Thorn-Clarke Wines Blog

Sydney International Wine Competition 2016



Top 100/Blue Gold: 2014 Sandpiper Shiraz and 2014 Sandpiper Cabernet Sauvignon:

We are very happy to announce that two of our Sandpiper varietals our 2014 Sandpiper Shiraz and Sandpiper Cabernet Sauvignon have received a Top 100/Blue Gold award at the Sydney International Wine Competition for 2016.

This award is well earned as there are logistical constraints to judging wine alongside appropriate food. Firstly the judging panel being of such high calibre is only kept together for a limited time, secondly only a maximum of 2,000 entries are accepted. Thirdly, only the highest pointed wines (20% plus or minus) from the first phase Varietal judging can be advanced to the Style Judging – “Judged With Food” phases. For consumers, all this makes this Competition’s Awards very meaningful, but it also means up to 80% to 85% of the total entry do not receive Awards recognition.

Sydney International Top 100 Blue Gold

2015 International Wine and Spirits Competition Trophy: 2012 Ron Thorn Shiraz


We are very proud to announce that our 2012 Ron Thorn Shiraz has won the Trophy for Best Shiraz/Syrah in show at the 2015 International Wine and Spirits Competition!

Please see our press release below for more detail:

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

The 2012 vintage of Thorn-Clarke’s flagship Ron Thorn Shiraz came away with the Trophy for Best Shiraz / Syrah in show, in a field of outstanding wines from around the globe.

The 2012 Ron Thorn is only the second release of this super premium Shiraz named in memory of Cheryl Clarke’s (nee Thorn) father Ron who was a Barossa grape grower.

Over the last 15 years the family-owned ‘quiet achievers’ have logged an impressive record of 23 trophies for their Barossa wines from International and major Australian wine shows.

Winemaker Helen McCarthy was thrilled with the win commenting;

‘I’m really happy with the result given it’s only our second go at making Ron Thorn.  The wine was made with a respect for our past and an eye on our future.   It proves that our vineyards are amazing and that simple somewhat non-interventional winemaking is best.  We look forward to continuing to making world class Shiraz from the St Kitts vineyard well into the future.’

The International Wine & Spirits Competition was established in 1969 and is now in its 46th year.

What sets the IWSC apart is the formidable reputation of its judging process. Our panels of carefully selected industry experts comprise Masters of Wine, buyers, sommeliers, WSET qualified educators and respected wine journalists. Every single wine is assessed on its own merits within the context of its class.

Currently receiving entries from around 90 countries, the IWSC is truly international in its reach and recognition.”

James Halliday’s Wine Companion 2016!


We are very pleased to announce that for the 10th year running Thorn-Clarke has been awarded the 5 red star rating from James Halliday. Not only that but eight out of the twelve Thorn-Clarke wines reviewed including our Ron Thorn and William Randell Cabernet Sauvignon, received James Halliday’s special value star which is given to wines that represent outstanding value!

2012 Ron Thorn Shiraz: 97 Points

2012 William Randell Cabernet Sauvignon: 97 Points

2014 Eden Trail Riesling: 96 Points

2012 Shotfire Quartage: 95 Points

2013 Shotfire Shiraz: 95 Points

2013 Thorn-Clarke Graciano: 94 Points

2012 William Randell Shiraz: 93 Points

2013 Shotfire Quartage: 93 Points

2012 Eden Trail Shiraz: 93 Points

2012 Shotfire Cabernet Shiraz: 92 Points

2010 Thorn-Clarke Vintage Port:90 Points

2014 Sandpiper Riesling: 90 Points





Ron Thorn Shiraz: Grand Gold Medal


We are proud to announce that Ron Thorn Shiraz 2012 has been awarded a Grand Gold Medal at this years Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. This was the only Grand Gold Medal awarded to Australian wine.

Ron Thorn Shiraz 2012 is now available to purchase in our cellar-door and selected retailers world wide!

2012 Shotfire Quartage: 95 Points James Halliday


Another fantastic score, this time 95 points from James Halliday for our 2012 Shotfire Quartage. This highly respected wine expert made the following comments “A blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot and merlot. Comes from a distinguished line of wines that have over-delivered, and this wine is up with the best of those made to date. While much of its quality comes from the vineyard, it has also been very well made; its blackcurrant, redcurrant, cherry and spice flavours flow in a seamless stream across the palate and aftertaste.”

This wine is available from our online store, via our wine club or reputable distributors around Australia.

‘Top Wine of Show’: Shotfire Shiraz 2011


Judging is finalised and the results are in for the 2015 Hong Kong International Wine Challenge. Our Shotfire Shiraz 2011 vintage was awarded the prestigious ‘Top wine of Show’ in the ‘Shiraz around the World’ class!

The Hong Kong International Wine Challenge is one of the few wine competitions around the world where wine is judged alongside food, in Hong Kong it is alongside Sichuanese, Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisine.

Thorn-Clarke is having a good run with competitions that judge alongside food after earlier this year being awarded The Kemenys Trophy for ‘Best Value Dry Red Wine’ at the 2015 Sydney International Wine for our 2012 Sandpiper Shiraz.

2010 Ron Thorn: Wine Spectator Insider, 95 Points


A new label for Thorn-Clarke Wines the “Ron Thorn” has quickly gained credibility within the wine industry as a wine to take note of: “Big and rich, with powerful, meaty, spicy black fruit and creme brulee flavors that gain momentum in an open texture. The finish is framed by fine tannins and refreshing acidity on the long finish. Drink now through 2025. Wine Spectator Insider, 95 Points”.

2012 Sandpiper Shiraz, Top 100, Blue Gold, Kemenys Perpetual Trophy Winner!


We have received confirmation that our 2012 Sandpiper Shiraz has not only been awarded a Blue Gold and Top 100 rating but also has been awarded the Kemenys Perpetual Trophy for Best Value Dry Red Table Wine of Competition at the 2015 Sydney International Wine Competition.

For more information on these results please click on the following link

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.”