IWSC Trophy winner: Bird in Hand

Wine news

Wed 5 May 2021

By Stuart Peskett

There was a time when Chardonnays from Australia were loud and proud, with a generous helping of buttery vanilla from the oak barrels they were aged in. But times have changed, and the best Aussie Chardonnays are now known for their elegance and precision.

This elegance is encapsulated in wines from the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, one of the country’s cooler regions, noted for its Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. It’s also home, however, to some stellar Chardonnays, including IWSC trophy winner Bird in Hand TED Edward Andrew Chardonnay 2017.

The IWSC judges were big fans, scoring it 95/100pts and praising its “jasmine-scented honeyed beeswax” aromas and “classical profile”.

Bird in Hand takes its name from the goldmine that occupied the site in the late 1800s, and is now under the watchful eye of founders Andrew and Susie Nugent. The winery has kept this link with the past, with two of its wines – Nest Egg and Two In The Bush – named after mineshafts from the Bird in Hand goldmine.

Here’s Andrew to explain his winemaking philosophy and how he got into wine in the first place…

Tell us about the history and background of Bird in Hand…

The winery was founded in 1997 when my wife Susie and I purchased a dilapidated dairy farm in the Adelaide Hills with outstanding viticultural potential. We continue to live and work on the property with our three children, one of whom is the inspiration behind this wine. The 24-hectare estate is planted to Chardonnay, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. It is part of a rare, integrated ecosystem where we focus on energy, sustainability and interconnection.


Bird in Hand founder Andrew Nugent

How did you get into wine?

I grew up next to vineyards. My summer vacations as a student were spent picking grapes. After graduation and for the past 27 years, I have lived and worked on our vineyards and together with Susie, the family and an exceptional team – we have built the winery around us.

What is your winemaking philosophy?

Our goal from inception has been to produce wines that sit at the pinnacle of global quality. We are artisan, family winemakers who delight in exploring the links between wine, food, art and culture. Our ethos is to produce elite wines and artistic experiences that provide happiness and joy to a discerning global audience.

We aim to represent ourselves, the talented team that make up the wider Bird in Hand family and the wonderful friends from the worldwide creative community that winemaking has afforded us. We are blessed in Australia with the oldest soils in the world and the most ancient continuous living culture in human history. It is an extraordinary country which we are honoured to play a part in representing.

Our intention is to capture the energy within our ancient land and express it through our craft, and to use our wines as the medium for artistic elevation to beautiful cultural moments that help nourish, inspire and connect us.


What is the best piece of advice you have been given and how did you use that in your winemaking?

To keep going, never stop believing and always confront problems. It has helped in coping with the failures, enduring hardships and understanding the necessity of both.

Who or what has been your most important influence and why?

Kym Milne MW. I began the winery entirely from a vineyard background. Kym’s knowledge, balance and ability to explain complexities in the simplest terms has been invaluable.

How can people best enjoy your wine?

Our wines are best enjoyed in moderation, shared with friends and family, bringing moments of happiness and joy.