2020 Halliday Companion Awards | Domaine Naturaliste

Domaine Naturaliste winemaker Bruce Dukes said it was lovely to be recognised by James Halliday and awarded the Best Value Winery in the 2020 Halliday Companion Awards.
Domaine Naturaliste winemaker Bruce Dukes said it was lovely to be recognised by James Halliday and awarded the Best Value Winery in the 2020 Halliday Companion Awards.

Wilyabrup winery Domaine Naturaliste has been named the Best Value Winery at the 2020 James Halliday Companion Awards.

Respected wine writer James Halliday and his tasting panel find Australia's best wines and winemakers every year to be featured in his Halliday Wine Companion guide.

Domaine Natuarliste is based in the heart of Margaret River's wine region, with winemaker Bruce Dukes saying it was lovely to be recognised by James Halliday because he was one of the greatest wine journalists in the world.

Mr Dukes said James had a complete, deep understanding of what he did and the award was exciting because he had been in the industry for 30 years.

"We love the award because the best value does not really refer to the cheapest wines, but the greatest quality to value ratio," he said.

"No matter what wine we make we really strive to optimise that, it is a lovely recognition for something I have been doing for such a long time."

Mr Dukes said throughout the last five years he has had the opportunity to express his personality more through Domaine Naturaliste wines.

"I have been self-employed now for the last 20 years and still do a lot of of custom crush wine making and absolutely love that, it is a gorgeous part of what I do," he said.

"Every time I make wine at vintage I have many vintages of experience, I see so much different fruit from the different regions of Margaret River, which really helps with my learning curve."

Mr Dukes said it had been a fantastic and exciting journey and for the first 25 years of his career he had been really focused on the soil and plants side of wine making and styles.

"Having a wine brand allows me to explore another aspect of the wine industry, as well as express the quirks of my personality through those wines," he said.

"What I seek to do with my wines is display the area I am in, which is Margaret River, and to me the gift of Margaret River is the freshness of fruit perfumes, generous textures and absolute purity of the wine.

"To have this sort of fruit growing right next to me, I just try to capture those beautiful qualities of the fruit and translate them into meaningful styles of wine."

Mr Dukes said his team and the quality of infrastructure at the winery allowed them to try and have a high quality winery so that the variables which controlled quality were the fruit and their skill level as winemakers.

"When we can have the core ingredients translated through to wine without fiddling with them, then that is when we start approaching the opportunity for greatness," he said.

"I am really in love withe chardonnay wines of Margaret River because I believe the fruit is stunning, beautiful flavours, perfumes and very importantly natural acidity.

"My other favourite - these are like my little kids - are Cabernet Sauvignons.

"To me it is such a great variety with global recognition and is so well suited to our soils and climate that the farming of that variety in this area just makes so much sense.

"My interest in Cabernet is what I call medium tannin density wines with high level aromatics because I love my wines to be fragrant, textured and approachable.

"I want them to be fun, as simple as that."

This story Domaine Naturaliste named Best Value Winery at the James Halliday Companion Awards first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.