Yesterday afternoon, we announced the 2018 Young Gun of Wine award winners, at MONA, in Tasmania.

Just as we’ve been leading people to exciting wines for twelve years, we’re now also leading people to places for a fun wine experience through the Wineslinger award – for the best venue in Australia to head for a glass of wine, served with a sense of approachability, energy and adventure.

The trophies presented yesterday afternoon were the “Ootra BEST NEW ACT”, “PEOPLE’S CHOICE”, “ Classic Oak Products WINEMAKER’S CHOICE”, and the “Riedel YOUNG GUN OF WINE”, all going to the people behind the wine. The “First Drop DANGER ZONE” was also announced, awarded to a single product. The first ever “Ocean Eight WINESLINGER”, as decided upon by over 100 sommeliers and winemakers, and the “Innocent Bystander PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINESLINGER”, chosen by the Australian public was also announced.

“It looks like the keyword from 2018 is ‘approachability’! Winemakers are breaking ground with new varieties, and exploring new techniques, all in the search of more delicious wines made from our climate and for our palates”, says YGOW founder Rory Kent.

The prestigious Riedel YOUNG GUN OF WINE for 2018 went to Rob Mack from Aphelion in McLaren Vale, South Australia. Upon receiving the coveted award Mack said, “I could not be happier right now, this is a win for us but it’s also a reflection on the melting pot of creativity in McLaren Vale. To be picked at the top of this list of truly awesome winemakers is a testament to our family’s winemaking values.”

Aphelion Young Gun of Wine

The PEOPLE’S CHOICE, as decided upon by the public at two tasting events in Melbourne and Sydney, was given to Melanie Chester from Sutton Grange Winery in Bendigo, Victoria. “We’re so excited to receive the YGOW People’s Choice award for 2018. Our wines are grown and made to be shared and enjoyed with the people you love. So to know that people enjoy our wines enough to buy a bottle and share it with the people they love is really satisfying,” Chester said on winning the award.

Sutton grange young gun of wine

The Classic Oak Products WINEMAKER’S CHOICE, voted on by the Final 12 winemakers, was taken out by Gilli and Paul Lipscombe from Sailor Seeks Horse in the Huon Valley, Tasmania. The offered: “It’s awesome. Your peers voting for your wines – nothing beats it. There’s so much that goes into planting a vineyard, growing great fruit and making something that gets people excited that to get a pat on the back from people you respect is amazing.”

Sailor Seeks horse Young Gun of Wine

The Ootra BEST NEW ACT, was given to Jonathan Hughes from Mewstone in Tasmania, who was ecstatic with the news, “It’s great to get some affirmation for what we’re trying to do and we can’t wait to get back to work and get more wine out there.”

The First Drop DANGER ZONE award was also presented on the afternoon, going to the most adventurous wine. 2017 Lark Hill Gruner Veltliner from Canberra took out the award. Nick Stock, chief judge summed up Lark Hill’s win: “This award recognises a winemaker that really hangs it out and chooses a more risky option. Grüner Veltliner is a difficult grape to get right in Austria, let alone Australia, and Chris Carpenter has nailed it at Lark Hill. It’s an extremely hard wine to get right, there’s no legacy or experience to draw on. He’s done it himself and he’s done it exceptionally well.”

lark hill young gun of wine

The Ocean Eight WINESLINGER is decided upon by over 100 sommeliers, winemakers and industry leaders, and this year was taken out by City Wine Shop in Melbourne. “We’re over the moon and blown away to have received the inaugural Wineslinger award. It means a lot to have been selected by our industry peers. Thanks to all winemakers for making delicious wines, to our customers for supporting us and to all our staff, both front and back of house. We are very proud and humbled,” said Isabelle Agnes, Manager of City Wine Shop.

city wine shop wineslinger

The Innocent Bystander PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINESLINGER, as voted on by the Australian public, was awarded to Harvest Newrybar, located a short drive out of the iconic Byron Bay.

Sommelier Russ Berry reflected on Harvest’s win, “We’re so excited to have received the award, it’s very satisfying to see that people are all enjoying wine as much as we are. We are having a lot of fun up here, particularly with introducing people to smaller producers, lesser known styles and varietals, particularly those that will become much more commonly planted throughout Australia as our climate changes. We love Australian wine, and thank you so much to all who voted.”

Harvest newrybar wineslinger

“Bars and restaurants are the places we so often discover a wine for the first time – and venues are now offering more fun, interest and surprise to the whole experience for wine lovers. There’s never been a better time to get into wine! From the Top 50 lists, to the trophy winners, these are products and places to seek out,” said Kent.

The 2018 judges of the winemaker awards were Nick Stock (Chief Judge, Gourmet Traveller WINE, et al), MikeBennie (Delicious, et al), Caitlyn Rees (2017 Gourmet Traveller Sommelier of The Year), Emma Farrelly (2017 Good Food Guide WA Sommelier of The Year), Michael Downer of Murdoch Hill (2017 YGOW winner), Lisa Cardelli (Rosetta), Pip Anderson (MONA), and Rory Kent (founder of YGOW).