Jimmy Watson History & Memorial Trophy

Jim Watson first opened the doors of JC Watson Wine Merchants in 1935, having relocated from nearby Gertrude Street in Fitzroy. At this time in Australia most men drank beer, women drank very little and seldom in public. The most common drinks were 'threepenny dark' port and sweet sherry, and Jim knew he had his work cut to introduce table wine to the Australian drinking palate. In spite of this the business was successful and grew rapidly.

Around 1940 Jim started organising trips to vineyards he purchased wine from to educate customers whilst he selected hogshead of his favourite wine styles, dry whites, young reds and great fortified wines to be taken back to the bar and bottled for sale. He marked these hogsheads with a Lion roaring over a barrel, a feature still found on the labels of Jimmy Watson wines today.

In 1960 Jim decided to redesign the existing wine bar layout to better incorporate the three shops on the current site, an important aspect of the renovation was that the building must have atmosphere. Roy Grounds a prominent architect was approached to do this, but owing to an already heavy workload, he delegated this task to an up and coming architect by the name of Robin Boyd, who submitted various designs for renovations and the present design was accepted and renovation finally completed in mid-1963. Business continued throughout this process. The building was acclaimed by customers and fellow architects, many who came to sit and admire the space and intimacy.

After Jim's sudden death in February 1962, a group of friends & customers decided at his funeral to establish the perpetual Jimmy Watson Trophy for the best one year old red still in barrel at the Royal Melbourne Show. On the 50th anniversary the entry criteria was widened to include two year old finished wines.

The trophy is still arguably Australia's most coveted wine trophy, with hundreds of entries in its' class each year, which has been won by some of the biggest names in the Australian wine industry including, Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Hardy's, Wynns, Cape Mentelle and Seppelt to name just a few.

Trophy Winners

Year Winery Wine
2013 Yabby Lake Vineyard Yabby Lake Block 1 Pinot Noir 2012 (Mornington Peninsula)
2012 Best's Great Western Great Western Bin '1' Shiraz 2011
2011 Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers Mon Pere Shiraz 2010
2010 Harvey River Bridge Estate Joseph River Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
2009 Eden Road Wines 'Long Road' Shiraz Hilltops 2008
2008 Flametree Wines Flametree Cabernet Merlot 2007
2007 Scarpantoni Estate Wines Scarpantoni Estate Wines Brothers Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
2006 Shingleback Wines Shingleback D Block Reserve McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
2005 Geoff Merrill Wines Reserve Shiraz 2004
2004 Casella Estate Yellowtail Premium Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
2003 Saltram Wine Estate The Eighth Maker Shiraz 2002
2002 Rosemount Estate Hill of Gold Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2001
2001 Pepper Tree Wines Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
2000 Punter's Corner Spartacus Shiraz 1999
1999 Wolf Blass Wines Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
1998 Katnook Estate Katnook Estate Shiraz 1997
1997 Gulf Station Vineyards De Bortoli Wines Yarra Valley Reserve Shiraz 1996
1996 Hardy Wine Company Eileen Hardy Shiraz 1995
1995 Leasingham Wines Leasingham Classic Clare Shiraz 1994
1994 Rouge Homme Wines Pty Ltd Richardson's Red Block Dry Red 1993
1993 Elderton Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 1992
1992 B Seppelt & Sons Ltd Harpers Range Cabernet/Malbec 1991
1991 Mitchelton Vintners Pty Ltd Mitchelton Shiraz 1990
1990 Peter Lehmann Wines Pty Ltd Peter Lehmann Show Reserve Shiraz 1989
1989 Haselgrove Wines Pty Ltd Jamiesons Run Dry Red Shiraz 1988
1988 Thomas Hardy & Sons Pty Ltd Hardy's Collection Series Cabernet Sauvignon 1987
1987 Riddoch Wines Riddoch Estate Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz 1986
1986 Lindeman's Wines Pty Ltd Coonawarra Pyrus Premium Claret Blend 1985
1985 Hollick Wines Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 1984
1984 Cape Mentelle Vineyards Cabernet Dry Red Claret 1983
1983 Cape Mentelle Vineyards Cabernet Dry Red Claret 1982
1982 Hamilton's Ewell Vineyards Mildara JW Classic Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz 1981
1981 Lindemans Wines Pty Ltd St George Cabernet Sauvignon 1980
1980 Krondorf Wines Pty Ltd Cabernet Sauvignon 1979
1979 Orlando Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Red Claret 1978
1978 Miller's Chateau Yarrinya 'Chateau Yarringa' Dry Red Claret 1977
1977 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1976
1976 Wolf Blass Wines Black Label Dry Red Claret 1975
1975 Wolf Blass Wines Black Label Dry Red Claret 1974
1974 Wolf Blass Wines Black Label Dry Red Claret 1973
1973 Berri Co-op Winery & Distillery Cabernet Shiraz Dry Red 1972
1972 B Seppelt Cabernet Sauvignon TTI 47 1971
1971 Gramps Orlando Barossa Valley Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Red Claret 1970
1970 Basedow Wines Bin 15 Dry Red Cabernet Sauvignon 1969
1969 F E Osborn & Sons Pty Ltd d'Arenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 1968
1968 Penfolds Claret Type (Grange) 1967
1967 Saltram Wines (Cabernet component of Saltram Mamre Brook Cabernet Shiraz) Burgundy Type 1966
1966 Penfolds Claret Type (Grange) 1965
1965 B Seppelts & Sons Pty Ltd Seppelt Great Western Shiraz 1964
1964 Penfolds Bin 64 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon Claret Type 1963
1963 Hardy's Tintara Mildara Cabernet Sauvignon 1962
1962 Stoneyfell Wines Metala Cabernet Shiraz Claret Type 1961
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