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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
    • Aphelion Wine Co.
    • Rob Mack
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2017, 2018

    2018 Young Gun of Wine
    2018 Top 50
    2017 Top 50
    2017 Best New Act

    Rob Mack, inspired by a bottle of wine on an ocean cruise (true), sidestepped a promising business career to immerse himself in the far less reliably rewarding (financially, that is) world of wine. A shared obsession with food and wine with his wife Louise got the idea over the line, and their McLaren Vale brand,…

    • Billy Button Wines
    • Jo Marsh
    • Alpine Valleys

    • 2016, 2018

    2018 Top 50
    2016 Finalist

    Jo Marsh’s Billy Button Wines is an exploration of Victoria’s Alpine Valleys and the cultural influence that has seen them grow to be prime territory for many lesser known Italian grapes – amongst others. Marsh leaves no stone unturned, working with a dizzying range of varieties to make textured and deftly structured wines that speak…

    • Dappled
    • Shaun Crinion
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2017, 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2019 Finalist
    2018 Top 50
    2017 Top 50

    Shaun Crinion didn’t exactly grow up surrounded by a strong wine culture. Although today the Sunshine Coast does have an expanding wine-growing industry, that wasn’t exactly the case when Crinion was growing up in the ’80s. Sand, sunshine and the like were the order of the day, with the only vinous connection being his uncle,…

    • 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…

    • Head Wines
    • Alex Head
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2011, 2012, 2013, 2018

    2018 Top 50
    2013 People's Choice
    2013 Finalist
    2012 Finalist
    2011 Finalist

    Lured over from the fine wine side of the game, Alex Head left behind roles in an auction house, wine merchant and importer to get his hands dirty in the rugged soils of the Barossa Valley. The first Head wines hit the market in 2006. His wines are Barossa through and through, but there’s a…

    • Koerner Wines
    • Damon & Jono Koerner
    • Clare Valley

    • 2017, 2018, 2019

    2019 Young Gun of Wine
    2019 Top 50
    2019 Finalist
    2018 Top 50
    2018 Finalist
    2017 Top 50

    Damon and Jono Koerner are the second generation to run the family’s Clare Valley vineyard. And they have taken it from an exclusively contract operation to the primary fruit source of one of the most exciting young labels on the market: Koerner Wine. That fruit resource stretches back before Jono and Damon’s parents took possession…

    • L.A.S. Vino
    • Nicolas Peterkin
    • Margaret River

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50
    2018 Finalist

    Nic Peterkin’s L.A.S. Vino was created in 2013, sandwiched between some pretty serious periods of study and travel. Today, it is one of Margaret River’s keenest of cutting-edge labels, mining the region for vineyard sites of singular interest, with a focus on sustainable and mostly organic viticulture. The wines are often built around experimental techniques,…

    • Lark Hill
    • Chris Carpenter
    • Canberra District

    • 2017, 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50
    2018 Danger Zone
    2017 Top 50
    2017 Finalist

    Chris Carpenter grew up on the family vineyard, Lark Hill. And but for a science degree that got diverted to wine science, as well as vintages with Penfolds and Seppeltsfield, that’s more or less where he has remained. Working primarily with chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling and grüner veltliner from their cool site, as well as…

    • Meadowbank
    • Peter Dredge
    • Tasmania

    • 2017, 2018

    2018 Top 50
    2017 Top 50
    2017 People's Choice

    After an injury sidelined a young Peter Dredge from his chosen sporting career, winemaking dropped a lifeline. A healthy tenure buried inside the Petaluma and then Bay of Fires machines provided a backbone for a career that became significantly more public when he launched his Dr Edge label and took on the winemaking duties at…

    • Mewstone
    • Jonathan Hughes
    • Tasmania

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Finalist
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50
    2018 Best New Act

    It’s rare for a young winemaker to kick of their solo career with their own vineyard informing their wines, and it’s even rarer to have planted that vineyard themselves. Jonathan Hughes, with the help of his brother Matthew, did with the Mewstone vineyard and wine label. And this is no story of generational wealth at…

    • Rieslingfreak
    • John Hughes
    • Clare Valley

    • 2017, 2018

    2018 Top 50
    2017 Winemaker's Choice
    2017 Top 50

    Perpetually afforded the tag of Australia’s nicest and most affable winemaker, John Hughes also has a very serious side, with a slavish obsession to his favourite grape, riesling. Hughes’ Rieslingfreak imprint has been steadily redefining that noble grape, bending it into all manner of shapes, and making perfect sense at the same time. His wines…

    • Sutton Grange Winery
    • Melanie Chester
    • Bendigo

    • 2017, 2018

    2018 Top 50
    2018 People's Choice
    2017 Top 50

    Melanie Chester had squeezed an awful lot into her winemaking career when she took the helm at the highly regarded Sutton Grange Winery in 2015, with a wake of accolades and high-quality experience trailing behind her. She was only 26. Since then she has worked tirelessly to further enhance an already stellar reputation built by…

    • Switch Organic Wines
    • Vanessa Altmann
    • Eden Valley, Langhorne Creek

    • 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50
    2017 Top 50
    2017 Finalist
    2013 Finalist

    Not everyone would trade in their only form of transport for a tonne of pinot noir grapes. Thankfully, in 2010, Vanessa Altman waved goodbye to her Nissan Pulsar and welcomed the first fruit into what would become her own project, Switch. Having worked at the organic pioneer Temple Breuer (certified organic way back in 1995,…

    • tripe.Iscariot
    • Remi Guise
    • Margaret River

    • 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Finalist
    2019 Winemaker's Choice
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50
    2017 Top 50
    2017 Finalist

    Hailing from Cape Province, South Africa, Remi Guise came to Margaret River in 2007 to visit, and hasn’t, as yet, made it back. The following year, he took on an entry-level role with Naturaliste Vintners, and is now the Senior Winemaker under Margaret River legend Bruce Dukes. And as fine an operation as that is,…

    • Wilimee
    • Ben Ranken
    • Macedon Ranges

    • 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist
    2019 Top 50
    2019 Finalist
    2018 Top 50

    Ben Ranken has been tirelessly restoring his Wilimee vineyard, which is one of the Macedon Ranges oldest. Converting the vines to being dry grown, while implementing organic practices (not yet certified), his focus is on chardonnay and pinot noir planted to two distinct soil types – granite and Cambrian – with two varietal wines currently made that are reflective of site and farming, with winemaking taking a backseat. Ranken also matures bottled pinot noir underwater for five years – a shipwreck-inspired endeavour.