Posted on by Stew Went

"Crawford River is now a foremost producer of Riesling (and other excellent wines), originally thanks to the unremitting attention to detail and skill of its founder and winemaker, John Thomson." James Halliday

"Pound for pound one of the greatest wines in Australia, by my reckoning, value and quality” – Mike Bennie (WineFront) on the 'Original' Crawford River Riesling. 

Let's continue the theme of trail blazers and move further west from Geelong, 220km to be exact, to the rapidly emerging Riesling superstar region of Henty. Indeed, some say (myself included) THE best Riesling region in the country. Henty will never match the Clare Valley and Great Southern for output but I’m confident in time it be regarded as Numero Uno for top quality Riesling.

Pioneering winery Crawford River singlehandedly put Henty on the map and in doing so firmly established itself as one of Australia’s greatest Riesling producers.

John and Catherine Thomson planted the vineyard way back in 1975 at Crawford River. They were inspired the location's potential to produce superior quality grapes. Little did they know Crawford River would pave the way for the industry in what has been a traditionally a wool, beef and dairy region. 

Since the initial plantings in the mid 1970´s, there have been 2 more small plantings. Believing in the fine quality of the Semillon included in the original plantings, John and Catherine added another 0.7 Ha in the early 1990´s.

In 2000, another block of Riesling & Cabernet was added, which now produces the Young Vines Riesling & Rose wines. The cool southerly latitude together with the maritime environment, complex soil structure and favourable micro-climate create a terroir which has justified the initial vision. All vineyards are farmed organically.

Belinda Thomson, elder daughter of John and Catherine, returned home at the end of 2004 after completing her studies in Oenology and Viticulture and pursuing several vintages in various European locations. 

As it happens Crawford River have released a trio of new vintages and we have highlighted these below:

New Release - 'Young Vines' Riesling 2019 $33

This label was originally established to provide a home for more recent plantings of Riesling on the Crawford River property however these vines are now actually 21yrs old so not particularly young! (95pts Wine Companion, 94pts WineFront)

New Release - Riesling 2019 $47

The original wine which has become a bona fide superstar. “Pound for pound one of the greatest wines in Australia, by my reckoning, value and quality” (95 pts - Mike Bennie - WineFront)

New Release - 'Museum Release' Riesling 2013 $77

Awarded 96pts by James Halliday upon release

Cabernet Franc 2018 $45

A rare straight Cabernet Franc from a Victorial producer (95pts Wine Companion)


Apis Gewurztraminer 2018 $24

I was compelled to include an Apis wine to the Crawford River highlights. Apis is winemaker Belinda Thompson's side project - a small collection of wines that embody more experimental winemaking styles or non-estate fruit. In this case the grapes were sourced from the nearby (& highly regarded) Drumborg vineyard. Skin contact, wild yeasts, unfiltered.