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.

The Vigneron

The Vigneron is an award which celebrates makers that also lovingly tend to the land and the vines that they make wine from.


  • Wine label
  • Winemaker
  • Region
  • Award
  • Year
    • BK Wines
    • Brendon Keys
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2014, 2015, 2016

    2016 Finalist
    2015 Finalist
    2014 Winemaker's Choice
    2014 Finalist

    It’s not common to see a tagline for BK Wines’ Brendon Keys that doesn’t mention that he’s a DJ and mad skateboarder (see, we did it too), but at his heart he’s one of this country’s (well, he’s a Kiwi, but he lives here) most progressive, creative and prolific winemakers. You’ll find plenty of classic…

    • Dormilona
    • Josephine Perry
    • Margaret River

    • 2013, 2014, 2016

    2016 Young Gun of Wine
    2016 Finalist
    2014 Finalist
    2013 Finalist
    2013 Best New Act

    The Margaret River story was somewhat heavily inked before Josephine Perry came along, with a brigade of iconic names holding sway. Emerging out of her Perryscope wine consulting business, Dormilona was given breath to elaborate the fruit that was coming off organic vineyards across the region. Her direction was to pick earlier, and to do…

    • Gentle Folk
    • Gareth Belton
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2014

    2014 Finalist

    Gentle Folk was started by Gareth Belton from the 2013 vintage, with three barrels of wine made from Basket Range. Since then, a move to the Adelaide Hills initiated a steep educational curve to get to grips with biodynamic and organic farming and making wines in a dilapidated shed with no running water or electricity….

    • Ministry of Clouds
    • Bernice Ong & Julian Forwood
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2014

    2014 Finalist

    When the needle dropped on Bernice Ong and Julian Forwood’s Ministry of Clouds label they knew exactly what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it. With a focus on McLaren Vale but a reach that takes in the Clare Valley and Tasmania, the pair crafted wines that pitched towards mid-weight, loaded…

    • Murdoch Hill
    • Michael Downer
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

    2017 Young Gun of Wine
    2017 Top 50
    2017 Finalist
    2016 Winemaker's Choice
    2016 Finalist
    2015 Winemaker's Choice
    2015 Finalist
    2014 Finalist

    Before taking the reins at the family vineyard, Michael Downer learnt from some of the finest makers, both here and abroad. He now works from the Murdoch Hill home vineyards, near Oakbank, but also sources higher into the Adelaide Hills for cooler expressions, which inform his cutting edge Artisan Series wines. In a nod to…

    • Pooley Wines
    • Anna Pooley
    • Tasmania

    • 2009, 2014

    2014 Finalist
    2009 Finalist

    Anna Pooley has a had a career that has attracted somewhat of the spotlight, with her skills and determination taking her to some very senior roles at a young age. With a return to the family business, Pooley Wines, she has taken a world of experience and a palate honed on the great wines of…

    • Seville Estate
    • Dylan McMahon
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2011, 2012, 2014, 2017

    2017 Top 50
    2014 Finalist
    2012 Finalist
    2011 Finalist

    Dylan McMahon now helms the estate planted by his grandfather in the 1970s. Seville Estate may not be family-owned anymore, but McMahon is the respectful custodian of that family history, with an unwavering eye to carrying the estate name forward to even greater heights. With a natural focus on the regional stars, chardonnay and pinot…

    • Shobbrook
    • Tom Shobbrook
    • Barossa

    • 2014

    2014 Finalist

    With his eponymous label, Tom Shobbrook shook up wine in this country in the nicest possible way, but he certainly shook it up good. As a natural pioneer, he’s never been one to jam dogma down anyone’s throat, instead he’d just look you straight at you with his smiling blue eyes and tell you exactly…

    • Story Wines
    • Rory Lane
    • Grampians

    • 2011, 2014, 2017

    2017 Top 50
    2014 Finalist
    2011 People's Choice
    2011 Finalist

    While Rory Lane may have a story for each wine he makes, he freely admits his wine background is far from storied itself, with the history side of his ledger somewhat blank. This has certainly not stood in his way, though, with a keen eye for uncovering remote and forgotten vineyard sites of exceptional pedigree…

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