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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.

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.

Filters

  • 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…

    • A.R.C. Wines
    • James & Jessica Audas
    • Gippsland

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    James and Jessica Audas launched A.R.C. Wines in 2017, celebrating various Gippsland sites through the lens of organic farming and minimal intervention winemaking. Now with their own vines planted, and a 3-hectare plot under their stewardship, the pair employ biodynamic farming methods (not yet certified) and make wines with no additives – bar minimal sulphur at bottling – and they neither fine nor filter.

    • Ada Wine Co.
    • James Ellis
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    James Ellis’s Ada Wine Co. is based in the Adelaide Hills, but he sources organically grown fruit from across prime South Australian regions where particular varieties excel: McLaren Vale for grenache, Eden Valley for riesling, and chardonnay and pinot noir from the Hills. His approach is built around a lo-fi approach, with no adds apart from minimal sulphur and no fining or filtration.

    • Adelaide Hills Distillery
    • Sacha La Forgia
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2019 Finalist

    Adelaide Hills Distillery founder, Sacha La Forgia started making alcoholic beverages somewhat on the early side, with a pre-legal career in fashioning garden-shed beer, cider, wine and spirits with his father. This was no illicit hooch operation, but rather an extension of his Italian heritage and a means to bond with his dad. When La…

    • Adelina/Some Young Punks
    • Colin McBryde
    • Clare Valley

    • 2009

    2009 Young Gun of Wine
    2009 Finalist

    Cue-ball bald, bespectacled and dripping in tatts, Col McBryde is one of the industry’s most-loved characters. Ruthlessly quick witted and thoughtful, McBryde is about as good humoured as it gets when you’re eking out a living in the ancient dusty soils of the Clare Valley, with a sense of irreverent fun never far beneath the…

    • Agitate Wines
    • Andrew Ling
    • NSW/ACT, Hunter Valley, Orange

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    Andrew Ling’s foray into the winemaking world was serendipitous – his transition into the field in 2001 as a vintage lab assistant, a favor from his soccer coach, prevented this star player from leaving Mudgee. It didn’t take long for the wine bug to bite, and his career has since spanned roles with leading names across Mudgee, Orange, and the Hunter Valley. In 2017, Ling assumed the role of Senior Winemaker at Carillion Wines, a position he retains to this day. His own venture, Agitate Wines, was launched in 2021 with a Pét-Nat Riesling, and the label has since expanded to include five wines. The Agitate wines embrace a minimal intervention approach: unfiltered and unfined, they are “raw and textured,” in Ling’s words, yet “generally bottled in their youth” to capture their brightness and freshness, resulting in eminently gluggable wines.

    • Agricola Wines
    • Callum Powell
    • South Australia, Barossa Valley, Eden Valley

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    From the tapestry of the Barossa’s vine-strewn landscape, Callum Powell is weaving an exciting new chapter with his Agricola label that is a homage to the pursuit of ‘a sense of site’. This journey, rooted in the soils of the famous Torbreck winery, where his formative years unfurled, has blossomed into a quest for a profound connection with the land. Powell’s odyssey took him from the nurturing embrace of the Barossa to the storied terrains of Hermitage at Domaine JL Chave, enriching his palette of winemaking hues. His wax sealed Barossa and Eden Valley wines, with hand illustrated vineyard maps on the back labels, deliver on the goal of perfumed, complex, naturally balanced interpretations of Barossa.

    • Alessandro Stefani
    • Alessandro Stefani
    • Victoria, Yarra Valley

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    Working from his family’s Yarra Valley vineyards, Alessandro Stefani’s journey is a testament to the powerful pull of heritage and land, with roots extending from the Yarra Valley to Tuscany across generations of his winegrowing family. His eponymous label, Alessandro Stefani, features a Cabernet Franc and a Sangiovese in its debut offering, launched in 2024, providing an alternate perspective on the family’s Stefani Estate Yarra Valley wines.

    • Alkimi Wines
    • Stuart Dudine
    • Heathcote, Yarra Valley

    • 2021, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Stuart Dudine’s Alkimi Wines is built around his passion for both the Yarra Valley and Rhône varieties, with an exploration of marsanne and syrah at the core of his range, but the Yarra stars of chardonnay and pinot noir get plenty of airtime, too. Dudine’s wines are always pitched to the elegant end of the spectrum, and he employs natural yeast and no additions except sulphur, with no fining and only occasional filtration, while in his No Additions range, not even sulphur gets a guernsey.

    • All Saints
    • Dan Crane
    • Rutherglen

    • 2009

    2009 Finalist

    • Allevare
    • Alysha Moscatt & Lucy Kendall
    • Victoria, Gippsland

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    In the verdant expanses of Gippsland, Alysha Moscatt and Lucy Kendall have woven a narrative of passion, perseverance, and connection to the land through their work at Allevare Wines. Their journey, rooted in a shared commitment to hands-on approach to in the vineyard and growing wines that echo the voice of each vintage, with a hands-off approach in the winery, unfolds a tale of sustainability, and community.

    • Alpha Box & Dice
    • Sam Berketa
    • Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale

    • 2021, 2022, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2022 Finalist
    2021 People's Choice
    2021 Finalist

    Sam Berketa has been at the helm of McLaren Vale’s Alpha Box & Dice since 2015, making a flotilla of eccentric wines, from deep investigations into skin contact on white grapes, to unusual blends, alternative varieties – and lots of them – to a “reverse ripasso” produced from a perpetual master blend that has seen every variety and every vintage added to it. Those wines are part of the Alphabet of Wine, an ongoing exploration of the possibilities that South Australian vineyards can offer, and Berketa is constantly pushing those possibilities to the extreme.

    • Anim
    • Max Marriott
    • Tasmania

    • 2021, 2022

    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Max Marriott’s Anim is the realisation of his dream to make wine in Tasmania from grapes he farms. While those vines are owned by others, that commitment to making wine from the ground up was never going to be compromised. He works mainly with pinot noir, with three reds and a rosé made, chardonnay and aromatic whites are also a feature, though a field blend of red and white varieties and a pét-nat made from grapes and Sturmer Pippin apples also cropped up in the 2021 vintage. Working organically (not certified) is the cornerstone for Marriott, with the work in the vineyards the biggest quality driver, and winemaking a thing he will talk about more reluctantly.

    • Architects of Wine
    • David Caporaletti
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    David Caporaletti started Architects of Wine when an obsessive winemaking hobby spiraled out of control, necessitating a commercial release. Since then, Caporaletti has not looked back, with a deep investigation primarily of Italian varieties from vineyards in the Adelaide Hills, though he also sources grapes from the Clare Valley. The wines are firmly in the minimal-intervention camp, with minute additions of sulphur at bottling only, and are bottled without fining or filtration.

    • Arfion / Salo
    • Dave Mackintosh
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2013

    2013 Finalist

    After a stint making wine on a more industrial scale left him somewhat cold, Kiwi expat Dave Mackintosh found a second home in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Launching his Arfion label in 2012, Mackintosh has defied easy description, making pure and classic single-site expressions of pinot noir and chardonnay to fermenting pinot gris as whole bunches…

    • Aristotelis Ke Anthoula
    • Tony Zafirakos & Maddison Park-Neilson
    • NSW/ACT, South Australia

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Aristotelis Ke Anthoula is Tony Zafirakos’s homage to genuine garage winemaking, as his parents taught him growing up in Sydney. While not all backyard wine passes muster, theirs was one that was much loved by friends and family, which is all the more remarkable given that they never used sulphur. Today, the production has increased somewhat and the winery operations are shared between Zafirakos and Maddison Park-Neilson. There’s a growing number of amphorae in the winery, and the fruit source is no longer the produce market, but the philosophy of his parents continues to this day, with the aim to make high-quality wines with no additions that are not “too polished”. Sourcing fruit from across New South Wales and the Riverland, the wines range from skinsy, pulpy whites, pét-nats and juicy light reds, along with a take on Retsina and a vermouth flavoured with calendula and citrus.

    • Arthur Wines
    • Tash Arthur
    • Margaret River

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Arthur Wines is unusual, and potentially unique, in the Australian wine scene. Started by Tash Arthur in 2011, Arthur Wines is based in Rosa Glen, Margaret River, but there’s no cabernet or chardonnay there, rather she focuses on making fortified wines, some as modern reframings of styles that dominated the market way back in the mists of the early 20th century, and some as wines pitched to a new demographic. Today, Arthur Wines produce aperitif-style fortifieds, with white, red and rosé styles, which are made to serve over ice or be mixed, along with more classic wines, such as a barrel-aged muscat and a solera tawny.

    • Aunt Alice
    • Alice Davidson
    • Tasmania

    • 2022, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2022 Finalist

    Alice Davidson launched Aunt Alice from her home in Robe on the Limestone Coast in 2016, but since the 2022 vintage is now focused on Tasmania, making wines in the Huon Valley. What was a means of creative expression outside her more rigid winemaking day jobs has become somewhat more significant, though it will always remain decidedly compact, coupled with a core mission of environmental sustainability and social consciousness. With a focus on pinot noir and chardonnay, Davidson’s wines don’t adhere to any trends, subtly bucking both classic and fashionable norms.

    • Basket Range Wines
    • Sholto & Louis Broderick
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Basket Range Wines is a label in two distinct halves, a generational split, and a somewhat harmonious one at that. Sholto and Louis Broderick make vibrant expressions from their family vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, while their father continues to make wines his way, as he has since the 80s. The brothers’ low-intervention, no-add wines…

    • Bay of Fires
    • Fran Austin
    • Tasmania

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • Berg Herring
    • Sam Dunlevy
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Sam Dunlevy’s Berg Herring is a McLaren Vale label focused on the future, with a deep investigation into heat-tolerant Mediterranean varieties that are thriving in the warming climate, and a style built around earlier picking and minimal intervention to fashion fruit-forward wines that are pitched for wine drinkers – Dunlevy included – who are increasingly embracing bright styles made for earlier consumption.

    • Best's
    • Adam Wadewitz
    • Great Western

    • 2011

    2011 Finalist

    • 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…

    • Bink Wines
    • Koen Janssens
    • Barossa Valley, Clare Valley

    • 2021, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    The Bink label is part homage to Koen Janssens’ heritage, with the prominent ‘B’ an echo of the bumper stickers of the late 20th century, denoting Belgium, but it’s also a flag for the type of wine you’re about to drink. Designed by Janssens, the hand-drawn labels steer the drinker down a path suggesting minimal intervention and unconventional styles. Janssens focus is on varieties that excite him, from established stars like riesling and grenache to those less familiar, like alicante bouschet and zinfandel, coaxing out vibrant and fun expressions that speak of place.

    • Bird in Hand
    • Dylan Lee
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Dylan Lee was at a self-confessed crossroads before he was offered a job at Bird in Hand, in the Adelaide Hills. Coming off seven or eight consecutive vintages, Lee found himself working outside the wine industry, and he was seriously considering deviating further as he struggled to find winemaking work after the 2010 harvest. That…

    • 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…

    • Black & Ginger
    • Hadyn Black
    • Great Western

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Hadyn Black and Darcy ‘Ginger’ Naunton are Black & Ginger, a Grampians-based producer working out of local vineyards, including the fabled Malakoff Vineyard in the nearby Pyrenees. Black makes the wines and Naunton looks after the numbers, with the two living quite distinctly different lives. The label has focused on shiraz, the regional specialty, typically employing plenty of whole bunch and neutral oak, but in 2019 they added an orange muscat and riesling blend to the roster, as well as a nouveau-style grenache.

    • Bobar
    • Sally & Tom Belford
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2013

    2013 Finalist

    Sally and Tom Belford’s Bobar wines have developed a dedicated following right from the first syrah back in 2010. The pair have somewhat defined natural wine in the Yarra Valley, without being defined by it. They work from their vineyard in Yarra Glen mainly with chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon and syrah, making expressions that…

    • Bondar
    • Andre Bondar
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Bondar is Andre Bondar’s take on McLaren Vale seen through the eyes of someone who has a deep appreciation for the Northern Rhône, as well as long history of making wine in the cool climes of the Adelaide Hills. Working with classic Vale varieties, as well as some Italian interlopers, he makes wines that are…

    • Bowerbird Wines
    • Kirilly Gordon
    • Heathcote, Sunbury

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    Kirilly Gordon’s career has taken her from her Macedon home to wineries around Victoria and to Italy and France. As of 2021, she has looped back home, working at the vineyard the inspired her in the first place, Bindi. That role works in concert with her own label, Bowerbird Wines, specialising in shiraz and viognier, while Patch Wines is her most recent venture, a partnership to make fun, accessible wines that sprang out of the wreckage of Covid.

    • Brave New Wine
    • Yoko & Andries Mostert
    • Great Southern

    • 2016, 2017, 2018

    2018 Finalist
    2017 Finalist
    2017 Danger Zone
    2016 Finalist

    The spirit of Andries Mostert and Yoko Luscher-Mostert’s Brave New Wine is neatly captured in the name, a venture that joyfully tosses out convention in the aim of making wine that tastes good in surprising new ways, from fermenting grapes with native botanicals to low-alcohol skinsy affairs to fridge-able reds, and much, much more. With the vintage, exemplary parcels of fruit from Western Australia’s Great Southern and their flights of creative fancy the guides, the pair make an ever-changing catalogue of offerings that veer from the engagingly wild to the cheerfully gluggable. Young Gun of Wine finalists in 2016, the pair took out the 2017 Danger Zone with their botanically enhanced 2016 ‘Wonderland’ Riesling.

    • Briar Ridge
    • Alex Beckett
    • Hunter Valley

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    Alex Beckett started in the wine industry fresh from school as a means of putting himself through university. But falling for the industry and its people led him to shift his studies to winemaking, along with a head-first immersion into the wines of the world, with a lengthy stint in fine-wine shops giving him a global perspective. A swift rise to becoming the winemaker at Pokolbin star Briar Ridge in 2018 now seems him overseeing the making of classic, regional wines alongside emerging varieties, with both the traditional and the experimental treated with the same curiosity to make even more pure, subtle, layered and textured expressions.

    • Brokenwood
    • PJ Charteris
    • Hunter Valley

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • Cape Jaffa
    • Anna Hooper
    • Limestone Coast

    • 2017

    2017 Finalist

    • Cape Jaffa Wines
    • Giulia Fiorovic & Federico Pezzino
    • South Australia, Mount Benson

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    The Cape Jaffa Wines vineyard has been at the forefront of biodynamic practices in the Limestone Coast region, setting a benchmark for sustainable viticulture. At the heart of Cape Jaffa’s winemaking today are the talented Italian expatriates Giulia Fiorovic, who took the helm as head winemaker in 2022, and Federico Pezzino, who joined as winemaker in 2023. Their shared journey in winemaking began a decade earlier at the University of Oenology and Viticulture in Bologna. With the support of Cape Jaffa’s owner, Derek Hooper, Fiorovic and Pezzino have infused the winery with their inventive spirit, as seen in the creation of the ‘Aura’ range. This new lineup to the Cape Jaffa banner offers vibrant wines and emerging wine styles through winemaking exploration that can extend beyond the Cape Jaffa vineyard.

    • Cave Wines
    • Justin Folloso
    • Tasmania

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2023 Best New Act

    Justin Folloso’s career direction snapped into vivid clarity at a Young Gun tasting in 2018. An epiphany with a Tasmanian pinot noir saw him pack his bags and head back to his home state, taking on winery work and travelling overseas to work in Burgundy and California. Today, while working for an iconic Tasmanian winery in his ‘day’ job, Folloso is crafting his own wines at his modest home facility. The launch of the brand comes in 2023, releasing two Coal River Valley pinot noirs from the 2021 vintage and a textural oak-aged sauvignon blanc from 2022.

    • Cavedon Wines
    • Gabe O’Brien
    • King Valley

    • 2021, 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2023 Danger Zone
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Cavedon Wines is the third-generation manifestation of a pioneering King Valley vineyard, with Gabe O’Brien making micro-batches of wine to celebrate the hard work of his father-in-law over 40 plus years, who helped pioneer and then revolutionise grape-growing in the region. O’Brien is starting to do the same for winemaking, introducing styles less common in the district, including skin contact on white grapes, sparkling gewürztraminer, nouveau reds and bottle fermenting prosecco to make both col fondo and zero dosage wines.

    • Chalari
    • Alexi Christidis
    • Perth Hills, Swan Valley

    • 2020, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Alexi Christidis named his label Chalari, meaning ‘relaxed’ in Greek, as part homage to his father and part mission statement for making unforced wines unbound by convention. From the origins of a ‘garage-like’ setup in the Perth Hills, Christidis now has a micro winery in Mount Barker, in the Great Southern, sourcing fruit from the…

    • Chalmers
    • Bart van Olphen
    • Heathcote

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Bart van Olphen got lodged in Australia after a one-off vintage gig in McLaren Vale turned into an eight-year stint, before dropping anchor in Murray Darling, specialising in growing and making Italian varieties at Chalmers. He works across the main Chalmers range – including vermentino, fiano, greco, aglianico and sagrantino – as well as the…

    • ChaLou
    • Nadja Wallington & Steve Mobbs
    • Orange

    • 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist

    Nadja Wallington and Steve Mobbs met while studying winemaking in 2008, but then they went their separate ways, touring the world making wine. Both landing in Orange somewhat later, the pair made wine for others, before launching their own brands, then finally settling on a vineyard in 2020 to start their own ground up venture. Specialising in chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir and shiraz, the pair are making classically styled wines that emphasise the cool refinement of the region.

    • Chapter
    • Jarad Curwood
    • Heathcote

    • 2015

    2015 Finalist

    • Charles Oliver Wines
    • Charlie Mann
    • Victoria, Pyrenees

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Charlie Mann traded in the recording studio for winemaking after a chance meeting with Owen Latta. An epiphany with one of Latta’s wines saw him ditch his long commute to take up work at Eastern Peake, where he still works. The Charles Oliver label was born in Mann’s second vintage, with 2023 being the fourth for the label. The offering is compact, focused on organic vineyards and earlier picking. Reds and whites both clock in at lower alcohols, with texture and fragrance uncluttered by oak, and are bottled with no fining or filtration and only a small dose of sulphur. The 2022 release saw two grenache cuvées and a syrah grenache blend, all from the Pyrenees.

    • Charlotte Dalton Wines
    • Charlotte Hardy
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2017, 2021

    2021 Young Gun of Wine
    2021 Finalist
    2017 Finalist

    Charlotte Hardy’s Charlotte Dalton wines were launched from the 2015 vintage, a semillon and a shiraz made in an unfussed lo-fi way. With a career making wine for some serious labels, these weren’t your classic new wave wines from Basket Range. They were a pivot from the norm, unbound but not wild, essentially personal expressions. Hardy’s wines are like that, made with technical understanding, but intuitively, a reflection of mood and moment.

    • Château Comme Ci, Comme Ça
    • Aaron Fenwick
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Aaron Fenwick’s Château Comme Ci, Comme Ça label is all about fun approachability, lo-fi wines made to be light on their feet, textural and engagingly drinkable. Working with semillon, chardonnay, pinot gris and merlot, he sources grapes from the Adelaide Hills – where he also co-owns The Summertown Aristologist. Working with growers who farm organically (though not all certified), he picks early to retain crunchy freshness, includes plenty of skin contact on the whites, building texture and flavour, and takes the reds off skins somewhat quickly to make zippy and poised expressions.

    • Chatto
    • Jim Chatto
    • Tasmania, Hunter

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    Over the last decade or so, Jim Chatto has carved out a name for himself as one of this country’s finest winemakers. From grunt work in the Hunter Valley, Chatto showed his talent early and took on successive chief winemaker roles before simultaneously steering the great Hunter icon Mount Pleasant back into the limelight and…

    • Chouette
    • Tom Daniel
    • Swan Valley

    • 2021, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Tom Daniel’s Chouette is a tribute to the Swan Valley – past, present and future. Working primarily with grenache and chenin blanc – the local heroes – he is seeking to preserve the heritage and the precious resource of old vines, while making styles that are distinctly modern. Bright and light to midweight, and with no additions, excepting a little sulphur, Daniel is busily sketching out a new future for the Swan with wines that are more suited to drinking in the hot local climate, and which are being eagerly taken up by Perth wine bars and restaurants that have historically shunned the region’s wines.

    • Cien Y Pico/Dandelion Vineyards
    • Elena Golakova
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2010, 2011

    2011 Finalist
    2010 Finalist

    • Cirillo
    • Marco Cirillo
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2015

    2015 Finalist

    • Collector Wines
    • Alex McKay
    • Canberra District

    • 2010

    2010 Finalist

    Back around the turn of millennium, Alex McKay drove countless miles sourcing fruit for a big wine company. And, like many before him, that experience proved invaluable when he launched his own label, Collector Wines. Armed with a mental map of soils, macroclimates, varieties and clones, McKay has taken Collector into the elite ranks in…

    • Commune of Buttons
    • Jasper Button
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2016

    2016 Finalist
    2016 Best New Act

    Jasper Button somewhat fell into wine. Starting with a thoroughly pragmatic approach to the family’s crop (which just happened to be grapes) from their Adelaide Hills property, Button was quickly ensnared by the wine bug after meeting Basket Range guru Anton van Klopper. A brisk education in natural wine, from growing to making, saw Button…

    • Cooter & Cooter / Hedonist Wines
    • James & Kimberly Cooter
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist

    James and Kimberly Cooter are both continuing their family traditions of winemaking under their Cooter & Cooter label, as well as for Kimberley’s family winery, The Hedonist. Both labels are built on McLaren Vale classic varieties, with grenache a particular favourite for the pair, while emerging varieties like fiano, tempranillo and sangiovese also appear on the roster. The wines for both labels lean to the midweight, with organic and biodynamic viticulture, earlier picking and a preference for large-format oak creating food-friendly wines to suit the Mediterranean climate.

    • Coriole
    • Duncan Lloyd
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Coriole has firmly etched itself into McLaren Vale consciousness, producing intense but serenely balanced wines from the region’s most prolific varieties – shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, grenache – but they have long been an innovator, too. Leading the charge with sangiovese in the 1980s, Coriole now make a raft of wines from heat-tolerant Mediterranean varieties – fiano, montepulciano, nero d’avola, piquepoul, for example – leaning on mid-weight styles that score high for drinkability and food friendliness. Today, joining his brother, Peter, and father, Mark, in the business, Duncan Lloyd has taken the winemaking reins, with “creative control” over the range.

    • Crittenden/Los Hermanos
    • Rollo Crittenden
    • Port Phillip

    • 2009, 2010

    2010 Young Gun of Wine
    2009 Finalist

    The Crittenden name has chaperoned the winegrowing history of the Mornington Peninsula since the start, with Rollo Crittenden’s father planting some of the first vines and being responsible for countless innovations. Crittenden has taken that baton confidently, redefining new potential for the maturing region. In addition to tiers of both estate and regional chardonnay and…

    • Curator Wine Co
    • Daniel Vladimir Zolotarev
    • South Australia, Barossa Valley

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    Daniel Vladimir Zolotarev’s journey in the winemaking realm reflects a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation, deeply rooted in the rich terroirs of Barossa Valley. With an undergraduate degree in viticulture and oenology from the University of Adelaide, Daniel’s career trajectory has seen him take on roles from vineyard hand to a pivotal position at Curator Wine Co, where his collaboration with Tom White, the owner, has been instrumental. “We have about a 50/50 contribution between the both of us in terms of decision-making and processing responsibilities, from growing to bottling,” Daniel shares, highlighting the partnership’s balanced approach to winemaking.

    • Cuvée-Co Wines
    • Peta Baverstock
    • Limestone Coast

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    Peta Baverstock’s is a sparkling wine specialist, with her Cuvée-Co Wines label an expression of classic styles, from traditional method vintage sparklings to col fondo prosecco and sparkling shiraz. Based on the Limestone Coast, she sources broadly from the zone, including Mount Gambier, Padthaway and Wrattonbully, working only with small parcels of fruit.

    • 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,…

    • Dazma Wine Company
    • Charles Osborne
    • King Valley

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    Wedged between the Black Summer bushfires and the pandemic pushing into full bloom, Charles Osborne pitched in and launched Dazma Wine Company, with fruit sourced from Northern Victoria. That first release consisted of three wines, a vermentino, a shiraz and a field blend of some 13 varieties – including such exotica as kerner, muscat ottonel, ehrenfelser, scheurebe, siegerrebe and rotgipfler – that were picked and fermented together. His wines are all vineyard specific, and they are all very much in the lo-fi camp, with Osborne keen to make democratically affordable and enjoyable wines.

    • DCB
    • Chris Bendle
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Chris Bendle made his first wine under his DCB label while working at Hoddles Creek Estate, in the Yarra Valley, under the watchful eye and with the active encouragement of winemaker Franco D’Anna. That was in the 2013 vintage, and only a few years into his now decade-long tenure at Hoddles as D’Anna’s right hand….

    • De Bortoli
    • Sarah Fagan
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2010

    2010 Finalist

    De Bortoli’s Yarra Valley winery has monopolised the impressive career of Sarah Fagan, with her quickly rising from a vintage job in her last year of study to managing the winemaking operations under Steve Webber. In that time, Fagan has helped steer the philosophy to push winemaking into the background and give site expression pride…

    • Delamere
    • Shane Holloway
    • Tasmania

    • 2009, 2012

    2012 Finalist
    2009 Finalist

    To anyone familiar with the early years of Tasmanian wine, the Delamere name will be well known, as will the brand’s fading over time. But much has changed, with Shane Holloway taking over the site in 2007. He has expanded the plantings and is now making some of Tasmania’s finest expressions of chardonnay and pinot…

    • Delinquente Wine Co.
    • Con-Greg Grigoriou
    • Riverland

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Delinquente Wine Co. was born out of a lightbulb moment where Con-Greg Grigoriou, who had wandered far from the family business growing grapes and making wine, saw a possibility in his region that he hadn’t imagined possible. What followed was a deep investigation into varieties and methods that suited the hot climate of the Riverland….

    • Dhiaga
    • Justin Purser
    • Victoria, Grampians, Henty, Pyrenees, Swan Hill

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist
    2020 Danger Zone

    Dhiaga is Justin Purser and Joyce Clery’s portal for expressing their love for Italian grapes, as expressed through Victorian vineyards and innovative winemaking techniques. The pair craft both recognisably classic expressions, as well as creative diversions, such as their dry, hop-infused Moscato that’s given gentle fizz through the pét-nat method. Justin Purser is perhaps best…

    • di Renzo
    • Samuel Renzaglia
    • NSW/ACT, Central Ranges

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Samuel Renzaglia developed the di Renzo range under his family’s eponymous wine label. That label is based out of their Bathurst vineyard in the O’Connell Valley, while the di Renzo wines are made from fruit sourced from prime growers across the Central Ranges. With an emphasis on early drinkability, Renzaglia picks earlier, aims for less extraction in reds and turns up the skin contact on whites, while neutral vessels are used for maturation. The wines see no additions bar a little sulphur, and they also have nothing taken away, being bottled un-fined and unfiltered.

    • Dilworth & Allain
    • Loique Allain & Chris Dilworth
    • Macedon Ranges

    • 2020

    2020 Young Gun of Wine
    2020 Finalist
    2020 Best New Act

    Dilworth & Allain is the budding label of Loique Allain and Chris Dilworth, launched in 2017. Based in the Macedon Ranges, they currently make a riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir from three vineyards, one of which they help farm organically. The wines reflect a desire to work as naturally as possible, while they convey site…

    • Dirt Candy
    • Daniel Payne
    • Hunter Valley

    • 2019, 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist
    2019 Top 50
    2019 Danger Zone

    Although Daniel Payne dabbled in the wine industry in the early 2000s, while studying to be a primary school teacher in Newcastle, it took until 2017 for him to launch his own label. That initial experience was in the Hunter Valley, with Payne growing up just outside the region. A love for wine was well and truly enshrined then, but a career as a primary teacher stood in the way for several years, before the lure became too great, and Daniel enrolled at Charles Sturt University to study winemaking.

    • 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…

    • ECK Wines
    • Emily Kinsman
    • Victoria, Heathcote

    • 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist

    Emily Kinsman’s ECK Wines is based out of her small vineyard and winery in central Heathcote, where she organically farms less than half a hectare of shiraz. That modest holding is supported by fruit – shiraz, chardonnay, pinot noir, marsanne, cabernet and riesling – sourced from across Heathcote and Mount Alexander, in the Bendigo region, with a greenfield site in Macedon recently purchased, which will soon be planted to vines. Originally a lawyer by trade, the pull of making something with her hands and a simpler, more connected life captivated Kinsman, and her wines follow that attraction, with a traditional approach, incorporating old, larger format oak and amphora, along with low sulphur additions and no fining or filtration.

    • Eden Road
    • Nick Spencer
    • Canberra District

    • 2011

    2011 Finalist

    • Edenflo
    • Andrew Wardlaw
    • Eden Valley

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Edenflo is the culmination of Andrew Wardlaw’s extensive experience here and overseas, a label centered around celebrating the Eden Valley with wines that continue his fascination with native yeasts and minimal intervention that he’s been championing for two decades. His process has always been lo-fi, with basket pressing, no chilling or fining, and gravity employed over pumps, and he never does numbers in the lab. He was a pioneer, if you will, and his wines are very much still at the cutting edge, with unlikely assemblies of grapes, some skinsy, some not, as well as elegantly pitched takes on Eden Valley reds.

    • Empire of Dirt
    • Natasha Webster
    • Geelong

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    The name of Tash Webster’s Empire of Dirt label is part homage to the distinctive territory of the Geelong region and part reminder of tough times past. Webster makes a vintage sparkling, citrussy Bellarine chardonnay and a gamay and shiraz that are built to highlight the power and flesh the Moorabool Valley can bestow on…

    • Entropy Wines
    • Ryan Ponsford
    • Gippsland

    • 2021, 2022

    2022 Young Gun of Wine
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Ryan Ponsford’s Entropy label is the result of him being diverted from a successful artistic career to making syrah, pinot noir, semillon and sauvignon blanc in Gippsland’s Baw Baw Shire. With a focus on organic growing and minimal-intervention winemaking, learnt working alongside Bill Downie, Ponsford is also in the process of resurrecting a derelict vineyard, which will form the future core of the Entropy wines.

    • Eperosa
    • Brett Grocke
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2015, 2017

    2017 Top 50
    2015 Finalist

    • Express Winemakers
    • Ryan O’Meara
    • Great Southern

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Ryan O’Meara’s Express Winemakers will be a decade old in 2021, a somewhat mature business with a distinctly youthful vibe. Employing a minimal-intervention approach, and with no adds excepting enough sulphur at bottling to protect the wines, he crafts a range of Great Southern wines from organically farmed fruit that lean heavily on brightness, texture and sheer drinkability. And, with one of his original guiding principles firmly intact, they’re also democratically affordable.

    • Farr Rising
    • Nick Farr
    • Geelong

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    Nick Farr launched his Farr Rising label just after the turn of the millennium, stamping the already famous family name with an ambitious tag. In hindsight, that ascent now seems less presumptive and more a forgone conclusion with Nick now steering the winemaking for his label alongside the By Farr and Irrewarra labels (an Otway…

    • Fervor Wines
    • Callum Garland
    • Victoria, Western Australia

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    Callum Garland’s winemaking voyage, deeply rooted in his family’s Italian lineage, reaches a pivotal juncture with Fervor Wines, a label that marries tradition with a pioneering spirit. The first Fervor wines have been crafted in Victoria from Italian grape varieties, where Callum, leveraging his winemaking experiences from around the globe, embarked on a venture that’s a testament to his heritage and his passion for the craft. With the next step to be seen in a return to his West Australian roots.

    • First Drop
    • Matt Gant
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2007

    2007 Young Gun of Wine
    2007 Finalist

    Matt Gant’s geography degree was spun off course when a wine-loving professor “contrived” a study trip to France to taste wine. That minor diversion led to a terminal detour for Gant, axing the maps and globes for vintages around the world, before settling in the Barossa and co-founding First Drop wines in 2005. The First…

    • Foxeys Hangout
    • Chris Strickland
    • Victoria, Mornington Peninsula

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Foxeys Hangout was founded by brothers Tony and Michael Lee in the Mornington Peninsula subregion of Red Hill. They work from their organic and biodynamic vineyard and winery to produce mainly chardonnay and pinot noir, along with pinot gris and shiraz. Chris Strickland has risen over the last decade and a half from a casual worker in the cellar door to now oversee both the viticulture and winemaking. His approach is a vineyard first one, leaning on a family history of horticulture and a whole raft of experimentation to make wines from the ground up, with principles of sustainability underpinning all aspects.

    • 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…

    • Galafrey Wines
    • Kim Tyrer
    • Mount Barker

    • 2020, 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Galafrey is a legendary name in Mount Barker, a ground-breaking winery that many thought would drift out of family hands after the untimely death of its founder, Ian Tyrer. But, at only 25, his daughter Kim took up the mantle and is now the CEO and winemaker, producing classic renditions of Mount Barker riesling, shiraz and cabernet, while also taking a particular interest in müller-thurgau and whole-bunch fermentation for shiraz and pinot noir.

    • Gatch
    • Ansel Ashby
    • South Australia

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Ansel Ashby launched his Gatch label in 2016 with a shiraz viognier and an eccentric blend of riesling, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris, with all but the riesling (Clare Valley) coming from the Adelaide Hills. And while he was super pleased with those wines, you won’t find Ashby spending too much time talking about variety…

    • 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….

    • Geyer Wine Co.
    • David Geyer
    • Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, McLaren Vale

    • 2018

    2018 Finalist

    David Geyer started his Geyer Wine Co. label while working for Pete Schell (2008 Young Gun of Wine), meshing a decade and a half of experience with a desire to make wines in an unfussed way, peeling back some layers and revealing new expressions from a patchwork of old Barossa sites he knew well. Geyer…

    • Gilbert
    • Will Gilbert
    • Orange

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 People's Choice
    2020 Finalist

    Will Gilbert is a sixth-generation winemaker, with his great-great-great-grandfather Joseph Gilbert responsible for planting some of the first vines in the Eden Valley in 1842. That legacy is honoured under the Gilbert label today, with a range of Eden Valley rieslings, but the core of the Gilbert operation is in Mudgee and the frosty climes of Orange, New South Wales, with a focus on riesling, pinot noir, chardonnay and shiraz with several bottlings of each, and made in a way that highlights purity and elegance.

    • Glaetzer Dixon
    • Nick Glaetzer
    • Tasmania

    • 2011, 2012, 2013

    2013 Finalist
    2012 Finalist
    2011 Finalist

    • Golden Child
    • James Hamilton
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Even though James Hamilton’s family had planted grapevines in Kuitpo, in the Adelaide Hills, and he had worked extensively as a winemaker in McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills, the trigger that led him to start his Golden Child label came in Portugal. A bottle of 2008 Niepoort ‘Charme’ in 2015, while holidaying in the…

    • Gonzo Vino
    • Marcus Radny
    • South Australia, Riverland

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Marcus Radny jumped from a stellar career as a sommelier into the winemaking game. That’s not much of a strange story, granted, but going from head sommelier at Vue de Monde to making cask wine is not that way the story normally unfolds. Radny’s Gonzo Vino specialises in modern wines of character and effortless drinkability, and all are packaged in electrically colourful and loud casks and cans. The fruit is sourced from Ashley Ratcliff’s Riverland vineyards, with low tannin reds and lightly skinsy whites joined by rosé and a pair of fizzy cans, one white, one rosé.

    • Gum Wine
    • George McCullough
    • Victoria, Yarra Valley

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    Having curated wine selections for elite Melbourne establishments like Grossi Florentino, Coda, Tonka, and King & Godfree, George McCullough developed a nuanced understanding of wine’s intrinsic link to gastronomy and terroir. His leap from an accomplished sommelier to a committed winemaker, from the dining room to the vineyard, underlines a profound commitment to the craft of wine. His intent with Gum Wine – launched in 2022, is to make fresh and savoury styles of wine, that are suited to food. The endeavour is centred on a vineyard in the Yarra Valley, but is complemented by wines sourced from Heathcote and Macedon vineyards. All wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.

    • Guthrie Wines
    • Hugh Guthrie
    • South Australia, Adelaide Hills

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    Hugh Guthrie’s Guthrie label stands as a testament to the art of micro-batch winemaking, where each bottle narrates a unique tale of its provenance. From the his family’s Adelaide Hills farm, where the Guthries have been for five generations, he crafts his wines, working with the local knowledge of the top local growers and special pockets of the Adelaide Hills. His range showcases a thoughtful curation of the region’s classic varieties, enriched by more unconventional offerings, such as his Pinot Noir Syrah blend and a nuanced grüner veltliner. Guthrie’s approach is one of subtle innovation – his aim is not to overpower but to unveil the inherent narrative of each vineyard block and grape, letting the land’s voice resonate through his wines. This philosophy yields creations that are not just beverages but reflections of the Adelaide Hills’ diverse terroir, captured through a winemaker’s lens that values authenticity and a gentle guiding hand over intrusive intervention.

    • Harrison
    • Riley Harrison
    • Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale

    • 2021, 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Riley Harrison’s own wine project started very small and stayed very small for quite some time, allowing him to focus on the detail. That patience has paid off, with the Harrison fruit now coming from some of the finest vineyards in the Barossa, McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills. Harrison makes a syrah, a grenache, a cabernet franc, a cabernet shiraz blend, a grenache mataro and a blend of grenache blanc and noir, while his lone white is a roussanne and grenache blanc blend that sees a judicious amount of skin contact before being raised in neutral oak, building detail and mouthfeel. His wines are approachable, bright and textural, with endless layers of refined detail.

    • 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…

    • Hoddles Creek
    • Franco d’Anna
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2009, 2010, 2012

    2012 Finalist
    2010 People's Choice
    2010 Finalist
    2009 Finalist

    Franco D’Anna was born into a family with fair wine credentials, having established and run one of Melbourne’s legendary wine stores since the 1960s. A childhood in wine retail blossomed into a career in winemaking when the family put down some literal roots in the cool of the Upper Yarra Valley in 1997. D’Anna uses…

    • Holyman / Stoney Rise
    • Joe Holyman
    • Tasmania

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    If Joe Holyman was a slightly better cricketer, the wine game might just have missed out on his prodigious talents. Although being a wicketkeeper and a couple of years older than Adam Gilchrist may have made the ultimate achievement somewhat tricky. (Joe did, however, don the whites nine times as a wicketkeeper for Tasmania in…

    • Honky Chateau
    • Chris Ryan
    • Victoria, Yarra Valley

    • 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist

    Chris Ryan’s Honky Chateau is somewhat of a COVID baby, a natural extension of his casual vintage work in wineries, but one sped up by the closures of Melbourne’ restaurants in 2020 and ’21. Working as a head sommelier in Andrew McConnell’s Trader House group, Ryan was well-acquainted with the great wines of the world, but his ambitions for his own label, centred around Yarra Valley shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, were somewhat humbler: “My goal is to make wine that gives pleasure to common people. I think expectations are the enemy of wines, so I hope that people can grab a bottle mid-week, pull a cork, share it with friends, alongside food and be pleasantly surprised. Someone else can be a disrupter and trend maker.” Today, he balances his winemaking with his senior buying role.

    • Intrepidus Wines
    • Chrissie Smith
    • NSW/ACT, Canberra District

    • 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist

    Chrissie Smith’s Intrepidus Wines was only born in the 2021 vintage, working from a one-acre vineyard in the Canberra District that she farms herself. And that’s critical for her philosophy, with an abrupt career shift leading her to wine and quickly to a vineyard-first approach, recognising that the work done amongst the vines was just as important, if not more so, than the work in the winery. The label is currently built around sangiovese and shiraz, with tiny amounts of external grapes to allow for experimentation. Blends of the two home grapes make up a rosé and light red, while shiraz is also co-fermented with a splash of viognier, marsanne and roussanne.

    • J & S Fielke Wines
    • Jemma & Steve Fielke
    • South Australia, Adelaide Hills

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    Launched with a focus on the terroirs of Adelaide Hills, J & S Fielke is the brainchild of Steve and Jemma Fielke, a winemaking couple who channel their passion and expertise into crafting wines that resonate with the story of their region. Their range currently includes a chardonnay from the Lenswood subregion, a pinot noir from the Piccadilly Valley subregion, and a shiraz and pinot noir blend, each wine a reflection of their commitment to expressing the distinctiveness of their vineyard sites. While 2025 is set to be the first crop from their Lower Hermitage site where they have planted varieties with an eye on a changing climate.

    • 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…

    • Jasper Hill, Occam’s Razor & Lo Stesso
    • Emily McNally
    • Heathcote

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    Emily McNally makes the wine and tends the vines at her family’s iconic property, Jasper Hill. While McNally hasn’t strayed far from that Heathcote base, she has maintained projects – Occam’s Razon and Lo Stesso – that have given her voice outside the recognisable tones of that Victorian icon, while tweaking and fine-tuning their core…

    • Jean Bouteille Wines
    • Jean-Baptiste Courdesses
    • South Australia, Adelaide Hills

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    In the undulating terrains of the Basket Range – a hamlet renowned as ground-zero of Australia’s low-fi and natural wine movement – in the Adelaide Hills, Jean-Baptiste Courdesses is crafting unfined, unfiltered and 100% whole-bunch fermented wines, with no or minimal sulphur, packaged in locally made bottles. His project, Jean Bouteille Wines, is firmly planted in the belief that winemaking should be a harmonious extension of nature, and that wine can be an elixir.

    • Jones Winery & Vineyard – J6 Wines
    • Benjamin Jones
    • Victoria, Rutherglen

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    Nestled in the historic wine region of Rutherglen– a land of big reds and famous for its fortified wines, Benjamin Jones, the sixth generation vintner of Jones Winery & Vineyard, is redefining the region’s vinous landscape with his J6 label released in 2020, delivering unfamiliar wines with a focus on drinkability and enjoyment. The J6 range is made with a minimal intervention mindset, made from dry-grown vines on the family estate vineyard. The ‘J6 Jimmy’s Block’ – a blend of chasselas, muscat gordo, muscat of Hamburg, grenache blanc, et al – and the ‘J6 Grenache Noir’ have the benefit of being fermented in the Jones Winery wooden fermenting vats from 1860.

    • Josef Chromy
    • Jeremy Dineen
    • Tasmania

    • 2009

    2009 Finalist

    • Juliard Wines
    • Jules & Bernard Morey
    • -

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    Juliard Wines, a burgeoning project rooted in the picturesque landscapes of Beechworth, Victoria, represents a fresh take on winemaking tradition. Launched with the 2018 vintage, this nascent label from Jules and Bernard Morey has quickly established itself by crafting classic wines with minimal intervention, all while nurturing its own fledgling vineyard where they have chosen to grow varieties such as grenache, mourvèdre, carignan, shiraz, cinsault and malbec. Operating from the revered Sorrenberg winery, Juliard’s lineup currently includes Shiraz, a GSM blend, Rosé, and Chardonnay, each telling a unique story of their terroir, with new climate-apt varieties to be seen from Juliard in the coming years.

    • 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…

    • Kenny Wine
    • Andrew Kenny
    • Clare Valley

    • 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist

    Andrew Kenny launched his Kenny Wine label in 2021, focusing on Clare riesling and Adelaide Hills pinot. With the purchase of a vineyard in the Clare subregion of Auburn, the 2021 vintage saw a home-site shiraz join the portfolio, while an old vine grenache and a sangiovese were added in 2022. 2023 saw the introduction of a collaboration from the Pfalz region of Germany – a ‘Kenny X Gabel’ Riesling, with more riesling and a pinot noir to be released under this label. Kenny’s wines are classic in style, expressions of variety and sites he believes excel for specific grapes, and it is in the Clare Valley that the range of wines offers a particular exploration of sub-regionality.

    • Knappstein
    • Paul Smith
    • Geelong

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • 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…

    • Kooyong / Port Phillip Estate
    • Glen Hayley
    • Mornington Peninsula

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate are two of the Mornington Peninsula’s enduring stars. Glen Hayley took the Baton from Sandro Mosele as Chief Winemaker of both estates in 2015, and he has been subtly refining the classic Mornington offering of pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot noir and a little shiraz, with a specialisation in single-site bottlings.

    • 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,…

    • La Petite Mort
    • Andrew Scott
    • Granite Belt

    • 2019, 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist
    2019 Top 50
    2019 Finalist

    A love of wine was fostered early in Andrew Scott’s career, although it took some years to take stubborn control of him. While racking up a formidable resume in restaurants in Adelaide, including a stint at The Chesser Cellar with Primo Caon and another with James Erskine (Jauma) at Augè – old-school and new-school legends right there – then in Noosa, Scott dipped in and out of education, with hospitality and, more significantly, wine eventually winning the tussle.

    • Lake Breeze
    • Greg Follett
    • Langhorne Creek

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • 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…

    • Larry Cherubino Wines
    • Larry Cherubino
    • Frankland River, Great Southern, Margaret River

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    Larry Cherubino has worked for or consulted to some of the biggest names in the world of wine, but it is with his Cherubino label that he gets to explore the regions of Western Australia his way. Cherubino employs both traditional methods perfected over decades of winemaking, as well as throwing out the rulebook and…

    • Lauren Langfield Wines
    • Lauren Langfield
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist
    2022 Best New Act

    Lauren Langfield’s approach to wine has always been vineyard first. Indeed, so has been her career, with a deep focus on organic and biodynamic viticulture taking her from New Zealand to Gippsland, then the Adelaide Hills, and now to McLaren Vale, where she has been appointed winemaker for Orbis, an operation built on sustainability at all levels. Langfield’s eponymous label kicks off with 2021 vintage wines, a merlot and a sauvignon blanc from the Hills made in the natural spirit but with broad appeal.

    • Linear Wines
    • Nathan Brown
    • Canberra District

    • 2021, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Nathan Brown’s Linear Wines is nearly as old as his winemaking career, making his first wines the vintage after he began working at Canberra’s Collector Wines in 2017. With an aim to play with as many alternate varieties as possible and reflect the great diversity of sites in and around the greater Canberra region, Brown’s relationships with grape growers throughout Canberra District, Tumbarumba, Hilltops and Gundagai is critical. He sources both classic and alternative varieties from his favourite vineyard parcels and makes the Linear wines in his recently converted helicopter hangar. The sense of connection to sites is a great driver for Brown, with winemaking very much in a classic mould, teasing out pure varietal expressions through the lens of the place.

    • Little Frances
    • Erin Frances Pooley
    • Victoria

    • 2022, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2022 Finalist

    Erin Frances Pooley started making her own wine back in 2012, a semillon from California, no less. That wine was held back three years before release. Erin Frances Pooley began making her own wine in 2012, starting with a Semillon from California. This wine was held back for three years before being released. In 2020, after a decade in the US, Pooley returned home to craft wines from North East Victoria under her Little Frances label, complementing a catalogue of pre-Covid Californian wines. Today, the Little Frances wines are produced in Beechworth, with Pooley’s range focusing on bottlings of Beechworth fruit, alongside selections from further afield. All wines feature a lo-fi lean, yet they showcase a clear expression of variety, vintage, and site.

    • LS Merchants
    • Dylan Arvidson
    • Margaret River

    • 2020, 2022

    2022 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    LS Merchants was started by Dylan Arvidson as more of a hobby than genuine side project, mainly to feed his creativity and give his mates something different to drink. Today, Arvidson is full throttle with LS Merchants, making around 20 wines across a range of styles from more-or-less classic varietal wines to skinsy whites and pét-nats, and all made with light-handed winemaking and a spirit fuelled by unconventional thinking.

    • 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…

    • Lyons Will Estate
    • Renata Morello & Oliver Rapson
    • Macedon Ranges

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Lyons Will is a small estate in the Macedon Ranges owned and run by husband-and-wife team Renata Morello and Oliver Rapson. Planted to chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir and gamay, the wines are as much expressions of variety as they are of the elevated, cold vineyard site and the traditional, manual winemaking.

    • M&J Becker Wines
    • Meagan and James Becker
    • NSW/ACT, Hunter Valley

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    Meagan and James Becker of M&J Becker Wines have carved a distinctive niche in the winemaking world by bridging the vinous landscapes of two continents. Their journey spans regions of New South Wales, Australia, and the renowned wine regions of California, USA. In Australia, their offering includes a dozen wines, ranging from Tumbarumba Pinot Noir and Hunter Valley Chardonnay to Hilltops Nebbiolo. While their commitment to transmitting terroir extends to managing a vineyard in Hunter Valley, where they converted to Certified Organic through ACO late in 2019. All theM&J Becker Wines from Australia are made in a collaborative winemaking facility shared with the other rising stars of the Hunter Valley.

    • 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…

    • Mac Forbes Wines
    • Hannah Maltby
    • Victoria, Yarra Valley

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    Hannah Maltby began working for Mac Forbes Wines in 2017, taking the winemaking reigns in 2019. Maltby champions a winemaking philosophy succinctly captured in her “minimal intervention, maximum attention” mantra. This approach guides the production of a diverse range — with multiple bottlings of pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling at the core, alongside other Yarra Valley varietal mainstays and a freewheeling experimental ‘EB’ range.

    • Made by Monks
    • Luke Monks
    • Tasmania

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Made by Monks is “a creative outlet” for Luke Monks, where he crafts an eclectic ensemble of wines from his Hobart base, with the emphasis taken off seriousness and placed on playfully challenging norms. With no set range, Monks has worked with chardonnay, pinot gris, gewürztraminer, riesling, syrah, pinot noir and semillon, often coupling them in non-traditional blends, and always making them in a lo-fi way. They’re statements of possibility in the Tasmanian wine landscape that is so dominated by classic styles from classic varieties.

    • Main & Cherry
    • Michael Sexton
    • Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    The Main & Cherry label is Michael Sexton’s ever-evolving canvas for creating micro-batches of distinctive wines. Working from his family vineyard in McLaren Vale and his parents’ vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, along with select growers, Sexton punctuates his broad portfolio of classic regional varieties with specialisations in sangiovese, tempranillo and pinot meunier. His wines…

    • Maison de Ong, One Block & Moonlit Forest
    • Jayden Ong
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2017, 2019, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2019 Top 50
    2017 Top 50

    Jayden Ong now has four lines in his stable of wines: One Block, Maison de Ong, Moonlit Forest and the eponymous Jayden Ong range. Launched in 2016, it is with his Moonlit Forest series that Ong gets to deeply explore experimental styles. While all of Ong’s wines employ minimal-intervention processes, the Moonlit Forest wines see extended skin contact, across both reds and whites, with the range also including a light red made for chilling and a vermouth.

    • Mallaluka
    • Sam Leyshon
    • Canberra District

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Mallaluka’s Sam Leyshon got his first experience of winemaking hands on, helping with his father’s rather consuming hobby vineyard near Yass. But that’s all it was when he was growing up – a hobby. Circling back to wine later in his 20s, that hands-on approach has stuck with Leyshon, who now crafts a range of…

    • Marco Lubiana
    • Marco Lubiana
    • Tasmania

    • 2021, 2022, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2022 Vigneron
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist
    2021 Best New Act

    Marco Lubiana launched his eponymous label from the 2018 vintage, making a chardonnay and pinot noir, which will remain his focus, with a gentle hand in the winery and tireless year-round work amongst the vines key to his approach. Those wines were made from the Lucille Vineyard, which had been recently purchased by his family and converted to biodynamic farming.

    • Marion's Vineyard
    • Cynthea Semmens
    • Tasmania

    • 2013

    2013 Finalist

    • Massena
    • Dan Standish & Jaysen Collins
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • Mattara
    • Matt & Tara Campbell
    • Mornington Peninsula

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Matt and Tara have spent most of their winemaking careers on the Mornington Peninsula, with regular forays to France and Spain. And it was inspiration from one of those trips that saw their first names merged to form their Mattara label centred on what has become a bit of a calling card – rosé. The…

    • Mercer Wines
    • Aaron Mercer
    • NSW/ACT, Hunter Valley

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Starting in the wine game some 20 years ago on a low rung, cleaning out tanks, Aaron Mercer has since worked broadly in his beloved Hunter valley and around the world. Now in its fourth vintage, Mercer Wines is a blending of two of his greatest passions: wine and the environment. Working from sustainable vineyards across the state, the wines are built with approachable drinkability as a key driver, with varieties both established and adapted – such as chardonnay, semillon and shiraz – and those emerging – including nero d’avola, montepulciano and vermentino – to best fit our changing climate.

    • Meredith
    • Ben Luker
    • Victoria, Grampians

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    In the heart of Western Victoria, Ben Luker’s Meredith label emerges as a reflection of his rich and varied journey in the wine industry. With a background that spans an array of roles, from restaurant service to in-depth wine research, Luker’s foray into winemaking is a testament to his deep-seated passion for the craft. The 2023 debut of Meredith, from the 2023 vintage, is not just a milestone for Luker but an ode to Western Victoria. His approach is unmistakably ‘punter-friendly,’ emphasizing low-fi winemaking that underscores the intrinsic qualities of varietal riesling and grenache, with the Meredith lineup complimented by a rosé and pét-nat.

    • 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…

    • Micro Wines
    • Jonathan Ross
    • Barossa Valley, Geelong

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Master Sommelier Jonathan Ross knows a little bit about wine. Before his recent foray into getting his hands dirty, Ross has been more accustomed to the crisply starched linen of some of the world’s best restaurants. Indeed, actually the world’s best. A New Jersey native, Ross worked his way along the familiar busboy-food-runner path in…

    • Minimum Wines
    • Matt Purbrick
    • Central Victoria

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Built around a core principle of sustainability and respect for the land, Minimum Wines is the brainchild of Matt and Lentil Purbrick. Taking over the management of a Purbrick family vineyard in the Goulburn Valley in 2016, they have restored the site with regenerative and organic (certified in 2020) practices to produce three key wines: a chardonnay, sangiovese and syrah rosé, and a red blend that uses the same varieties with a dash of cabernet. As of 2020, the Short Runs range delves deeper into Matt Purbrick’s experimental side, with no fining or filtration, plenty of skin contact on whites and minimal sulphur.

    • Minimum Wines
    • Matt Purbrick & Leigh Ritchie
    • Victoria, Goulburn Valley

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Minimum Wines started as a natural extension of Matt and Lentil Purbrick’s Grown & Gathered project, which was an exploration of living off the land, growing, foraging, hunting, cooking and making. Wine was always part of the picture – and not just because Matt is a Tahbilk Purbrick – with an organic and ultra-lo-fi approach. Scaled up, the processes aren’t quite so rustic anymore, thorough still decidedly lo-fi, with a foundation of organics, sustainability – along the whole production, supply and consumption chain – and environmental and social responsibility. Wines under the Minimum banner encompass the core range of a chardonnay, blended sangiovese and syrah red, and the same varieties in rosé form, while the Short Runs range allows for more creative expression, with skinsy whites, no filtration, low-sulphur offerings and pét-nats the general theme. Today, Leigh Ritchie has joined Matt Purbrick at the winemaking helm.

    • 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…

    • Mise en Place Wines
    • Doug Lilburne
    • Victoria, Great Western, Pyrenees

    • 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist

    Doug Lilburne’s journey into wine started in kitchens in New York as a teenager, progressing through culinary school then to setting up a farm-to-table food program at a winery in Northern California. Winery work eventually drew him away from the stove, and vintages around the world followed. Now settled into his leased winery and vineyard in the Yarra Valley’s Steels Creek, Lilburne’s Mise en Place label focuses on home fruit and organic vineyards in the Pyrenees and Great Western to currently make a syrah, syrah and touriga nacional blend, and a syrah rosé. The winemaking is manual and traditional, with only sulphur added, and not always. The first release was in 2022 with wines from the 2021 vintage.

    • Mon Tout
    • Richard Burch & Nic Bowen
    • Western Australia

    • 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist

    Mon Tout (‘my everything’) is a collaboration between Richard Burch and Nic Bowen, with fruit sourced across Western Australia. Coming from a notable winemaking family (well, they both do), Burch had the enviable resources of his family’s Howard Park Wines – which has vineyards and growers in regions celebrated, emerging and re-emerging – when he founded the brand a decade ago. That label has evolved considerably and will continue to, with Bowen coming on board in 2021. The key drivers are a spirit of adventure coupled with eschewing winemaking inputs, aside from sulphur for stability, with natural balance achieved in the vineyard. A pinot gris, gewürztraminer and riesling blend, a chardonnay, a rosé, a light and two red blends with varying combinations of pinot noir, syrah and grenache make up the offerings.

    • Moorak
    • Jordan Hein
    • South Australia, Adelaide Hills

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Jordan Hein is a first-generation and largely self-taught winemaker, taking the plunge into his own label and winemaking facility early in his career. Based in McLaren Vale in an environmentally sensitive collaborative facility, he makes a dozen or so wines from across South Australia, partnering with sustainable and organic growers who focus on regenerative agriculture. The wines are built on experimentation, but they don’t often stray into wildly polarising areas, nuanced with alternative methods but still centred on variety and place. The range includes a pét-nat, bright cinsault, pulpy unfiltered white, textural riesling, and a structured and a bright pinot noir, among others.

    • Mount Langi Ghiran
    • Dan Buckle
    • Grampians, Pyrenees

    • 2007, 2010

    2010 Finalist
    2007 Finalist

    • Mountadam Vineyards
    • Caitlin Brown
    • South Australia, Eden Valley

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    In the Eden Valley sub-region of High Eden sits Mountadam Vineyards. With initial plantings established in 1972, the vineyard has been nurtured by the Brown Family since 2015, with Caitlin Brown at the helm as the winemaker. Here, across 147 hectares of vines, the focus is on crafting wines that truly express the High Eden terroir. The range of varietal wines Brown makes are quintessential to the region, where the intent is on purity of fruit and a transparency of site.

    • Mulline
    • Ben Mullen
    • Geelong

    • 2020, 2021, 2022

    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Mulline is Ben Mullen’s solo venture, focusing on sites across the broader Geelong region. Fresh out of a stint as the winemaker at a regional headliner, Mullen was keen to continue his relationship with the grapes of the region, but on his own terms. Mulline was born in the 2019 vintage, with classically elegant single-site expressions of pinot noir, syrah and chardonnay and a barrel-aged sauvignon blanc leading the way. Today, that venture has grown, with the Mulline brand becoming a Geelong leading light.

    • 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…

    • Musical Folk
    • James Becker
    • Victoria, Yarra Valley

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    James Becker’s journey in the winemaking realm is a narrative of growth, passion, and a deep connection to the Yarra Valley. His label, Musical Folk wines, reflects a harmonious blend of his experiences, showcasing the essence of the region and his love for Chardonnay. Launched in 2021, the range has expanded to also include a pinot noir and a skin contact pinot gris, ‘Amber Pinot Gris’.

    • Nature of the Beast
    • Phoebe Grant
    • King Valley, Macedon Ranges

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    Phoebe Grant launched Nature of the Beast barely out of here teens, unveiling a compact but serenely mature suite of wines from the 2020 vintage. Those wines were made from chardonnay and nebbiolo, a rosé, which are varieties that are the cornerstones of her family’s Beechworth vineyard, Traviarti, though grant sources fruit from the Macedon Ranges and North East Victoria. A barbera joined the ranks in 2021, with all wines made with texture and savoury interest as the mainstays.

    • New Era Vineyards
    • Iain Baxter
    • South Australia, Adelaide Hills

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    After studying and undergoing on-the-job apprenticeships across all facets of the wine industry, Iain Baxter landed back at his family’s Adelaide Hills vineyard. Originally planted to cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, shiraz, merlot and pinot noir, sangiovese, touriga, nebbiolo and montepulciano were added to better suit the changing climate, but all that changed after the 2019 bushfires. With the vineyard almost totally destroyed, the Baxter family saw an opportunity, and it was replanted to even better suit the climate. In anticipation of those emerging varieties coming online, Baxter has been crafting wines from the Hills and Limestone Coast from emerging varieties, including grüner veltliner and lagrein.

    • Ngeringa
    • Erinn & Janet Klein
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2010

    2010 Finalist

    Almost 20 years old now, Erinn and Janet Klein’s Ngeringa is a true Adelaide Hills pioneer. The pair were growing certified biodynamic fruit, fussing with it little in the winery and employing minimal sulphur right from their first viable crop. They were ‘natural’ well before many early adopters had vines of their own, yet alone…

    • Noisy Ritual
    • Alex Byrne
    • Victoria

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Noisy Ritual was born out of a chance discovery in a Melbourne rental house in 2014. From bucketing shiraz grapes down the driveway to a fully operational multi-purpose facility, it has grown to become the yardstick for urban wineries in this country. Winemaker Alex Byrne and Cam Nicol, who handles the events side of things,…

    • Nomads Garden
    • Ben Schulz Dahlenburg
    • Victoria, Bendigo

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    Ben Schulz Dahlenburg, winemaker at the family-run Eldorado Road winery since 2016, embarked on a solo venture in 2017 with Nomads Garden. This label represents a vibrant divergence from the tradition-bound family vineyard, allowing Schulz Dahlenburg to explore a broader canvas of varieties and terroirs across North East Victoria. Nomads Garden is a celebration of singularity and creativity, offering a collection of single vineyard, wild ferment wines that are both intriguing and financially accessible. The lineup boasts unique offerings like a Pinot Meunier, a Skin Contact White, a Pinot Noir, and a ‘Durif Nouveau’, each telling a distinct story of place and process.

    • North Wine
    • Etienne Mangier
    • Macedon Ranges

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    After having travelled the world making wine, Etienne Mangier settled in the Macedon Ranges, a place that he likens to the Jura region of France, where he grew up. Now with two small vineyards under his management, and without recourse to any chemical treatments, he makes both still and sparkling wines under his North label. The wines, working with chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz, are made without any additions – including no sulphur.

    • Oakridge
    • Tim Perrin
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Oakridge is one of this country’s most respected cool climate producers, with Chief Winemaker David Bicknell especially lauded for his contribution to the revolution in Australian Chardonnay, and the mapping of some particularly distinguished vineyards through single-site bottlings, but Oakridge has also fostered a wealth of exceptional talent as senior winemakers, like Beechworth’s Adrian Rodda….

    • 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…

    • Ochota Barrels
    • Taras Ochota
    • Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale

    • 2012, 2013

    2013 Young Gun of Wine
    2012 Finalist

    Working out of the Basket Range, Taras Ochota is one of the pioneers of Australia’s natural wine movement. Dissatisfied with the status quo, he took familiar expectations and smashed them in exciting ways. Leading with Grenache, Ochota dialled back the ripeness to give it a transparency, fragrant detail and savoury edge that was revelatory at…

    • Oliver's Taranga
    • Corrina Wright
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    Emerging out of the Penfolds winemaking graduate program, then going on to spend some considerable time working in the Southcorp machine, while also inadvertently becoming somewhat of a poster child for the Parker-driven American fascination for South Australian red wine, it would be easy to make some assumptions about the kind of wines Corinna Wright…

    • Orbis Wines
    • Lauren Langfield
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2023

    2023 Young Gun of Wine
    2023 Finalist

    After years working in vineyards and consulting on organics, biodynamics and regenerative agriculture, Lauren Langfield first made wine for her eponymous label from the 2021 vintage. It was also the same year that she took on the winemaking role at Orbis Wines. Winemaking is a fraction of what she does there, though, working with consultant viticulturist Richard Leask to grow in a truly sustainable, regenerative way. There’s much more on her to-do list, too, with Orbis founded on principles of sustainability that ripple through every part of the business and beyond. With McLaren Vale classics planted, there is also a slew of Mediterranean varieties coming online to join the already productive trousseau and tempranillo. Langfield has taken the wines in a brighter and more drink-now direction, along with adding new lines that embrace vibrant immediacy.

    • Pacha Mama Wines
    • Callie Jemmeson
    • Victoria, Pyrenees, Yarra Valley

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Pacha Mama Wines was started by Callie Jemmeson’s father over a decade ago, but she has taken what was a retirement project and turned it into a brand that works with ten varieties sourced from as many growers across Victoria. Her mission is to make wines that are “delicious and honest without the ego and pretence”. The structure at the winery was also crafted to be flexible, allowing for both her and female colleagues to juggle the demands of a family and a winemaking career. With no absolute rules in the winemaking process, Jemmeson makes both classic and experimental wines, working with established stars, such as pinot noir, shiraz, chardonnay and pinot gris, along with a raft of Italian varieties, including prosecco, sangiovese and fiano.

    • Paralian
    • Charlie Seppelt & Skye Salter
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2020, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Charlie Seppelt and Skye Salter have both had diverse and decorated careers as winemakers, recording stints at notable wineries all around the world, but it is in their beloved McLaren Vale that they have settled down to make their wine, their way. Paralian celebrates distinguished sites in the Vale and the Adelaide Hills, with styles that are fragrant, bright and emphasise both early drinkability and age-ability.

    • Parley Wines
    • Sarah Feehan and Melissa Gray
    • South Australia, Adelaide Hills

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    Launched in 2021, the Parley Wines range – owned and made today by Sarah Feehan and Melissa Gray – offers around 10 wines that defy the traditional paradigms of the regions they’re sourced from. Their wines in glass are as playful and approachable as the abstract geometric art that adorns each bottle. Sourcing grapes from across the Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek, and Coonawarra, they also breathe new life into a 1-hectare old vineyard in the Basket Range of Adelaide Hills. This carefully crafted collection from Parley Wine encapsulates the vibrancy of classic South Australian wine regions through a non-traditional lens, offering a fresh take on winemaking for wine enthusiasts and novices alike.

    • Patch Wines
    • Matt Talbot
    • Victoria, Yarra Valley

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    The first release of the Patch wines came from the 2020 vintage. Approaching wine from a varied wine trade background that began with studies in in viticulture, Matt Talbot crafts the Patch Wines with support from winemaker and partner, Kirilly Gordon. There are presently three wines in the Patch lineup: a ‘Shed Red’ Bordeaux inspired blend with a Turkish twist, a ‘Nebbiolo Bianco’ (which is actually the arneis grape variety), and their Marsanne. The Patch project – with the intent on sourcing exciting parcels or ‘patches’ of grapes – is unbound by region. Made from Yarra Valley and Nagambie fruit thus far. All small batch, using a combination of vessels in the making – from tank, to oak, to ceramic egg, to terracotta – delivering wines that are juicy, textural and delicious. All wax sealed, and all pleasingly democratically priced.

    • Patrick of Coonawarra
    • Luke Tocaciu
    • Coonawarra

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist
    2022 Danger Zone

    Luke Tocaciu has terra rossa soil in his blood, growing up in Coonawarra. His career path was never in doubt, with his winemaking travels leading him back to the family vineyard, Patrick of Coonawarra, a little over a decade ago. Today, while “heritage” styles are still a large part of the business, he is pushing the boundaries with his Méthode range, which celebrates different sides of cabernet sauvignon – including one laced with eucalypt character and another made in a gulpable nouveau style – as well as giving riesling the skins treatment.

    • Paxton Wines
    • Ashleigh Seymour
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist

    After more than a decade working in Italy, Ashleigh Seymour came to work at McLaren Vale biodynamic pioneer Paxton in 2021. Now with three vintages under her belt, her magnetic attraction to the Vale – with its complex geology, Mediterranean climate, rich community and industry-leading commitment to organics and biodynamics – has seen her make it her long-term home. Seymour is employing large-format oak and amphora, while limiting winery additions to sulphur, and then only what is needed to be protective across the range that includes Vale hero varieties – shiraz, grenache, cabernet sauvignon – as well as those emerging, such as tempranillo and graciano, with more in the pipeline.

    • Penfolds
    • Oliver Crawford
    • South Australia

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • Penley Estate
    • Lauren Hansen
    • Coonawarra

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Penley Estate is one of Coonawarra’s most celebrated producers, with a firm underpinning in cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. It is a pillar of the region, and it’s a classic region at that – conservative, some would say. But, with a rethink of the operation in 2016, the Penley ship was turned in a different direction, embracing change and experimentation, while still remaining respectful of its roots. Lauren Hansen works alongside head winemaker Kate Goodman to refine Penley classics, as well as to dramatically reframe possibilities with their project wines.

    • Pipers Brook Vineyard & Kreglinger Wine Estates
    • Sudeep Parial
    • Tasmania

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Pipers Brook Vineyard is nearing its fiftieth anniversary, having long ago confirmed its icon status in Tasmania. Playing to the island’s strengths, pinot noir and chardonnay for still and sparkling wines are a key thread, with aromatic whites arguably playing just as important a role. Today, Sudeep Parial manages the winery under the direction of Luke Whittle, shaping the classically styled wines across four ranges.

    • Pondalowie
    • Dominic & Krystina Morris
    • Bendigo

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • Pool Wines
    • Tim Flynn, Darcy Muller, Alex Servinis & Ed Curnow
    • Heathcote

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    Pool Wines is a collaborative effort from a quartet of childhood friends who turned a fun hobby into a serious endeavour, making lo-fi, sulphur-free wine from their simple winery in Kyneton. Sourcing fruit locally, the emphasis is placed on the traditional varieties grown in Heathcote – shiraz and cabernet – and surrounds, but the fruit is picked earlier, and new oak is never used, while vermentino and moscato giallo from Chalmers gets the skins treatment.

    • 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…

    • Poppelvej
    • Uffe Deichmann
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    Uffe Deichmann is the winemaking force behind Poppelvej, a label that has quickly captured the attention of Australian ‘natty’ wine enthusiasts. Now crafting a suite of around 20 wines, sourced from McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills, with a focus on texture and early approachability, including a range of alternative varieties and techniques, from skin contact expressions of white grapes, to pet-nats, to zeitgeist bottlings of chenin blanc, pinot meunier, cabernet franc, and more. Concrete egg-shaped vessels are employed in the winery for fermentation and maturation.

    • Port Phillip Estate & Kooyong
    • Tim Perrin
    • Victoria, Mornington Peninsula

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate are two of the Mornington Peninsula’s enduring stars. Tim Perrin took on the role of chief winemaker of both estates in 2023, where he gets to demonstrate his understanding of chardonnay and pinot noir across some of the Mornington Peninsulas most recognised vineyard sites.

    • Portsea Estate
    • Matt Lugg & Will Ross
    • Victoria, Mornington Peninsula

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    In the expanse of Mornington Peninsula, the Portsea Estate banner has grown to include wines from their own vineyards in Portsea and Main Ridge, as well as sourcing from other growers in the Mornington Peninsula. Matt Lugg and Will Ross work together in crafting the offering for Portsea Estate, with a focusing on refining the classic wines – particularly chardonnay and pinot noir – that the Mornington Peninsula does so well.

    • Precipice
    • Marty Singh
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2016

    2016 Finalist

    • Proud Primary Produce
    • Stuart Proud
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2017

    2017 Finalist

    A viticulturist is a bit like the drummer in a band. They’re a key foundation, but usually kept well out of the limelight, letting the winemaker talk about how “wine is made in the vineyard” and somehow taking all the glory at the same time. Stuart Proud is a farmer first and foremost, and one…

    • Pyren
    • Leighton Joy
    • Pyrenees

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Pyren, in Victoria’s Pyrenees, is now overseen by Leighton Joy, both son and nephew of the founders (brothers). He has diverted the more traditional line of the estate down one that tinkers with experimentation, from working whole bunch and carbonic maceration into their classic varietal wines to spinning the creativity wheel in the Little Ra…

    • Quealy Winemakers / Kerri Greens
    • Tom McCarthy
    • Mornington Peninsula

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    Tom McCarthy is a second-generation Mornington Peninsula winemaker. Indeed, he’s from almost Peninsula royalty, being the son of Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy, pioneers of pinot grigio, friulano and skin contact in the region, amongst other achievements. Making wine at the family business, Quealy Winemakers, McCarthy also has his label, Kerri Greens, with Quealy vineyard manager Lucas Blanck. From skinsy whites from Italian grapes to elegant and poised expressions of Peninsula star varieties – chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot gris – he oversees a vast collection of wines.

    • Quiet Mutiny
    • Greer Carland
    • Tasmania

    • 2019, 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist
    2019 Top 50

    Carland’s choice of the name Quiet Mutiny for her own label is a metaphor of sorts. Having spent much of her career making wines for numerous clients – she was a Senior Winemaker with Winemaking Tasmania (the largest contract winemaker in Tasmania) for 12 years – Carland slipped away from her role in 2016 to pursue wine her way, to show what she sees in Tassie fruit through her unique lens. A classic riesling gains complexity from skin contact and wild fermentation, while pinot noir from the Derwent Valley sees a quarter of the fruit left as whole bunches. Carland also makes wines under the Laurel Bank label, which is her family’s vineyard in Granton that they planted in 1986.

    • Radford Dale
    • Ben & Gill Radford
    • Eden Valley

    • 2008

    2008 Finalist

    • Rieslingfreak
    • Belinda Hughes
    • Eden Valley

    • 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist

    Belinda Hughes only officially joined her husband, John Hughes, at the helm of Rieslingfreak from the 2021 vintage. In reality, she had been intimately involved in the operation for five years prior. The excellent 2021 vintage, though, was a good time to formalise her role making riesling in a dizzying array of styles – from dry to sweet to sparkling to fortified – across the Clare and Eden Valleys. Now with three vintages under her belt, and beautifully cool ones at that, Hughes and her husband are overseeing the building of a new cellar door in Tanunda, while the range of wines has expanded, including an overdue foray into the Clare subregion of Watervale.

    • Rivulet Wines
    • Keira O’Brien
    • Tasmania

    • 2022, 2023

    2023 Winemaker's Choice
    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist

    Keira O’Brien started Rivulet Wines in part to attempt to save Tasmania’s oldest commercial riesling planting and in part to express her sense of creativity, which was being stifled in her contract-winemaking day job. Over the vintages released, the portfolio has ebbed and flowed, with availability of the right fruit a key driver in her range. In 2022, she became the winemaker at the iconic east coast vineyard Freycinet, juggling her brand and one of Tasmania’s most vaunted. The Rivulet range consists of cross-regional pinot noir and a pair of single site offerings, with a single site chardonnay, barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc and a sylvaner filling the roster of wines, though a riesling will come back into the range from the 2023 vintage.

    • Rollick Wines
    • Jack Weedon
    • Barossa Valley, Riverland

    • 2021, 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Jack and Tash Weedon’s Rollick label is built around the bright, drink-now styles of wine they love to drink themselves. Working with grenache, shiraz, cabernet franc and viognier from the Barossa, riesling from the Eden Valley and fiano from both the Clare Valley and the Riverland, the fruit is picked earlier to retain freshness, while less time in oak or tank has much the same impact. The Rollick wines are instantly recognisable wines of variety and place, but with the vibrancy and freshness dials wound to maximum.

    • Running With Bulls (Yalumba)
    • Sam Wigan
    • South Australia

    • 2011

    2011 Finalist

    • Sabi Wabi
    • Peta Kotz
    • Hunter Valley

    • 2022, 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist
    2022 Winemaker's Choice
    2022 Finalist

    Peta Kotz’s Sabi Wabi is her homage to reworking the traditions of the Hunter, of searching for “beauty amongst imperfection”. Semillon is the foundation of the brand she launched in 2019 while working for biodynamic Hunter winery Krinklewood, and she steadfastly says it will remain that way, although her lo-fi making, with no subtractions and no adds, bar a fraction of sulphur, and employment of a raft of alternative vessels is also applied to other whites, red wine and rosé.

    • Sailor Seeks Horse / Home Hill
    • Gilli & Paul Lipscombe
    • Tasmania

    • 2016, 2018, 2020

    2020 Finalist
    2018 Winemaker's Choice
    2016 Finalist

    Gilli and Paul Lipsombe’s quest to make the finest new world pinot noir and chardonnay they possibly could led them to the extreme viticultural south of Tasmania, in the Huon Valley. Along the way, they won a Jimmy Watson at one of their day jobs and helped tune the viticulture at the vaunted Chatto at…

    • Saison Vermouth
    • Dave Verheul
    • Victoria

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2021 Danger Zone

    Dave Verheul is a chef, and a celebrated one at that, but he’s also one of the leading lights in Australia’s burgeoning vermouth movement, producing micro-batches of his Saison vermouth that are based on pure, singular flavours and built with organically farmed local produce. Starting as an inhouse offering for his Melbourne restaurants – Embla and Lesa – the steel clamp of 2020’s lockdowns gave him enough breathing space to properly launch his range, with a second pair of vermouths – ‘Blackcurrant Leaf’ and the second edition of ‘Summer Flowers’ – following in 2021.

    • Saltfleet
    • Kyle Egel & Jonny Cook
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2022, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2022 Finalist

    Saltfleet is a collaboration of two McLaren Vale winemakers, Kyle Egel and Jonny Cook. Both have solid day jobs, working at Rycroft and Wirra Wirra respectively, with Saltfleet founded in 2021 as their creative outlet. They debuted with an old vine grenache and a touriga nacional made from the 2021 vintage, both in neutral, large-format oak and both with no additions bar a low dose of sulphur, with subsequent releases adding a mataro and a sangiovese to the lineup, with a fiano and a chenin blanc to come from the 2024 vintage. The focus for Saltfleet is mediterranean grape varieties that thrive in McLaren Vale.

    • Scanlon Wines
    • Harry Scanlon
    • South Australia, Adelaide Hills

    • 2024

    Finalist
    2024 Finalist

    From the family vineyard In the Piccadilly Valley subregion of Adelaide Hills, at altitude close to 600m, Harry Scanlon of Scanlon Wines is carving out his niche with two new Pinot Noirs added to the family label in 2022, with the intent of crafting distinct pinot offerings from the family vineyard.

    • Scion
    • Rowly Milhinch
    • Rutherglen

    • 2022, 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist
    2022 People's Choice
    2022 Finalist

    Some 20 years ago, Rowly Milhinch left a career in visual communication to set up a vineyard and a family life in Rutherglen. It’s territory that his family have lived in for generations, and he was intent on honouring the traditions of the region but recasting them through his own lens. Under his Scion label, he makes fortifieds, a staple of Rutherglen, but they are twists on the classics, including a ‘Muscat Nouveau’ and dry orange muscat, ‘Blonde’, as well as making dry red from syrah, grenache and durif, with the latter also getting the light red treatment, built to chill.

    • Scout
    • Sarah Adamson
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Scout is the trans-Tasman “wine child” of Sarah Adamson and Greg Lane, named after the narrator in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Now, that literary reference may seem a little odd for a wine brand, but in the book, Scout observes carefully and questions rather than just going with the flow. This is the…

    • Sentio
    • Chris Catlow
    • Tumbarumba, Alpine Valleys, Beechworth, Macedon Ranges, Yarra Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Sentio is the Beechworth based solo project of Chris Catlow, a Chardonnay-centric endeavour sourcing from prime regions across Victoria. The wines are classic, racy and textural, with regional differences to the fore. A Beechworth pinot noir and eclectic red and white blends – with variety giving way to style and place – also get a…

    • Seppelt
    • Emma Wood
    • Grampians

    • 2008, 2009

    2009 Finalist
    2008 Finalist

    • 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…

    • Shadowfax
    • Matt Harrop
    • Victoria

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • Shaw & Smith
    • Daryl Catlin
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • Sherrah
    • Alex Sherrah
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    Alex Sherrah’s career path was not always headed down the wine path, but his organic chemistry degree was useful as a building block to complete a winemaking diploma. That was after a vintage in McLaren Vale in the early 2000s that saw him fall for the work and the people. A practical apprenticeship for the next decade and a half followed, with his SHERRAH label lunched in 2017. Today, his focus is firmly Vale-centric, with both familiar varieties and those emerging getting equal airtime, while expressions range from elegant takes on the classics to a skinsy white, pét-nat and zero-sulphur red.

    • 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…

    • Sholto Wines
    • Jacob Carter
    • Canberra District

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Jacob Carter’s Sholto wines are made to reflect the familiar in an unfamiliar light, taking classic varieties from the Canberra District and making them in decidedly non-classic ways to reveal surprising new dimensions. Whether employing skin contact with sauvignon blanc or carbonic maceration with cabernet sauvignon, Carter is constantly redefining the wines of his region, never making the same variety the same way twice.

    • Si Vintners
    • Sarah Morris & Iwo Jakimowicz
    • Margaret River

    • 2013

    2013 Finalist

    Si Vintners was started by Sarah Morris and Iwo Jakimowicz in 2006, but it was a move to their own Margaret River vineyard and an immersion in biodynamic farming that was the turning point for the pair. Working with the region’s classic varieties – chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, semillon, sauvignon blanc – as well as some…

    • Sigurd
    • Dan Graham
    • Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley

    • 2021

    2021 Winemaker's Choice
    2021 Finalist

    Dan Graham’s Sigurd has been helping to redefine the Barossa Valley since 2012, with fruit picked earlier to capture freshness, then made with a minimal-intervention approach and no additions bar sulphur at bottling. Now also working with grapes from the Riverland, Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley, Graham makes varietal wines – chardonnay, riesling, chenin blanc, carignan and syrah – as well as complex white, rosé and red blends, with judicious amounts of whole bunch and skin contact employed to create complex, complete wines that are as focused on elegant flavour as they are on texture and structural detail.

    • Silent Noise
    • Charlie O’Brien
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Charlie O’Brien’s Silent Noise label is over five years old now, with the first wine from 2015 made with the help of his father at the family winery, Kangarilla Road. The younger O’Brien wasn’t yet in his final year of school when those grapes were picked and crushed, but there was no holding him back. Today, with experience gained from near and far, he’s taken the winemaking reins firmly, making wines from McLaren Vale star varieties, as well as alternative Italian grapes grown in the Riverland, with ample experimentation in the winery never getting in the way of pure drinkability.

    • 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.

    • Site Wine
    • Sam Hambour & Duncan Gibson
    • Mornington Peninsula

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    The old saying goes that “it takes a lot of great beer to make great wine”. Well, for Sam Hambour and Duncan Gibson, they certainly have a consistent supply of the frothy stuff. Co-founders and owners of Hop Nation Brewing Co., Hambour and Gibson are winemakers by trade, and with the brewing side successful established, winemaking has come back into the frame. With five vintages under their belts, the pair make a range of wine from fresh glou-glou styles to more mediative selections both from their base on the Mornington Peninsula and across Victoria.

    • Small Island Wines
    • James Broinowski
    • Tasmania

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    James Broinowski turned out his first wine under the Small Island Wines imprint from the 2015 vintage, from Glengarry in the north. That wine went on to considerable wine show success and he was quickly talked about by some of the top critics as a maker to watch. That pinot was also the first Australian…

    • Somos
    • Ben Caldwell & Mauricio Ruiz Cantú
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2020, 2021, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Based in McLaren Vale, Somos is the label of Ben Caldwell and Mauricio Ruiz Cantú. The pair work primarily with less-known Italian and Spanish varieties, and they make them in entirely unconventional ways, with a lo-fi and sustainable ethos.

    • Sonnen
    • Luke Andree
    • Tasmania

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Luke Andree kicked off Sonnen Wine in 2020, releasing a riesling and pinot noir. That came when he was spending most of his time out in the open, tending the vines for Mewstone in Tasmania’s south. Although a side project at the time, the Sonnen label has grown to occupy much of Andree’s time, with a range that meanders through different approaches, with new takes on classic varieties and eccentric blending to achieve modern styles of wine that lean towards bright drinkability with an emphasis on unpretentiousness and good times.

    • South by South West
    • Liv Maiorana & Mijan Patterson
    • Margaret River

    • 2019, 2022

    2022 Finalist
    2019 Top 50
    2019 People's Choice

    In the quest for knowledge beyond the familiar and that gleaned off the page, partners Liv Maiorana and Mijan Patterson embarked on an experience-gathering world wine trip in 2013, taking in vintages in California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys, the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, as well as in the South of France and Tuscany and Sicily. That trip crystallised in them a desire to launch their own label based in Margaret River, and one that knit into both the approaches they had seen to viticulture and winemaking, as well as the cultural connection with wine-growing. The idea for South by South West then started to germinate…

    • Spider Bill Wines
    • Tarrant Hansen
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Spider Bill Wines is the culmination of Tarrant Hansen’s abandonment of a budding career in research medicine to follow a path in wine. The passion for grapes took Hansen from Queensland to the South Australia to study, then subsequently around the world to refine his craft. Today, his Adelaide Hills label sees chardonnay and pinot…

    • 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…

    • 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…

    • Sven Joschke Wine
    • Sven Joschke
    • Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley

    • 2021, 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Sven Joschke’s wines are lo-fi, and with no adds except a particularly small dose of sulphur when they go to bottle, but that’s not to say they aren’t purposeful with clear directions in mind, as he says, “minimal intervention, made with intent”. With only a few years of winemaking under his belt – after fleeing a corporate career as an accountant – Joschke hit the ground running, now making wines from the Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek and the Barossa, as well as in the Jura, France.

    • Swinging Bridge
    • Tom Ward
    • Orange

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Swinging Bridge is the premium label that fronts the Ward family’s grape-growing enterprise in the chill climes of Orange, New South Wales. Tom Ward, recognising the immense potential of their site and the broader region, reworked their approach to growing from a commercial mindset to one that prioritised quality and character over yield. Today, Ward…

    • 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,…

    • 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…

    • Teusner
    • Kym Teusner
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • The Stoke
    • Nick Dugmore
    • Kangaroo Island

    • 2020, 2021, 2023

    2023 Vigneron
    2023 Finalist
    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    The Stoke brand is a tribute to the largely untapped potential of Kangaroo Island as a premium wine-growing region. Nick Dugmore makes wines that are expressive of the relatively cool, wind-swept vineyards of KI, with a focus on lighter to midweight styles with food and conviviality in mind. The leased Cassini Vineyard now provides the bulk of the fruit for the label, with Dugmore farming the site regeneratively side by side with his father.

    • The Vinden Headcase
    • Angus Vinden
    • Hunter Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Working out of the family winery, Angus Vinden has expanded on the traditional base his father established in the 1990s, both growing the classic Vinden range, as well as building his own wing to the portfolio with The Vinden Headcase. The latter is his outlet to create wines that sit outside the styles commonly associated…

    • The Wanderer
    • Andrew Marks
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2010, 2011, 2012

    2012 Finalist
    2011 Finalist
    2010 Finalist

    Although now firmly at the tiller of his family’s Gembrook Hill vineyard, Andrew Marks’ label The Wanderer aptly describes his prior travelling and winemaking ways. Marks continues the tradition of fashioning elegant and refined chardonnay, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and sparkling wine from the cool Gembrook Hill site in the Upper Yarra Valley, as well…

    • Thick as Thieves
    • Syd Bradford
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2012, 2013

    2013 Finalist
    2012 Finalist

    Syd Bradford’s Thick as Thieves label is just a decade old, but it is a firm star of the new wave of Yarra Valley makers. Somewhat tirelessly, Bradford has sourced the fruit from across the Yarra and North east Victoria, made the wines, bottled, marketed, sold and delivered them himself. And when he hasn’t been…

    • Tillie J Wines
    • Tillie Johnston
    • Yarra Valley

    • 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 People's Choice
    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Tillie Johnston’s path to making wine started in the Yarra Valley, then widened into a busy global arc, but was always tracking back to where she started. With experience at some of the finest wineries across Australia and overseas – focused on regions that echoed the Yarra’s climate – Johnston now tends her own block of pinot noir vines in Gruyere, launching her eponymous label from the 2020 vintage with a lone pinot noir, crafted from the ground up to be bright, fruit forward and handled lightly in the winery. In 2021, a chardonnay entered the portfolio, which was unsurprising given it is arguably the region’s star variety. Vintage ’22 saw a rosé added, plus a Langhorne Creek Project grenache, while a 2023 Aligoté from King Valley is the newest addition to the lineup as Tillie J searches for more delicious sources of Burgundian varieties.

    • 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…

    • Travail Wine Co.
    • Jordan & Lauren Barham
    • Macedon Ranges

    • 2022

    2022 Finalist

    Travail Wine Co. is the fledgling family wine business of Jordan and Lauren Barham. That label began in the 2021 vintage, with a piquette made from Macedon Ranges pinot noir pomace and a fiano from Heathcote. The following vintage will introduce new wines from a leased vineyard in Carlsruhe, which Lauren will be making with the aid of the local wine community after Jordan’s untimely death.

    • 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,…

    • Turon Wines
    • Turon White
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2021, 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Turon White has not strayed far from his beloved Adelaide Hills, excepting experience-gathering vintages interstate and abroad, with the rich diversity of the region and the pristine fruit quality ideal for the elegant yet intense wines he makes under his Turon Wines label. With chardonnay, pinot noir and gamay to the fore, White takes a minimal-intervention approach, but his wines are in a classic mould, expressing variety, site and season with bell-clear clarity.

    • Two Tonne Tasmania
    • Ricky Evans
    • Tasmania

    • 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020

    2020 Finalist
    2018 Finalist
    2017 Finalist
    2016 People's Choice
    2016 Finalist

    A local who sought education and experience on the mainland, it wasn’t long before Ricky Evans returned to Tasmania to take up a role at Bay of Fires (good breeding ground that – Peter Dredge, Fran Austin…) and launch his own micro-project that ended up taking up a macro amount of time. Starting with a…

    • Tyrrell's Wines
    • Chris Tyrrell
    • Hunter Valley

    • 2016

    2016 Finalist

    Chris Tyrrell, a fifth-generation winemaker, is the custodian of one of this country’s most revered wine estates and a legacy that stretches back to the mid-19th century. It’s a big mantle, and one he took on in his early 30s after a hands-on apprenticeship with two of the Hunter’s most revered winemakers and under the…

    • 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,…

    • Utzinger Wines
    • Matthias Utzinger
    • Tasmania

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    In the Tamar Valley, Matthias and Lauren Utzinger planted their vineyard in 2018 – now certified organic – at an impressive density of 6,500 vines per hectare. Wines for the ‘Utzinger’ labels come from their own land, as well as three additional vineyards where Matthias is hands-on in the vines – he has the vigneron ethos that wine are “grown, not made”. The Utzinger wine range showcases Tasmanian classics such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, and a ‘Fumé’ Sauvignon Blanc. Looking ahead, the Utzingers plan to introduce alternative varieties to their range, importing vine cuttings from Matthias’ homeland of Switzerland, promising an exciting future for this Tasmanian project.

    • Vallée du Venom
    • Rhys and Emma Parker
    • Western Australia, Margaret River

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    In Margaret River, Rhys and Emma Parker have cultivated a distinctive approach to winemaking with Vallée du Venom, intertwining regional heritage with a flair for the contemporary. Their collection, adorned with labels that have an electro-punk aesthetic, boasts a dozen wines that combine Margaret River classics with avant-garde offerings like pet nats, chenin blanc, and chilled reds. This eclectic range, all sourced from local vineyards, reflects the Parkers’ innovative spirit. Central to their operation is the development of their ‘Urban Micro Winery’ in the northern Margaret River town of Dunsborough, and their Cellar Door ten minutes away at Yallingup Galleries.

    • Varney Wines
    • Alan Varney
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Alan Varney’s journey has taken him from a childhood just outside of New York City around the world, eventually landing in McLaren Vale for a decade before settling down for good on the edge of Adelaide’s southern suburbs with McLaren Vale on his doorstep. His first solo wine was made with a tonne of fruit a decade or so ago, but it was from the 2017 vintage that he started to build a suite that would be released a couple of years later. Varney makes wine across four ranges, with some limited release and experimental wines, a pink gin, and the Entrada wines (bright everyday wines for the table) orbiting around the Essentials range, with classic and emerging varieties featuring. All the wines are pitched to feature variety and site at the fore, with only old oak employed.

    • Vignerons Schmölzer & Brown
    • Tessa Brown
    • Beechworth

    • 2016, 2017

    2017 Top 50
    2016 Finalist

    Tessa Brown’s career as a viticulturist and winemaker has taken her around the country and the world. But after an extended stint on the Mornington Peninsula, a greenfield site 11 kilometres outside of Beechworth saw her and her partner tip all in, launching Vignerons Schmölzer & Brown. Working with their fledgling vines and also sourcing…

    • Vino Intrepido
    • James Scarcebrook
    • Heathcote, Mornington Peninsula

    • 2021, 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Vino Intrepido is a natural continuation for James Scarcebrook’s long-term connection with Italian wine, from fine-wine retail and extensive wine-focused travel to wholesaling some of Italy’s best wines. His range, which was launched in 2016 with two wines, has grown to include a suite of Italian varieties, including sangiovese, nebbiolo, fiano and nero d’avola. The grapes are all sourced from Victorian vineyards, then made in a way that takes inspiration from traditional Italian methods but is carefully tuned to be sympathetic to the natural expression of individual sites and seasons.

    • Vino Volta
    • Garth Cliff
    • Swan District

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Garth Cliff spent 20 years making wine across Australia and in the US, with a decade at Houghton before striking out on his own with partner Kristen McGann. And while many a Western Australian winemaker would feel drawn to the glamour regions, like Margaret River, Cliff was most passionate about the deeply unfashionable Swan District….

    • Vinteloper
    • David Bowley
    • South Australia

    • 2011, 2012

    2012 Finalist
    2011 Finalist

    • Vinteloper
    • Alyson Tannenbaum
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    With the acquisition of a home vineyard, Vinteloper has evolved from a label cherry picking fruit from various South Australian regions into a roster of wines that reflect their home in the Adelaide Hills, Alyson Tannenbaum now pulls the winemaking levers in David Bowley’s operation, crafting everything from their Adelaide-Hills-centric White Label range (which still…

    • Voyager
    • Cliff Royle
    • Margaret River

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • Wallington / Dreaded Friend
    • Steve Mobbs
    • Central Ranges

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Steve Mobbs heads up Wallington Wines, overseeing the organic farming and making their wines, as well his experimental incursions using Wallington fruit, which appear under his Dreaded Friend label. While the biodynamic Wallington wines are classic expressions from a warm pocket of the Central Ranges, in New South Wales, Dreaded Friend takes the same fruit…

    • Wangolina
    • Anita Goode
    • Mount Benson

    • 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Mount Benson’s Wangolina is increasingly becoming a canvas for Anita Goode’s fascination with alternative varieties, though the classic French grapes of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, semillon and sauvignon blanc still get plenty of airtime. Aside from grüner veltliner, which is a cherished grape for Goode, the varieties and future plantings are Italian and Spanish, with some red grapes sourced from Mundulla, with the warmer inland climate favouring lagrein, montepulciano, mencia and tempranillo. Goode’s wines champion the less-known varieties through pure expressions, but an increasing interest in experimentation, with more egg-shaped fermenters in a recently completed winery are seeing the boundaries pushed in interesting ways.

    • Weathercraft
    • Raquel Jones
    • Beechworth

    • 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Weathercraft is the realisation of Raquel Jones’ long-held dream to make wine from her own fruit. A project where the growing takes precedence, and the making simply follows. Eventually landing in Beechworth on an established vineyard, she makes elegant takes on local stars – chardonnay, shiraz, cabernet – but has replanted to map a future that is occupied substantially by Spanish varieties, principally tempranillo and albariño.

    • Wellington & Wolfe
    • Hugh McCullough
    • Tasmania

    • 2020

    2020 Finalist

    Hugh McCullough’s Wellington & Wolfe label (named after the famous British generals) is a nod to a career in history left to gather dust while he forged ahead with an all-consuming love of wine. That love is democratic, with McCullough personally embracing all styles, but he has a special passion for riesling, and his Tamar…

    • Werkstatt Wine
    • Bridget Mac
    • South Australia, Mount Gambier

    • 2024

    2024 Finalist

    Bridget Mac, the creative force behind Werkstatt Wine – with a focus on Riesling (thus far) – embodies the spirit of an artist turned winemaker, melding her passion for Germany, Austria, Switzerland wines with the distinct terroirs of Australia. Her label debuted in 2022 with releases thus far including a Riesling and a Pétillant Naturel Riesling, with a Pinot Noir to be released in due course from the 2024 vintage.

    • Wheeler & 3P25
    • Dale Wheeler
    • Victoria, Yarra Valley

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Dale Wheeler left a more certain career path in advertising to go all in with winemaking, moving to Melbourne and enrolling in a winemaking course. That spirit of adventure led him to take on a vineyard lease with a friend while they were both still studying. That was no easy path, but it gave him a firm appreciation of ground-up winemaking and a deep connection to the nuances of the Yarra Valley as well as connections to its best growers. Today, Wheeler Wines focuses on the great Yarra standards of chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet, along with a very de rigueur chillable red, while the 3P25 label sees a portion of the profits donated to a children’s medical charity. Whole bunch for reds, barrel ferments, and no additions apart from sulphur are the general rules, with variety, site and season given primacy.

    • Whisson Lake
    • Tom Munro
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2012, 2013

    2013 Finalist
    2012 Finalist

    • White Gate Wine Co.
    • Chad Connolly
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2021, 2022, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2022 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    White Gate Wine Co. was founded by Chad and Georgia Connolly, who set out to frame the Barossa in a more elegant light, with earlier picking, plenty of whole bunch for reds and a minimal intervention approach. Working loosely with growers or leasing vineyards, the pair’s aim is to make wines they love to drink, elegant, balanced and light on their feet. They make a changing roster of wines, including varietal syrah, grenache, cabernet sauvignon, petit sirah (durif) and nero d’avola, plus a blend of semillon and riesling, a skinsy amphora semillon and a blend of grenache, mataro and cabernet – and there’s always plenty more in the pipeline.

    • Wilimee
    • Ben Ranken
    • Macedon Ranges

    • 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

    2021 Vigneron
    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.

    • 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 Jean-Paul – The Happy Winemaker
    • Jean-Paul Trijsburg
    • Heathcote

    • 2021, 2023

    2023 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    Jean-Paul Trijsburg farms a small pinot noir vineyard in the Ballarat region for his Jean-Paul label, while also sourcing fruit from across central Victorian vineyards, making diverse styles, from vermouth, to red pét-nats, to a carménère and a more classic offering of pinot noir and cool climate syrah. Year on year, the range has expanded, with even more cuvées planned for the 2023 vintage.

    • 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…

    • Worlds Apart Wines
    • Louis Schofield
    • Eden Valley, McLaren Vale

    • 2021, 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist
    2021 Finalist

    With wines that are light to medium in weight, and sensitive making that sticks to minimal sulphur doses as the only additive, Louis Schofield launched Worlds Apart Wines in 2017. He works with syrah, riesling, grenache, nero d’avola, pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, sourced from McLaren Vale, the Eden Valley, and his home in the Adelaide Hills. And while his wines trace a natural arc, Schofield has no interest in dogma, with drinkability and deliciousness taking centre stage.

    • Xanadu
    • Glenn Goodall
    • Margaret River

    • 2010

    2010 Finalist

    • XO Wine Co.
    • Greg Clack & Kate Horstmann
    • South Australia

    • 2023, 2024

    2024 Finalist
    2023 Finalist

    Greg Clack and Kate Horstmann founded XO Wine Co. in 2017. They focus on small-batch parcels of fruit, building complexity subtly through fermentation and maturation methods, with bright fruit and sense of place taking the lead. The pair work with the established strengths of both the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale, with shiraz, grenache, pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and riesling all getting a run, alongside the emerging stars of nebbiolo, barbera and tempranillo. A lightly skinsy pinot gris and a light chillable red that is a collage of red varieties completes the suite.

    • Yayoi Wines
    • Steffi Snook
    • South Australia, Victoria, McLaren Vale, Murray Darling

    • 2023

    2023 Finalist

    Yayoi means ‘new life’ and is the traditional Japanese name for the month of March. For Steffi Snook, it symbolises the start of a wine label and a new direction in her life. A New Zealander who came to Australia to study and was so entranced by Melbourne’s rich food and wine culture, Snook worked her way through fine dining and wine distribution to land in Geelong. It was there that a passion for making wine really took hold, launching her label in 2022. Chenin blanc takes the lead – her key obsession – along with a textural vermentino, while a blend of the two grapes find their way into a pét-nat.

    • 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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