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Top Winemakers Those who have appeared as finalists in our annual winemaker awards since 2007.

Winemakers Directory

Awards Key

Young Gun of Wine

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.

People’s Choice

Taste is subjective. Every individual is the best judge of their own palate. Established in 2007, the People’s Choice is decided by the public, choosing from the list of finalists in our annual winemaker awards.

Winemaker’s Choice

The Winemaker’s Choice trophy is our peer award, chosen by that year’s finalists. This trophy was introduced from 2013.

Best New Act

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.

Danger Zone

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.

Filters

  • Wine label
  • Winemaker
  • Region
  • Award
  • Year
    • Jamsheed
    • Gary Mills
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2008, 2009

    2009 Finalist
    2008 Finalist

    Gary Mills was an early advocate of a boots and all approach with whole-bunch fermentation, making a significant impression of the possibilities for how shiraz could be made, while also celebrating sites and subregions that never typically graced front labels. His Jamsheed single vineyard wines represented a watershed moment in winemaking in Victoria, and his…

    • Kalleske
    • Troy Kalleske
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2007, 2008

    2008 Finalist
    2007 People's Choice
    2007 Finalist

    With a Barossan grape-growing heritage as deep as they come, Troy Kalleske was always destined to make his name in wine. But bucking the family history of contract growing, Kalleske made and labelled the first wines under the family name after nearly 150 years of growing, and he did so with organic fruit from their…

    • Luke Lambert
    • Luke Lambert
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2008

    2008 Finalist

    We’d hazard that there are relatively few Brisbane 14-year-olds that dream of being winemakers, but this was the solid ambition of a young Luke Lambert in the 1990s. That passion burnt strong, taking him to Europe to be immersed in travel, food and wine, before returning to study and slog towards the end goal of…

    • Mac Forbes
    • Mac Forbes
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2008, 2009, 2010

    2010 Finalist
    2009 Finalist
    2008 Finalist

    Mac Forbes has become one of the great champions of sub-regional expressions from the Yarra Valley. With a prime focus on chardonnay and pinot noir, Forbes set about mapping the intricacies of the Yarra through an array of prime sites that he leases and meticulously manages. The Mac Forbes wines also take in Germanic-feeling rieslings…

    • Ocean Eight
    • Mike Aylward
    • Mornington Peninsula

    • 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

    2011 Young Gun of Wine
    2011 Finalist
    2010 Finalist
    2009 Finalist
    2008 Finalist

    With an adolescence and early adulthood spent working (while not studying) at his family’s game-changing Kooyong estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, Mike Aylward was only heading in one direction. A science degree had to get knocked off first, but his first vintage, a lone pinot gris, was released under the Ocean Eight banner a year…

    • Radford Dale
    • Ben & Gill Radford
    • Eden Valley

    • 2008

    2008 Finalist

    • Seppelt
    • Emma Wood
    • Grampians

    • 2008, 2009

    2009 Finalist
    2008 Finalist

    • Spinifex
    • Pete Schell
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2008

    2008 Young Gun of Wine
    2008 Finalist

    At a time when the Barossa was very much still set in its ways, with high ripeness, glossy oak and power the order of the day, Pete Schell was quietly but firmly rattling the dominant paradigm with his Spinifex wines. And this was long before some of today’s most recognisable iconoclasts had even thought about…

    • Syrahmi
    • Adam Foster
    • Heathcote

    • 2008, 2009

    2009 People's Choice
    2009 Finalist
    2008 People's Choice
    2008 Finalist

    Chef-turned-sommelier-turned-winemaker Adam Foster has carved out a significant identity for himself, both making Rhône-inspired reds under his Syrahmi imprint and bone-dry, textural rosé and savoury sangiovese under his co-lab Foster e Rocco label. Once somewhat itinerant, Foster has now set down roots in Tooboorac at the southern end of Heathcote, where he has planted a…

    • William Downie
    • William Downie
    • Victoria, Gippsland, Yarra Valley

    • 2007, 2008

    2008 Finalist
    2007 Finalist

    William Downie is this century’s original enfant terrible of wine. Well, in Australia at least. A cheerful iconoclast that scythed through convention long before lo-fi winemaking had taken a firm grip on the emerging generation of makers. With a broad smile and a self-deprecating manner, Downie forged his own path of minimal intervention with scant…

    • Wines by KT
    • Kerri Thompson
    • Clare Valley

    • 2007, 2008

    2008 Finalist
    2007 Finalist

    Wines by KT was started nearly a decade and a half ago on impulse. An opportunity to buy some excellent Clare Valley fruit saw Kerri Thompson jump from her corporate winemaking role and go it alone. Since then, Thompson has helped to redefine riesling in this country, with a drilling down on specific sites and…