The Young Gun of Wine Awards are a celebration of wine culture for a new era of wine lovers. Each year since 2007, through the awards process, we assemble a collection of the most exciting new projects and winemakers on the rise. In addition to presenting the achievements of an annual group of Top Winemakers, we also present trophies: the Young Gun of Wine, Best New Act, People’s Choice, Winemaker’s Choice, The Vigneron and Danger Zone.
Young at Heart
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.
The thing about emerging wine producers is they’re a source of innovation, inspiration and new ideas. They’re not shackled by conventions. They’re free. Wide-eyed; adventurous; eager to travel; to experiment; to remix, they question everything. They create energy. They excite. And this is how they lead.
Whether they’re employed by an established company or running their own show; whether they’re refining traditional styles or getting radical, we want to provide a platform for these people and their ideas.
These awards are about gathering the like-minded and uniquely individual talents together, rallying eclectic and far flung tastes, making noise, getting them noticed and having a ripping time along the way.
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.
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.
Established in 2007, 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.
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.
18th YGOW Awards Calendar
- Registrations for 18th annual YGOW: November–December 8, 2023
- Submissions for the tasting panel: January, 2024
- Finalists announced: by April, 2024
- People’s Choice voting: April – June, 2024
- Trade events, multiple cities: May–June, 2024
- Trophy presentation: June, 2024