17 March 2020. Words by YGOW.
The Top 50 winemakers in the 14th annual Young Gun of Wine Awards has just landed. Rather than announcing a Final 12, this year, the Top 50 are your finalists, with the Young Gun of Wine, Best New Act, People’s Choice, Winemaker’s Choice and Danger Zone award winners coming straight from this pool. And it’s one of the most diverse groups we’ve ever seen, with finalists from right across the country, and making wines that couldn’t be more different in style, but all linked by their sheer quality and individual character.
“In an age where tribes have formed within the wine scene, the beauty of the Young Gun of Wine Awards is that it brings together a disparate group. The wines made by the Top 50 winemakers represent all corners, from experimental and natural wines to refined versions of the classics, whether still, sparkling, fortified or even infused, and from Tasmania to Western Australia to Queensland, and everywhere in between,” says Young Gun founder Rory Kent.
This year’s finalists hail from familiar regions, as well as those less well known and some that have been almost forgotten. From the Mornington Peninsula, Margaret River, the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale to Kangaroo Island, the Swan Valley, the Riverland and the Granite Belt, the 2020 Young Gun Top 50 traverses and describes the broad landscape of innovative Australian wine.
“They’re wines that are a reflection of winemakers that push the boundaries of capabilities and ideas. The 2020 list represents a truly diverse collection of the best and latest in Australia right now, and the coming virtual events are an opportunity for wine lovers anywhere to connect with one another, and gain some further understanding of the making behind the wines,” continues Kent.
The strength of the Top 50 means that a lot of worthy contenders missed out, and it was no easy process omitting so many talented makers. Over two long days, the panel, made up of industry leading lights, tasted, discussed and even fought for the producers that they though best captured the spirit of Young Gun of Wine.
Food and drinks writer Max Veenhuyzen was on the panel: “In terms of concept and format, Young Gun of Wine feels like a wine award for the now. The two-day judging process – wines tasted open-book format and discussed by a room of switched-on food and wine folk – echoes the way many of us drink, buy and learn about wine, whether we’re in a bar, bottle shop or at home with mates. Individual discoveries aside, this tasting reiterated – to me – that there’s some seriously cool stuff happening in vineyards and wineries around the country. Australian wine is constantly reinventing and challenging itself and us drinkers are the big winners.”
The Trophy winners will be announced June 1, but in the lead up Young Gun of Wine will also be hosting a series of innovative virtual events.
And now it’s the public’s turn to taste the wines and have their say…
Top 50 Virtual Events
For the first time, Young Gun of Wine will be hosting a series of virtual events in May to showcase the Top 50 winemakers. The interactive video events will feature the winemakers and judges, connecting wine lovers everywhere through an online broadcast. The public will be able to ask questions during the live broadcast, and participate in the experience by purchasing (optional) the specific wines featured in advance.
Tickets are free – but bookings are essential, as the events will be a private broadcast. Bookings via the events link at younggunofwine.com
If you want to have your say on who is Australia’s best winemaker, the People’s Choice voting is live online via younggunofwine.com/peopleschoice
Everyone that votes will receive a $50 voucher* to wine broker Langton’s, as well as go into a draw to win a host of prizes including a Liebherr wine cellar; a two night hotel stay at the luxurious Jackalope Hotel on Mornington Peninsula, with a private winery tasting experience with past local winners Mike Aylward (Ocean Eight) and Rollo Crittenden (Crittenden Estate); and a year’s supply of wines (52 bottles) from the 2020 Top 50 winemakers.
*The $50 Langton’s voucher can only be redeemed by new customers with a purchase over $250.
The Top 50 list via state is as follows:
- Chris Catlow, Sentio (Beechworth/Macedon Ranges)
- Raquel Jones, Weathercraft (Beechworth)
- Natasha Webster, Empire of Dirt Wines(Geelong)
- Ben Mullen, Mulline (Geelong)
- Justin Purser, Dhiaga (Mornington Peninsula)
- Glen Hayley, Kooyong / Port Phillip Estate (Mornington Peninsula)
- Tara & Matthew Campbell, Mattara Wines (Mornington Peninsula / Grampians)
- Alexander Byrne, Noisy Ritual (Melbourne / Geelong / Sunbury / King Valley / Heathcote / Mornington / Gippsland / Grampians / Pyrenees)
- Chris Bendle, DCB Wine (Yarra Valley)
- Tim Perrin from, Oakridge Wines (Yarra Valley)
- Hadyn Black, Black & Ginger,(Great Western / Grampians / Henty / Pyrenees)
- Leighton Joy, Pyren Vineyard(Pyrenees)
- Chris Dilworth & Loique Allain, Dilworth & Allain(Macedon Ranges)
- Renata Morello, Lyons Will Estate(Macedon Ranges)
- Ben Ranken, Wilimee(Macedon Ranges)
- Bart Van Olphen, Chalmers(Heathcote / Mildura)
- Jonathan Ross, Micro Wines (Geelong / Barossa Valley (SA)
- Sholto Broderick & Louis Broderick, Basket Range Wine (Adelaide Hills)
- Dylan Lee, Bird in Hand(Adelaide Hills)
- James Hamilton, Golden Child(Adelaide Hills)
- Michael Sexton, Main & Cherry (Adelaide Hills)
- Sarah Adamson, Scout Wines (Adelaide Hills / New Zealand)
- Tarrant Hansen, Spider Bill Wines (Adelaide Hills)
- Alyson Tannenbaum, Vinteloper (Adelaide Hills)
- Andre Bondar, Bondar Wines (McLaren Vale / Adelaide Hills)
- Charles Seppelt & Skye Salter, Paralian Wines(McLaren Vale)
- Mauricio Ruiz Cantu & Benjamin Caldwell, Somos (McLaren Vale)
- Con-Greg Grigoriou, Delinquente Wine Co (Riverland)
- Ansel Ashby, Gatch Wine (Riverland / Adelaide Hills / Clare Valley)
- Steve Crawford, Frederick Stevenson (Barossa Valley Eden Valley / Adelaide Hills)
- Nick Dugmore, The Stoke Wines (Kangaroo Island)
NEW SOUTH WALES/ACT