squab breast.

Thorn-Clarke winner of the Great Australian Red challenge


Every year there is a wine challenge organised by Tyson Steltzer and Matthew Jukes to see who has made the most outstanding blend of Shiraz and Cabernet.

Blending of these two varieties is a practice unique to Australia.

Thorn-Clarke was the winner of this year’s challenge against some very stiff competition

Details were;

Terra Barossa Shiraz Cabernet Petit Verdot 2010

Gold and Trophy for the the best wine under $20

Shotfire Cabernet Shiraz 2010

Gold and Trophy for best wine in the $20 – $50 range

Overall Winner – Trophy for the Great Australian Red 2012

International Wine Show results


We have received some fantastic awards from 4 international wine shows recently:

2008 William Randell Shiraz – GOLD

2010 Shotfire Shiraz – SILVER x 2

2010 Sandpiper Shiraz – GOLD

2010 Shotfire Quartage – GOLD & SILVER

2010 Shotfire Cabernet Shiraz – GOLD


New Winemaker joins Thorn-Clarke Wines

Highly acclaimed Barossa Winery Thorn-Clarke is pleased to announce that Helen McCarthy will be joining the family owned company as its’ Senior Winemaker on the 4th October.

Helen cut her teeth as a graduate winemaker at Southcorp before moving on to Taylors Wines where she remained for nine years. In her new role, Helen will have oversight of all Vineyard and Winery operations.

Helen is highly credentialed as she has completed the Len Evans tutorial and the Wine Industry Future Leader’s program in addition to holding a degree in Oenology from Adelaide University with First honours. She is currently a fully certified wine show judge and is studying for an MBA.

She has been involved in crafting some great wines in previous roles and is looking forward to taking over the winemaking reins at Thorn-Clarke. Given Thorn-Clarke’s fabulous success in the market place, Helen plans to keep making the same outstanding quality but already has a few ideas as to how the wines might be developed further.

Given Helen’s great background and approach to leadership, everyone at Thorn-Clarke Wines is looking forward to working with her.

Former winemaker, Derek Fitzgerald who made some great Estate wines over his eight  vintages with Thorn-Clarke is moving on to pursue other opportunities in the industry.

Thorn-Clarke’s Estate grown wines from the Barossa has been one of the outstanding success stories of the past 10 years in the Australian Industry.

If you have any questions, please contact Sam Clarke on 0417 989 651.

Latest round of wine show results:


2011 Spiegelau International Wine Competition
Gold – 2009 Sandpiper Cabernet Sauvignon
Gold – 2009 Shotfire Shiraz
Silver – 2009 Sandpiper Shiraz

2011 International Wine Challenge London
Gold – 2008 Terra Barossa Shiraz
silver – 2009 Shotfire Shiraz
Silver – 2010 Mount Crawford Riesling

2011 Sydney Royal Wine Show
Gold– 2009 Sandpiper Shiraz

2010 Barossa Wine Show
Gold – 2008 Terroir Series Malbec
Gold – 2010 Sandpiper Riesling
Silver – 2009 Sandpiper Shiraz
Silver – 2009 Sandpiper Cabernet Sauvignon
silver – 2008 Shotfire Quartage

2010 Perth Wine Show
Gold – 2006 William Randell Shiraz
Gold – 2008 Shotfire Quartage
Gold – 2009 Sandpiper Shiraz
Silver – 2009 Shotfire Shiraz

2010 Royal Queensland Wine Show
Trophy ‘Best Merlot in Show’ – 2009 Sandpiper Merlot

Smoking Good Time at Thorn-Clarke For Gourmet Weekend


As the clouds drew back, the winter gloom went up in smoke for our annual Barossa Gourmet Weekend. Guests were treated to a ‘Smoking Good Time’, with spit roasted, Hutton Vale lamb along with some smoking good acoustic rock covers from local band, Little Black dress.

Shiraz, Chardonnay and Tawny infused American and French oak was used on the spit roaster to subtly flavour the lamb from local gourmet producer Hutton Vale. Master Chef Finalist Callum was seen tasting the delightful food offerings on the day.

The entertainment was provided by cult Barossa musos ‘Little Black Dress’. With their inimitable sound, the group dazzled the crowd with favourites from the 60’s 70’s and beyond. The kids were also looked after with fun activities in their very own Play castle. Everyone enjoyed the day and we did not have to turn anyone away as we had a new larger marquee and licensed area.

The 2011 Gourmet Weekend will be held on the same weekend in August. Hope to see you there.

Latest round of wineshow results


2009 Barossa Wine Show
Gold – 2008 Sandpiper Shiraz
Silver – 2008 Sandpiper Pinot Gris
Silver – 2008 Shotfire Quartage
Bronze – NV Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot
Bronze – 2007 Shotfire Quaratge

2009 Mundus Vini (Germany)
Gold – 2008 Sandpiper Shiraz
Gold – 2007 Sandpiper ‘The Blend’
Silver – 2007 Shotfire Quartage

2009 Perth Wine Show
Silver – 2008 Sandpiper Shiraz
Silver – NV Chardonnay Pinot Noir
Bronze – 2006 William Randell Shiraz
Bronze – 2008 Shotfire Shiraz
Bronze – 2007 Shotfire Quartage
Bronze – 2009 SP Riesling

2009 New Zealand Liquorland Top 100
Gold – 2008 Shotfire Shiraz
Silver – 2008 Sandpiper Shiraz
Bronze – 2007 Sandpiper Cabernet Sauvignon

2009 New Zealand International Wine Show
Gold – 2006 Shotfire Quartage
Gold – 2008 Shotfire Shiraz
Bronze – 2008 Cool Woods Shiraz
Bronze – 2008 Sandpiper Shiraz
Bronze – 2007 Sandpiper Cabernet

2009 Adelaide Wine Show
Gold – 2007 Shotfire Quartage
Silver – 2009 Sandpiper Riesling
Silver – 2008 Sandpiper Shiraz
Bronze – 2008 Shotfire Shiraz 2008
Bronze – 2006 Sandpiper ‘The Blend’

2009 International Riesling Challenge
Bronze – 2009 Sandpiper Riesling

Thorn Clarke scores great reviews

Campbell Mattinson & Garry Walsh; 2009 / 2010 The Big Red Wine Book
2007 Shotfire Shiraz awarded ‘Boutique Bargain of the Year’ – 94 points. This is stagerring value. It’s rare to find a wine at this price that you can pop confidently into the cellar and expect to improve over a handful of years, yet this will do it in a canter. What makes us bubble with enthusiasm even more, though, is that it tastes great right now, because it’s so rich, chewy, balanced and smooth. They reckon it will start becoming scarce on shop shelves around October 2009 – so get in quick.
– 2007 Shotfire Quartage – 92 points
– 2006 Morello Nebbiolo – 91 points
– 2006 Sandpiper Merlot – 89 points
– 2007 Sandpiper Shiraz – 89 points
– 2007 Sandpiper Cabernet Sauvignon – 87 points

James Halliday; 2010 Australian Wine Companion – Five Star Winery
– 2006 William Randell Shiraz, 94 points
– 2008 Sandpiper Eden Valley Riesling, 94 points
– 2007 Sandpiper Cabernet Sauvignon, 91 points
– 2007 Shotfire Shiraz, 91 points
– 2007 Shotfire Eden Valley Chardonnay 90 points

Tony Love – Adelaide Advertiser June 17, 2009
2007 Shotfire Shiraz, 92 points. Typical Barossa Shiraz, plums and chocolate characters, underlying oak elements with good bright fruit lift towards the finish for a flourish.
Cambell Mattinson Winefront Monthly, 8 April 2009

2005 William Randell Shiraz, 93 points. Dense, licoricey, hit with a good deal of creamy vanillin oak but tidy and tannic through the finish. Packs a punch but keeps itself nice too. Blackberry and coconut notes too. Avoids overt jamminess, despite its ripeness and strength. Of course you have to like the Big Warm Red style, but it’s a good version of it.

Winestate Magazine March / April 2009
– 2007 Sandpiper Shiraz ‘Top 40 Best Buy’
– 2007 Shotfire Shiraz 4.5 stars and top of category
– 2006 Sandpiper Barossa Blend 4 stars and equal top of category

Winestate Magazine November / December 2008
– 2008 Sandpiper Riesling 4 stars

Tim White – The Australian Financial Review, 28 November 2008
2006 Morello Nebbiolo; 93 Points. Varietally authentic Australian Nebbiolo for under $20? Amazing! Smells really good this: loganberries, a sniff of violet, hot terracotta and really quite perfumed. Attacks forest berry sharp and sapid on the tongue, builds big, scrunchy ‘nebb tannins, which then melt at the back and mingle with the pippy fruit.

Cambell Mattinson – Winefront Monthly, 21 October 2008
2008 Sandpiper Riesling, 89 points. Talk about mouthfeel. There’s almost a creaminess here. It tastes of lime and passionfruit pulp and drives all the way though the finish – it blooms with flavour and somehow maintains it. Unusual ‘shape’ in the mouth for a riesling but a good drop, no doubt. Nice value too.