This year’s top sweet and semi-sweet wines were revealed last night at the 10th annual International Sweet Wine Challenge.

For the first time in the event’s history, the ultimate title was awarded to a Viognier: the 2013 Freeman Dolcino from the Hilltops in NSW. The Viognier grapes are harvested at very high sugar levels and fermented by wild yeasts in a combination of old and new oak barrels.

 “I am thrilled that this year’s International Sweet Wine Challenge Wine of the Year is the Freeman 2013 Dolcino, as this wine highlights the skills of a small boutique producer, from the granite based Hilltops region, and stands in complete contrast to last year’s winner, the G. Gramp & Sons 2011 Botrytis Semillon,” says chair of judges Sophie Otton.

“A dashing mix of complexity and freshness, the wine is most distinguished by its particular flavour, a characteristic achieved by harvesting partially botrytised sweet wine from the non-traditional Viognier.”

Otton says that this year’s program featured a broader range of styles than seen previously, adding that both the botrytised Semillon and late harvest Riesling were surprisingly less dominant.

“The semi-sweet wine and frizzante filled the space, and the quality was excellent. Producers were mindful of delicacy and freshness, and walked the ever-challenging tightrope of sugar versus acid better than ever.  This was exemplified by the 2014 Tempus Two Copper Moscato, a most deserving winner in this category,” says Otton.

“…We’ve seen all manner and form this year, from late harvest to cane cut, and noble rot across to the museum class, which particularly shows, in their evolution, how glorious these wines can become.”


  • Best Sweet, Moscato style ~      2014 Tempus Two Coppers Moscato
  • Best Mature Sweet, Semillon ~  2010 Cookoothama Riverina Botrytis Semillon
  • Best Mature Sweet, Other Varieties ~ 2013 Freeman Dolcino
  • Best Sweet Wine from Museum Class ~ 2002 Lillypilly Estate Wines Noble Blend
  • 2015 International Sweet Wine of the Year ~ 2013 Freeman Dolcino


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