Winners of the tenth annual Young Gun of Wine Awards have been revealed in an event at the POW Kitchen & Bandroom.
Mark Baulderstone of Riedel Australia said of Perry’s win: “Riedel are proud to present the Young Gun of Wine because it represents creativity and excellence, virtues close to our hearts. Congratulations to Jo Perry on taking the trophy, a terrific winner. Her Dormilona wines are pushing the creative boundaries in Margaret River whilst maintaining precision and quality.”
Having picked up the Best New Act in 2013, Perry was a finalist for the third time this year. “I was stoked to be in the top 12 again this year so when my name was read out it was a great surprise and an honor to receive the award. It makes all those sleepless nights thinking of my wine babies worth it, and it gives me great confidence to keep following my instincts.”The “People’s Choice”, decided by the wine buying public, was taken by Ricky Evans of Two Tonne Tasmania. “It’s been great to engage people with these wines through the Young Gun events, and tell them my story. Some of it clearly stuck! Taking out this award affirms that wine buyers are getting what I’m trying to do: making wines that have a sense of place, yet they express style in my own way. It’s also about representing the Tamar Valley sub region, and Tasmania. It’s a really exciting time for the Tasmanian wine industry.”The “Ocean Eight Winemaker’s Choice”, voted by the finalists, was won by Michael Downer of Murdoch Hill in the Adelaide Hills, going back to back after tying for the same award last year.
On presenting Downer with his trophy, Michael Aylward of Ocean Eight reflected, “The success of Ocean Eight and my reputation as a winemaker was dramatically elevated after winning the award in 2011. Young Gun of Wine is the best platform for emerging winemakers throughout Australia to show their wares. It has a great energy that normal wine shows and awards lack. I’m sure this win will provide another great step for Murdoch Hill.”Downer was naturally ecstatic, “I was pumped to just be selected in the final twelve. Getting the vote of approval from my peers is a huge honour. I have always tried to make drinkable wines with a sense of place, showing finesse and purity. To gain approval with this award really brings integrity to my wines.”
Button has a focus on wines with ‘drinkability’ from their organic and biodynamic vineyard. “Natural wine is finding a place very quickly through many folk because it makes sense. It’s about letting the fruit speak for itself, not the winemaker speaking for the fruit. It makes discussion about what’s in the glass more accessible and therefore more interesting to a wider bunch of people, because fruit speaks to anyone!”Brian Walsh, Chairman of Wine Australia and industry doyen, spoke to guests at the trophy presentation: “This competition is different from all others and brings a unique energy and vitality to the sector. In the decade of its existence, The Young Gun of Wine Awards has become an incubator for emerging talent in the Australian Grape & Wine Community. A casual perusal of the nominees since 2007 reads like a who’s who of the contemporary wine scene in Australia.
“Wine purchasing can be a daunting experience for some consumers, but to a person the young gun nominees work to demystify wine, talking of accessibility and fun, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries in their craft.”
Nick Stock, who has led the panel of judges since the competition’s inception, summed it up, “These awards are about gathering like-minded and uniquely individual talents together, rallying eclectic and far flung tastes, making noise, getting them noticed and having a fucking great time along the way.”
There were 12 winemakers in contention for four trophies but competition founder Rory Kent says all of these finalists can consider themselves winners, “The judging is rigorous and spots for the final 12 fiercely competitive. All finalists should feel proud of their accomplishment in making the top 12, as it means they are creating outstanding wines and their vision is striking a chord with industry leaders.”
Photos by James Morgan