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
    • A. Rodda Wines
    • Adrian Rodda
    • Beechworth, Yarra Valley

    • 2012, 2015

    2015 Young Gun of Wine
    2015 Finalist
    2012 Finalist

    Following a decade-long tenure at Oakridge, Adrian Rodda upped stakes and moved to Beechworth, in Victoria’s north-east, to take up joint stewardship of one of the region’s most significant, and significantly under-utilised vineyard resources, Smiths. It’s no surprise, given his time working with David Bicknell, that chardonnay happened to be front and centre, with Rodda…

    • 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…

    • Chapter
    • Jarad Curwood
    • Heathcote

    • 2015

    2015 Finalist

    • Cirillo
    • Marco Cirillo
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2015

    2015 Finalist

    • Eperosa
    • Brett Grocke
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2015, 2017

    2017 Top 50
    2015 Finalist

    • Frederick Stevenson
    • Steve Crawford
    • Adelaide Hills, Barossa, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Eden Valley

    • 2015, 2018, 2020

    2020 Winemaker's Choice
    2020 Finalist
    2018 Top 50
    2015 Winemaker's Choice
    2015 Finalist

    Steve Crawford’s wine career began before he could vote, but it took him some time to pitch his own label, wary as he was of just injecting another range, much like the other ones, into a saturated market. Extensive forays into Italy and France gave shape to a sensibility that changed that, and his alias…

    • 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…

    • Simão & Co. Wines
    • Simon Killeen
    • Rutherglen

    • 2015, 2016, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2019 Finalist
    2016 Finalist
    2015 Finalist

    With a range that covers significant territory, from the Alpine and King Valleys to Beechworth, Glenrowan and Rutherglen, Simon makes wine from all five of the North-East’s regions.

    • Tom Foolery
    • Ben Chipman
    • Barossa

    • 2014, 2015

    2015 Finalist
    2014 People's Choice

    Over his career, Ben Chipman has worked with some of the Barossa’s legendary names, and its biggest characters. With a bright-eyed approach and compelling sense of energy, Chipman has soaked up a lifetime of experience while moving from marketing man to hands-on winemaker. His lithe and vibrant Tomfoolery wines, built on both Barossa stalwarts and…

    • Unico Zelo
    • Laura & Brendan Carter
    • Adelaide Hills, Riverland

    • 2015

    2015 People's Choice
    2015 Finalist

    Brendan and Laura Carter are the duo behind the ground-breaking Unico Zelo winery and Applewood Distillery in Gumeracha, in the Adelaide Hills. Working with both local grapes and those sourced a little farther afield, they have recalibrated the potential for new varieties and even unglamorous sites like few before them. Nero’ d’avola, fiano, barbera, dolcetto,…

    • Year Wines
    • Luke Growden
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2022

    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist
    2019 Top 50
    2017 Top 50
    2015 Finalist
    2015 Best New Act

    Year wine was founded by Luke Growden and Caleigh Hunt to celebrate McLaren Vale through their lens, with minimal-intervention techniques and a focus on bright approachability, purity and a vibrant reflection of the year that shaped the wines – hence the name. A key player in the grenache revival in the Vale, Year Wine also specialises in climate-apt varieties like fiano and cinsault.

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