Australia’s Best Young Wine Labels & Winemakers in 2024

11 April 2024. Words by YGOW.

This year marks the 18th annual edition of the Young Gun of Wine Awards. Since 2007, we’ve scoured the country for the best emerging talent, winemakers on the rise who are reshaping the wine landscape by creating their own no-compromise projects or reimagening established brands with a new vision. They’re the glitteringly bright future of Australian wine. The annual list has become the go-to guide for drinkers looking for cutting-edge wines. The Top 50 winemakers for 2024 have just been announced, and they’re an exciting lot.

“Presenting our top winemakers for 2024, it’s incredible to look back to 2007 and note just how much has changed in the wine landscape since then,” said YGOW founder Rory Kent. “From the grape varieties that winemakers have access to, to the new and reimagined winemaking techniques, to the look of labels and the way people engage with, talk about and experience wine, the culture has dramatically evolved. Those 18 years have flown by, and it’s become a wonderful new world of wine.”

The Top 50 finalists in this year’s awards were selected from a long list of entrants. Over two days of intensive judging, a panel of leading industry figures from across the country tasted their way through the wines to select who was in the running for the six trophies: Young Gun of Wine, Best New Act, People’s Choice, Winemaker’s Choice, Danger Zone, and the Vigneron.

“Every year, we’re seeing new ideas from the emerging talent, and they’re shaping the environment that we get to enjoy,” said Kent. “It’s also not just about the products – it’s the learnings that peers can take from their adventurous winemaking. It’s also how they’re presenting, labelling and talking about their work – how they’re connecting with wine professionals and consumers. That’s why, uniquely and since day one, the wines for the Young Gun of Wine Awards are not tasted blind. These awards are as much about vision and leadership as they are about the quality of wine in the glass.”

The panel gathered Melbourne at the Prince Dining Room (St Kilda). Above: Abby Moret and Nick Stock.
“These awards are as much about vision and leadership as they are about the quality of wine in the glass.”

Rory Kent was joined on the 2024 judging panel by Jeremy Shiell from Winespeake; Meg Brodtmann MW; wine critic Nick Stock; Abby Moret of Atlas Vinifera; and Lauren Langfield from Orbis Wines, the 2023 Young Gun of Wine.

All applicants submitted wines that were all tasted and discussed at length, but their project and its achievements and aspirations as well as their place in their region and the broader wine landscape were given equal airtime.

“With winemakers submitting two wines that are tasted side by side, and not blind, the YGOW judging process is totally unique,” said Master of Wine, Meg Brodtmann. “It was my second time on this panel, and I love how assessing the wine takes everything into consideration. Obviously, the wine in the glass needs to be delicious, but the conversation about the maker and their place in the Australian wine story and all the context around that, is so beneficial. At times, the panel challenged one another’s thinking about wine – it was quite a forum for fostering creative projects.”

“What I love about the YGOW is that it champions winemakers and vignerons who are hardworking risk-takers, with the absolute goal to make really enjoyable wines,” said Lauren Langfield, who took out the Young Gun of Wine Award last year. “Throughout the life of the awards, you can see that it’s always been about celebrating those winemakers who are committed to making exciting and delicious wines. Reading over the winners from 10 or more years ago, these people are now considered as industry greats. Congratulations to this year’s finalists that join the list with the legends that have gone before them! Within the entries this year are some really exceptional wines. I can’t wait to be able to celebrate the successes with this year’s finalists.”

With two days of swirling and spitting and vigorous debate, a consensus was reached.

“Congratulations to this year’s finalists that join the list with the legends that have gone before them! Within the entries this year are some really exceptional wines. I can’t wait to be able to celebrate the successes with this year’s finalists.”
Above: Lauren Langfield. Opposite: Rory Kent.

“The diversity of judges also gave depth to the process,” said Parish. “We all seemed to champion different aspects and I think a fair representation in the finalists. Easy drinking, modern styles were definitely at the forefront, but the surprises came from precision and focus from some young winemakers. They are making age-worthy and unique wines fit for the world stage. After the tasting, I am more confident in the direction of Australian wine. We have such a hotbed of talent and enthusiasm in this generation.”

We now have our top winemakers of 2024. And, like every year, the finalists are a diverse lot.

Makers are swimming against the currents of tradition

There are makers shaking up the establishment in this country’s most traditional regions. One is redefining Hunter semillon in subtle but deeply meaningful ways, while another is making more paradigm-shattering bottlings from the grape. One is colouring outside the lines in Rutherglen to give durif a fresh voice, or rather voices, and Coonawarra cabernet’s norms are reimagined by a second-generation vigneron.

They’re mastering singular pursuits

We have makers digging deep across a panoply of varieties, from the traditional to the emerging, while others are digging deep into just one area, with one making wines that explore a single variety in profoundly varied ways, while another is solely dabbling in the sparkling arts.

They’ve travelled diverse paths to get here

We have a slew of makers who have diverted from more profitable trajectories to pursue the grape. There are those who traded corporate and professional careers, fashion design, the visual arts and graphic design for a life on the land. And then there are others that have only ever had working the vines and making wine in their sights. There are trained makers, and those that have learnt solely on the job. There’s a pair of winemakers turned brewers who have come back to wine, couples that split the duties to get the job done, and friends who pool their resources to stretch their limits.

They’re shaping things from the ground up

We have makers that work the land in sustainable ways, some with all-in biodynamic farming, and some working intuitively and sympathetically to grow the best fruit and wines possible while respecting the environment around them. We have some that source all their fruit, but painstakingly work hand in glove with like-minded growers to always improve together.

They’re exploring far and wide

We have finalists that are working solely in one region, focusing on what it does well, while others spread out much further afield in search of ideal matches of variety to site and climate. There are finalists making wine in both the northern and southern hemispheres, while others are determined to explore the possibility of their patch of land that’s been in the family for decades.

People’s Choice voting and prizes

If you want to have your say on who is Australia’s best winemaker, the People’s Choice voting is live online via this link. Everyone that votes will go into a draw to win a year’s supply of wines (52 bottles) from Young Gun of Wine.

People’s Choice voting will be open until Tuesday 18th June. Go to this link.

In 2024, half of the finalists are new to the Top 50 winemakers list. Here is the complete list:

South Australia

Agricola (Callum Powell)
Alpha Box and Dice (Sam Berketa)
Cape Jaffa Wines (Giulia Fiorovic & Federico Pezzino )
Curator Wine Co (Daniel Zolotarev)
Guthrie (Hugh Guthrie)
J & S Fielke (Jemma & Steven Fielke)
Jean Bouteille Wines (Jean-Baptiste Courdesses)
Kenny Wine (Andrew Kenny)
Mountadam (Caitlin Brown)
Parley Wine (Melissa Woods & Sarah Feehan)
Poppelvej (Uffe Deichmann)
Saltfleet Wines (Kyle Egel & Jonny Cook)
Scanlon Wines (Harry Scanlon)
Turon Wines (Turon White)
Wangolina (Anita Goode)
Worlds Apart Wines (Louis Schofield)
XO Wine Co (Greg Clack & Kate Horstmann)


Alessandro Stefani (Alessandro Stefani)
Alkimi Wines (Stuart Dudine)
Allevare (Lucy Kendall & Alysha Moscatt)
ECK Wines (Emily Kinsman)
Gum Wine (George McCullough)
Honky Chateau (Chris Ryan)
Jones Winery & Vineyard – J6 Wines (Benjamin Jones)
Juliard Wines (Jules Morey & Bernard Morey)
Little Frances (Erin Frances Pooley)
Mac Forbes Wines (Hannah Maltby)
Meredith Wines (Ben Luker)
Mise En Place Wines (Doug Lilburne)
Musical Folk (James Becker)
Nomads Garden (Ben Dahlenburg)
Patch Wines (Matt Talbot)
Port Phillip Estate (Tim Perrin)
Portsea Estate (Matt Lugg & Will Ross)
Scion (Rowly Milhinch)
Tillie J Wines (Tillie Johnston)
Werkstatt Wine (Bridget Mac)


Agitate (Andrew Ling)
Aristotelis Ke Anthoula (Tony Zafirakos & Maddison Park-Neilson)
Intrepidus Wines (Chrissie Smith)
Linear Wines (Nathan Brown)
M&J Becker Wines (Meagan & James Becker)
Sabi Wabi (Peta Kotz)


Aunt Alice (Alice Davidson)
Marco Lubiana (Marco Lubiana)
Utzinger Wines (Matthias Utzinger)

Western Australia

Fervor (Callum Garland)
Chalari Wines (Alexi Christidis)
Mon Tout (Nic Bowen & Richard Burch)
Vallée du Venom (Rhys & Emma Parker)

The winners of the six trophies – the Young Gun of Wine, Best New Act, People’s Choice, Winemaker’s Choice, Danger Zone, and the Vigneron – will be announced on Tuesday 18th June.

The Young Gun of Wine Awards is presented with thanks to Amorim Cork, Cornershop design, Locke Logstics, Nexia Australia accountants, Sanector wine services, WBM magazine, and Vintrace software.

The 2024 finalists can also be seen as a group via this page.

Bookmark this job

Please sign in or create account as candidate to bookmark this job

Save this search

Please sign in or create account to save this search

create resume

Create Resume

Please sign in or create account as candidate to create a resume