Here Is the 2017 Top 50 List

10 May 2017. Words by YGOW.

Tonight, 50 of Australia’s best young winemakers were announced in front of over 250 wine and food icons, and wine enthusiasts, with an event held at Circa and the Prince Bandroom in St Kilda, Melbourne.

The First Drop DANGER ZONE award for the “most adventurous wine” was also presented on the evening and went to Brave New Wine’s 2016 “Wonderland” Botanical Riesling – a riesling infused with native botanicals, made in the Great Southern region of Western Australia.

Brave New Wine Wonderland Danger Zone Andries Mostert

The Top 50 list via state is as follows…


  • Adam Castagna from Castagna & Adams Rib, Beechworth
  • Belinda Thomson from Crawford River Wines, Hentry
  • Chris Bendle from DCB Wine, Yarra Valley
  • Chris Catlow from Sentio Wines, Yarra Valley/Beechworth
  • Damian North from Journey Wines, Yarra Valley
  • David Chatfied and Nathan Reeves from Out of Step, Pyrenees/Yarra Valley
  • Dylan McMahon from Burton McMahon, Yarra Valley
  • Jayden Ong from La Maison de Ong/One Block, Yarra Valley
  • Jen Pfeiffer from Pfeiffer Wines, Rutherglen
  • Justin Purser from Best’s Great Western, Great Western
  • Kaspar Hermann, Will Byron & Sam Middleton from Onannon, Mornington Peninsula
  • Melanie Chester from Sutton Grange Winery, Bendigo
  • Michael Dal Zotto from Dal Zotto Wines, King Valley
  • Rory Lane from The Story, Grampians
  • Sam Cook & Alastair Reed from Konpira Maru, Kilmore
  • Shaun Crinion from Dappled Wines, Yarra Valley
  • Stuart Proud from Proud Primary Produce, Yarra Valley
  • Tim Shand from Punt Road/Airlie Bank, Yarra Valley
  • Tessa Brown & Jeremy Schmolzer from Vignerons Schmolzer & Brown, Beechworth

Bennie Schmolzer Brown Stock


  • Alex Head from HEAD Wines, Barossa Valley
  • Alex Schulkin & Galit Shachaf from The Other Right, Adelaide Hills
  • Anna Hooper from Cape Jaffaa, Mount Benson/Limestone Coast
  • Anthony Pearce & Craig Turnbull from Gestalt Wines, Adelaide Hills/Barossa
  • Brett Grocke from Eperosa, Barossa Valley/Eden Valley
  • Charlotte Hardy from Charlotte Dalton Wines, Adelaide Hills
  • Con-Greg Grigoriou from Delinquente Wine Co, Riverland
  • Damon Koerner from Koerner Wine, Clare Valley
  • Taiita & James Champniss from Ten Miles East, Adelaide Hills
  • John Hughes from Riesling Freak, Clare Valley
  • Josh Pfeiffer from Whistler, Barossa Valley
  • Luke Growden & Caleigh Hunt from Year Wines, McLaren Vale
  • Michael Downer from Murdoch Hill, Adelaide Hills
  • Michael Papps from Yelland & Papps, Barossa Valley
  • Philip LeMessurier from Corduroy Wines, Adelaide Hills
  • Rob Mack from Aphelion Wine Co., McLaren Vale
  • Steven Crawford from Frederick Stevenson/Giovanni Armani Giorgio, Barossa Valley
  • Vanessa Altmann from Switch Organic Wine, Eden Valley

Mike Bennie Anna Hooper Nick Stock


  • Chris Carpenter from Lark Hill Biodynamic Wines, Canberra District
  • Peter Windrim from Krinklewood Biodynamic Vineyard, Hunter Valley
  • Shannon Burgess-Moore from De iuliis Wines/Grandis Wines, Hunter Valley
  • Tom Ward from Swinging Bridge, Orange
  • Xanthe Freeman from Freeman Vineyards, Hilltops


  • Yoko & Andries Mostert from Brave New Wine, Great Southern
  • Coby Ladwig from Singlefile Wines, Great Southern
  • Kate Morgan from Ipso Facto Wines, Margaret River
  • Remi Guise from tripe.iscariot, Margaret River
  • Ryan O’Meara from Express Winemakers, Great Southern


  • Gilli & Paul Lipscombe from Sailor Seeks Horse, Tasmania
  • Peter Dredge from Meadowbank, Tasmania
  • Ricky Evans from Two Tonne, Tasmania

All the winemakers received a Top 50 medallion on the evening, which also serves as a bottle opener. Because, as they say, making wine is all about drinking beer! And the winemakers were quick to draw their weapons on some beers at the event, courtesy of local craft brewer, Mountain Goat.

Peter Windrim Kirnklewood

The Top 50 won their place after a two-day tasting by the judges of multiple wines from around 200 winemakers.

Judges included Nick Stock (Gourmet Traveller WINE; et al), Mike Bennie (Delicious; et al), Emma Farrelly (State Buildings), Philip Rich (The Lucas Group), Pip Anderson (MONA), Josh Elias (Alquimie), Rory Kent (Young Gun of Wine Founder; Executive Style) and Josephine Perry (Dormilona, 2016 Young Gun of Wine winner).

The remaining opportunity for public to attend an event is at the People’s Choice, being held on May 24 in Sydney and June 19 in Melbourne.

Young Gun of Wine Top 50 selfie

Young Gun of Wine Top 50 medallion bottole opener