In the Young Gun of Wine Awards, our Danger Zone trophy goes to the most adventurous wine. It’s an accolade that rewards deliciousness and the spirit of a maker not afraid to colour outside the lines. It’s somewhat fitting then that First Drop Wines have sponsored the award from the start, since 2017. First Drop’s Matt Gant was crowned the inaugural Young Gun, in 2007, with a paradigm-shifting montepulciano that set the scene for the boundless vinous creativity that has fuelled Young Gun of Wine.
2019 Top 50 Winemakers
Here it is, in the 13th annual edition of Young Gun of Wine (YGOW), this year’s Top 50: the 50 best young wine labels and winemakers on the rise in Australia for 2019.
The 2019 Top 50 includes 19 winemakers from South Australia, 13 from Victoria, eight from Western Australia, seven from New South Wales/ACT, two from Tasmania and one from Queensland.
60% of this year’s winemakers are new to the annual list, highlighting the depth of emerging wines across the country. Rory Kent, founder of YGOW offered, “Each year, the Top 50 list gets harder and harder to decide, which demonstrates the increasing quality and calibre of new wine labels in Australia. Added to that, there’s a diversity of people, places and paths to wine, which makes this collection of winemakers so compelling and creatively igniting for the direction of Aussie wine.”
This year’s tasting panel reviewed around 250 wines over two days at King & Godfree, to determine the Top 50. The panel included Nick Stock (Chief Judge, Gourmet Traveller WINE, et al); Mike Bennie (Delicious, et al); Pip Anderson (MONA); Josephine Perry of Dormilona (2016 Young Gun of Wine winner); Rob Mack of Aphelion Wine Co (2018 Young Gun of Wine winner); Penny Grant (Ghanem Group Sommelier – BlackBird Brisbane and Donna Chang); international guest, Leah Rinadli from USA’s leading distributor of natural wines, Jenny & Francois; and Rory Kent (Founder of YGOW).
“What I found most interesting with the wines for YGOW 2019, was the way in which classic varieties, traditionally grown to that geographical indication, were reinterpreted with unique fun-loving winemaking, yet in a very classy way, with purity and depth,” said Josephine Perry.
Nick Stock, who has led the panel since its inception in 2007, summed up: “I can say hand on heart that these awards have built an incredible network of support and leadership around the new and emerging winemaking scene in Australia. Whether directly or through simple observation, the winemakers that have been recognised in recent years mentor and inspire a talented pool of others in the space.
“The polish and conviction seen across the entries this year bode well for the future of Australian winemaking,” Stock added.
The public can also get a taste of the exciting mix of wines in the Top 50 with a special showcase event at Prahran Market on Saturday 13th April. Following last year’s sell-out event, Prahran Market will swing open its doors at night again with the public able to sample 100 wines from the Top 50 winemakers.
Early bird tickets are $55 and available to purchase via: YGOWtop50.eventbrite.com.au.
The Top 50 list via State is as follows:
Tarrant Hansen from Spider Bill Wines, Adelaide Hills
Ben Cook from Cooke Brothers Wines, Adelaide Hills
Adam Lampit from Lambrook Wines, Adelaide Hills
James Hamilton from Golden Child Wines, Adelaide Hills
Jono Hersey from Hersey Vineyard, Adelaide Hills
Sacha La Forgia from Adelaide Hills Distillery, Adelaide Hills
Tom Northcott from Howard Vineyard, Adelaide Hills
Turon White from Turon Wines, Adelaide Hills
Damon Koerner from Koerner Wine, Clare Valley
Michael John Corbett from Sanglier Wines, Clare Valley
Josh Pfeiffer from Whistler, Barossa Valley
Steven Baraglia from Naked Run Wines, Barossa Valley / Clare Valley
Daniel Redman from Redman Wines, Coonawarra
Vanessa Altmann from Switch Organic Wine, Eden Valley / McLaren Vale
Luke Growden from Year Wines, McLaren Vale
Sam Dunlevy from Berg Herring Wines, McLaren Vale
Duncan Lloyd and Peter Lloyd from Dune, McLaren Vale
Alice Davidson from Norfolk Rise / Aunt Alice, Robe / Mount Benson
Peta Baverstock from Cuvée Co. Wines, Limestone Coast
Alister Timms from Shadowfax Winery, Macedon Ranges
Ben Ranken from Wilimee, Macedon Ranges
Liam O’Brien and Matt Brooke from Athletes of Wine, Macedon Ranges
James Sexton from Main Ridge Estate, Mornington Peninsula
Leighton Joy from Pyren Vineyard, Pyrenees
Dave Fletcher from Fletcher Wines, Pyrenese (Vic) / Barbaresco (Italy)
Pat Underwood from Little Reddie, Heathcote
Simon Killeen from Simao & Co Wines, Rutherglen / North East Victoria
Alastair Reed and Sam Cook from Konpira Maru, King Valley (Vic) / South Burnett (Qld)
Matt Froude, Municipal, Strathbogie Ranges
Callie Jemmeson and Nina Stocker from Pacha Mama, Victoria
Jayden Ong from Jayden Ong/One Block, Yarra Valley
Shaun Crinion from Dappled Wines, Yarra Valley
Genevieve and Rob Mann from Corymbia, Swan Valley
Alexi Christidis from Chalari Wines, Frankland River / Perth Hills
Rhys Parker and Paul Hoffman from Vallée du Venom, Margaret River / Swan Valley
Remi Guise from tripe.Iscariot, Margaret River
Julian Langworthy and John Fogarty from Goon Tycoons, Margaret River / Frankland River
Liv Maiorana and Mijan Patterson from South by South West, Margaret River
Kim Tyrer from Galafrey Wines, Mount Barker
Matt Eastwell & Danni Paviour-Smith from Freehand, Great Southern
NEW SOUTH WALES/ACT
Campbell Meeks from Boutique Wines by CSU, Canberra District
Chris Carpenter from Lark Hill Winery, Canberra District
Angus Vinden from Vinden Estate / The Vinden Headcase, Hunter Valley
Daniel Payne from Dirt Candy Wine, Hunter Valley
Shannon Burgess-Moore from Grandis / De Iuliis Wines, Hunter Valley
Will Rikard-Bell from Rikard Wines, Orange
Rob Paulazzo from R.Paulazzo, Riverina
Greer Carland from Quiet Mutiny, Tasmania
Jonathan Hughes from Mewstone Wines, Tasmania
Andrew Scott from La Petite Mort, Granite Belt