Boutique Pyrenees wine producer, Peerick, has taken out the coveted Noel Hooper Perpetual Shield for Best Shiraz in this year’s Western Victorian Wine Challenge.
The award presented to Peerick for their 2019 Reserve Shiraz at Ararat on Friday, was a first for the Pyrenees producer, outscoring 40 entries in the class, including previous award winners, Bests, Blue Pyrenees, Mount Langhi Ghiran, Grampians Estate and Taltarni.
Peerick co-owner Michael O’Hara said it was a real honour. “This recognition means a lot to a small producer like us and is just reward for the hard work and effort we’ve put into our wines. My wife Felicity and I purchased Peerick 4 years ago after a long search for a suitable vineyard. The previous owners, Chris and Meryl Jessup, who established Peerick back in the 1980’s, hadn’t made wine here commercially for over 15 years. But they left us with an established and exceptionally well-maintained vineyard which we’ve been quickly able to capitalise on in re-establishing the Peerick brand”.
“Felicity and I stumbled across Peerick quite by accident, Mr O’Hara said. I’d been recruited to take over the General Manager role for another Pyrenees producer, but the position fell through. By chance, Peerick came up for sale not long after. To be honest I knew very little about the Pyrenees beforehand. But now, we are an integral part of the wine community here and blessed to own a vineyard in what I consider the most under-rated wine region in the country. Plus, the views here of the Pyrenees are truly magnificent. It doesn’t get much better than this”, he said.
The O’Hara’s retained vineyard manager, Ray Barnes, who has been at Peerick for over 25 years. Together with winemakers, Robert Heywood and Ben Howell from Taltarni and Andrew Davey from Melbourne Polytechnic, they have assembled a formidable team, committed to making great wine and promoting the Pyrenees region to the world.
The Wine Challenge win caps off a stellar 2022 award season so far for Peerick; with Gold Medal wins for their Reserve Shiraz at the AWC in Vienna, a Double Gold from Winestate Magazine and 94 points from James Halliday; as well as Double Gold wins for both Peerick’s Sauvignon Blanc and Two Nurses Viognier at the 2022 Melbourne International Wine Show.
Peerick, in the heart of the rugged Australian Pyrenees, is a fusion of ancient cultures, spiritual connections & commitment to sustainability & biodiversity.
We maintain a deep connection and respect for the ancient and fragile country from which our wines are derived. It permeates everything we do from our hand picking and hand pruning viticultural practices through to our minimal intervention wine making. We’re committed to maintaining a rich, healthy, sustainable and diverse eco-system for our vines to thrive in.
Our name, derived from the Aboriginal word ‘beeric’, was bestowed on the Pyrenees region by its traditional custodians, the Dja Dja Wurrung. Their beliefs and dreamtime stories, together with the triskele from our Celtic culture, are proudly depicted on our wine labels. It encompasses both ancient cultures deep spiritual connection to the earth, water, sky and its creatures – in essence our terroir. All working in harmony to produce our distinctive range of quality, award-winning wines. Slainté
About the Western Victorian Wine Challenge
The annual Western Victorian Wine Challenge showcases the best wines from Western Victoria’s four winemaking regions: the Grampians, Pyrenees, Henty and Ballarat. Judged by a panel of wine industry experts, the Challenge provides a valuable benchmark for producers and trade and wine enthusiasts.
About Michael O’Hara
Michael prior to purchasing Peerick was General Manager for Strathbogie Ranges wine producer, Baddaginnie Run. He has worked extensively in Australian Agribusiness including senior roles in Ag Chem, Animal Health, Animal Nutrition, Banking and Finance and Ag Technology. He has tertiary qualifications in Ag Science from Dookie Agricultural College and Marketing from Monash University. He returned to study in his 50’s, completing the degree in Viticulture and Wine Making at Melbourne Polytechnic.