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

Winemakers Directory

Awards Key

Young Gun of Wine

Established in 2007, the Young Gun of Wine Award is our top trophy. It goes to an emerging producer that is not only making outstanding wine, but also demonstrating vision and leadership, and nailing the entire pitch, packaging and presentation of their product.

People’s Choice

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

Winemaker’s Choice

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

Best New Act

The Best New Act goes to a first-time finalist in our winemaker awards that is making a profound impression. This trophy was introduced from 2013.

Danger Zone

The Danger Zone is the only trophy in our winemaker awards that goes to a wine product. It recognises a wine that successfully pushes the boundaries. This trophy was introduced from 2017.

The Vigneron

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


  • Wine label
  • Winemaker
  • Region
  • Award
  • Year
    • Aphelion Wine Co.
    • Rob Mack
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2017, 2018

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

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

    • Marco Lubiana
    • Marco Lubiana
    • Tasmania

    • 2021, 2022

    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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

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