Criteria and Process
The Young Gun of Wine Awards are open to young wine labels as well as winemakers on the rise within established wineries. The ‘young’ in the Young Gun of Wine Awards mostly refers to young wine labels. We don’t focus on date of birth, but the winemakers are under 45 years of age (born after 01/07/1978 for the 18th annual YGOW Awards)… You typically have to have some significant experience before you can successfully launch a meaningful new wine project.
A winemaker submits two commercially available wines. The two wines submitted by the winemaker are tasted side-by-side. They are not tasted blind. A general assessment of the quality of the wines is first made, before deeper discussion on the appeal and interest of the wine in the glass, and then the bigger picture of the winemaker: their creativity and leadership; the execution of their product in a wholistic sense; and the context of the individual and their work in the wine landscape today. This discussion is aided by written facts provided by the winemaker at the time of wine submission, enabling insight to the product, the person and their practice.
Accolades and trophies
Each year we announce a group of finalists – Top winemakers – in the running, and we present those finalists through events and/or online activities, with the intent of having all wine lovers express their thoughts through the People’s Choice Award.
The Winemaker’s Choice trophy is our peer award, chosen by that year’s finalists. This trophy was introduced from 2013.
The Best New Act goes to a first-time finalist in our winemaker awards that is making a profound impression. This trophy was introduced from 2013.
The Danger Zone is the only trophy in our winemaker awards that goes to a wine product. It recognises a wine that successfully pushes the boundaries. This trophy was introduced from 2017.
The Vigneron – an award which celebrates makers that also lovingly tend to the land and the vines that they make wine from.
the Young Gun of Wine Award is our top trophy. It goes to an emerging producer that is not only making outstanding wine, but also demonstrating vision and leadership, and nailing the entire pitch, packaging and presentation of their product.
The 18th Young Gun of Wine Awards is now open. Registrations close December 8, 2023.
Recent changes to the YGOW Awards
For those who have participated in YGOW previously, please note the recent evolutions to the program:
- We provide written feedback to winemakers on their entries from our panel tasting.
- As of 2021, we introduced a new trophy to recognise the best vigneron winemaker.
- All finalists have profiles written and published at younggunofwine.com
- Winemakers can submit any wines for the tasting panel in January, without having to hold back stock for the People’s Choice events. I.e., any wines made by the winemaker can be shown at any of the events – these do not need to be the same as the wines submitted for the tasting panel in January.
- Registrations for 18th annual YGOW: November – December 8, 2023
- Submissions for the tasting panel: January, 2024
- Finalists announced: April, 2024
- Events across multiple cities: ~May/June, 2024
- Trophy presentation for all finalists: June, 2024
- All winemakers get written feedback on the submission to our panel tasting
- All finalists will have a profile of themselves, their brand and their wines written for younggunofwine.com, with additional in-depth articles, and social media engagement
- All finalists included with marketing and press materials to other media outlets
- All finalists included in trade events
Register now. Complete the registration form before December 8, 2023.
Submitting wines to the tasting panel:
- Winemakers are to submit two wines for the tasting panel. We will provide further details by January (2024) re conditions of entry, delivery details, etc.
- Wines are submitted in January for the tasting panel convening early February.
- You choose whatever two wines you wish to submit to the tasting panel in January.
- Also at the time of submitting wines, we ask you some additional questions, to provide additional facts for the panel of your winemaking and the product, as well as insight to your journey.
- If you are included as a finalist, you may choose to show whichever wines you wish at the awards events in 2024 before the trophy presentation.
Submit two wines for the tasting panel at start of 2024 (further details will be provided by January, 2024).
If amongst the finalists:
- Send three bottles of each of the two wines in March (further details will be provided by end of February, 2024) for media and promotion purposes.
- Pay $200 plus GST contribution to production and marketing costs (this includes fee includes ability to exhibit at a trade event), payable by May 2024.
- There will be trade events across multiple cities. Participation in a minimum of one event is required (and participation in more than one event is optional). For each trade event, you will need to pour or arrange to have a representative pour your two wines at the event. These can be any two wines of your choosing.
- Supply bottles of your wines for the trophy presentation as appropriate.
How to register
Complete the registration form before December 8, 2023.
We will be in touch by January 2024 with submission details for your wines.
Is there an age limit on entrants?
The winemakers must be born after 01/07/1977.
Can I submit more than two wines for the tasting panel?
You can only register the YGOW Awards once per year, and must submit no more and no less than two wines (submitted in January 2024).
Are the two wines entered for the tasting panel the same wines shown at the events?
Not necessarily. You are free to show any of your chosen wines at any of the events.
How do I submit the wines for the tasting panel?
We will contact all registrants by January with further details for submitting wines in January.
Do my two wines need to be from the same producer?
Not necessarily. The two wines may come from one brand or two separate labels made by the same winemaker.
Can I enter as a winemaking partnership?
Yes. Please note, if entering two brands by a winemaking partnership, both wines submitted must be made by the duo – ie, not one label each from two individuals.
Any advice about which two wines to send in for the tasting panel at start of 2024?
Part of the Awards is having to choose which two wines to enter. Put your best foot forward. The wines have to be delicious. First and foremost, the winemaker is assessed on what is in the glass, and then broader topics such as the winemaker’s vision, leadership, creativity and execution comes into the discussion.
How are the wines assessed by the tasting panel?
The two wines submitted by the winemaker are tasted side-by-side. They are not tasted blind. A general assessment of the quality of the wines is first made, before deeper discussion on the appeal and interest of the wine in the glass, and then the bigger picture of the winemaker: their creativity and leadership; the execution of their product in a wholistic sense; and the context of the individual and their work in the wine landscape today.
Can I submit a barrel sample or blend that has not yet been bottled?
The wines submitted for tasting panel must be finished bottled product – either already in market, or ready for commercial release. If the bottled product is not labelled, that is acceptable. However, please note that we are interested in all aspects of people’s work, and packaging is something that the tasting panel looks at.
What if my wine is not labelled?
It’s in your best interest to have your wine labelled, however, submitting a labelled product for the tasting panel is not mandatory.
Can I get feedback about my wines from the tasting panel?
Yes! All winemakers will receive written feedback on their submissions to the panel tasting. Feedback will be sent to all unsuccessful applicants around April, while successful applicants may request further feedback from the panel after the trophy presentation.
Have you got firm dates for the 2024 events at this stage?
We will confirm the event program for 2024 at some stage in March 2024. The events are for finalists only, and will conclude withe the trophy presentation by early June 2024.