Following in the wake of a stellar event getting cosy with the Top 50 at Prahran Market just last week, we can reveal the Final 12 winemakers contending for trophies in the 12th annual awards, to be presented at MONA, Hobart, on Monday 18th June, during the gallery’s popular winter festival Dark MOFO.

Not only is there the top prize of the 2018 Riedel YOUNG GUN OF WINE to be won, there is the BEST NEW ACT, PEOPLE’S CHOICE, the WINEMAKER’S CHOICE awards up for grabs.

The 2018 judges included Nick Stock (Chief Judge, Gourmet Traveller WINE, et al) Mike Bennie (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 Young Gun of Wine winner), Lisa Cardelli (Rosetta), Pip Anderson (MONA), and Rory Kent (Founder of YGOW).

This year, the 12 finalists are made up of three winemakers from Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia, two hailing from Victoria, and one from NSW/ACT, with eight of the 12 finalists gracing this list for the first time:

NEW SOUTH WALES/ACT
Hamish Young from Mada Wines, Canberra District

VICTORIA
Sean Crinion from Dappled Wines, Yarra Valley
Melanie Chester from Sutton Grange Winery, Bendigo

TASMANIA
Jonathan Hughes from Mewstone, D’Entrecasteaux Channel (Flowerpot)
Ricky Evans from Two Tonne Tasmania, Tamar Valley
Gilli and Paul Lipscombe from Sailor Seeks Horse, Huon Valley

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Damon Koerner from Koerner Wine, Clare Valley
David Geyer from David Geyer, Barossa Valley
Rob Mack from Aphelion, McLaren Vale

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Kate Morgan from Ipso Facto Wines, Margaret River
Yoko & Andries Mostert from Brave New Wine, Great Southern
Nicolas Peterkin from L.A.S Vino, Margaret River

Commenting on the Top 50 and Final 12, chief judge Nick Stock offered:

“The celebration of our Top 50 young winemakers is an incredible moment in the showcase in that it draws together the future of Australian winemaking in one group, it was an incredible moment to be at the tasting in Melbourne this year.

“Our Final 12 are excitingly diverse in terms of their geographical spread through five states, and even more so in terms of the wines they are making. They come from such different influences and experience, united in the level of their achievement and the high quality they are hitting. This selection of 12 is always so hotly contested and this year was no different.”

In the countdown to the Final 12 Trophy presentation there will be two People’s Choice Events held at the Prince Wine Stores in both Sydney, on Thursday 14 June at 6pm, and in Melbourne on Saturday 16 June at 12pm.

The overall winners of the various trophies will be announced at The Young Gun of Wine Awards ceremony held on June 18, an invitation only event, at MONA Gallery in Hobart.

In addition to the winemaker awards, the winner of the First Drop DANGER ZONE – going to the most adventurous wine from the entire show – will be announced on the night.

Stock continued, “Tasmania has been well represented in this competition and, with three of our 2018 finalists from Tasmania, it’s great that the awards are being presented in Hobart this year. MONA is a terrific venue to take this awards to.”