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Who is James Halliday & What Are His Ratings?

Who is James Halliday & What Are His Ratings?

Wine Knowledge |

You’ll notice that in many of our wine descriptions we include reference to James Halliday and his wine & vineyard ratings. But why should this particular man and his personal rating system shape our impression of the wines offered by Vendimia each quarter?
James Halliday is one of Australia’s most respected wine critics and vignerons. His career spans 47 years, and he is widely known in the industry for his witty and informative writing about all things wine. He was one of the founders of the Brokenwood vineyard in the Hunter Valley and Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley, and is an unmatched authority on every aspect of the wine industry, from planting and pruning to making and marketing. Over his career James has contributed to more than 60 books on wine, with his most notable publication being the annual Australian Wine Companion — recognised nationally as the industry benchmark resource on Australia vineyards and the wines they produce.

As part of developing the content for the Australian Wine Companion and its supporting website, James developed his own system for rating wineries and their wines. With Australia broken down into its 63 distinct wine regions, James began nominating the best wineries in each regions using a three-tier classification system.

At the very top are the wineries with both their names and their star rating printed in red; these have been generally recognised for having a long track record of excellence – truly the best of the best.

Next are wineries with their stars (but not their names) printed in red, which have had a consistent record of excellence for at least the last three years.

Those wineries with black printed names and stars have achieved excellence this year (and sometimes longer). The vast majority of wineries that supply Vendimia are Halliday 4 star rated or greater.

After rating the winery, James then rates most of the individual wines produced by them. These wines are rated numerically by him within a range from 75 to 99 points. Wines from 86 to 99 points are considered Bronze/Silver or Gold medal standard wines. The wines included in Vendimia subscriptions invariable carry James Halliday ratings of between 90-95 points.

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