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See last year’s finalists here.

Registrations for the 15th annual Young Gun of Wine are now open.

FOR REGISTRATION DETAILS, SEE: YOUNGGUNOFWINE.COM/REGISTRATIONS

WINEMAKERS, REGISTER NOW – GET AMONGST IT HERE: TRYBOOKING.COM/BMNQR

Criteria

The thing about emerging wine producers is they’re a source of innovation, inspiration and new ideas. They’re not shackled by conventions. They’re free. Wide-eyed; adventurous; eager to travel; to experiment; to remix, they question everything. They create energy. They excite. And this is how they lead.

Our definition of a young gun is not about a date of birth*. It’s about this spirit and being young at heart. We’ve had a number of past finalists over 40 – because, really, it takes a lot to make impressive wine.

Whether they’re employed by an established company or running their own show; whether they’re refining traditional styles or getting radical, we want to provide a platform for these people and their ideas.

They come in all forms. Our definition of a winemaker isn’t limited to the person who presses the fruit and racks the wine. Steve Jobs didn’t assemble the circuitry in Apple products, but he’s the one, isn’t he.

These awards are about gathering the like-minded and uniquely individual talents together, rallying eclectic and far flung tastes, making noise, getting them noticed and having a ripping time along the way.

Young Gun of Wine is a search and showcase of winemaking talent, open to both young wine labels and winemakers on the rise*.

*Please see FAQs on registrations page re: age limit and wine submissions.

Calendar
  • Registrations open for 15th annual YGOW: November 2020
  • Registrations close: December 2020
  • Submissions for the tasting panel: January, 2021
  • Announcement of finalists: March 2021
  • Event program for all finalists, either traditional events or virtual events, subject to COVID restrictions, either of the following to occur:
    • Trade and consumer events: dates and which two cities, TBC
    • Virtual events in lieu of traditional events, details TBC
  • Trophy presentation: May or June (final date TBC), 2021
The Tasting Panel (2020 YGOW Awards)

Nick Stock

Chief panellist of the Young Gun of Wine. Author, International Wine Communicator and Awarded Best Drinks Journalist at the 2007 Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards.

Rory Kent

Founder of Young Gun of Wine, and editor-in-chief of younggunofwine.com.

Pip Anderson

Formerly 2IC at Merivale in Sydney, Pip Anderson now heads up the wine at Mona in Hobart where she is also applying her hands to winegrowing.

Penny Grant

Penny Grant is the Group Sommelier for the Ghanem Group in Brisbane, whose venues include the iconic Blackbird, as well as the new Dona Chang.

JANE LOPES

Author of ‘Vignette’, Attica’s wine director, Good Food magazine

“I’m looking forward to continuing to explore the emerging talent
in winemaking in Australia. I’m continually impressed by the perspective and integrity of new wineries in Australia, and excited to be able to taste many in a concentrated setting.”
Jane Lopes graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Renaissance Literature and a love for food, wine, and spirits. While taking a year off, Jane found a job in wine retail. She worked at the nationally- acclaimed cocktail bar, The Violet Hour, and in 2011, moved to Nashville to be the opening Beverage Director at The Catbird Seat. After moving to New York in 2013, Jane began working as a sommelier at Eleven Madison Park, helping to lift the restaurant to #1 in the world on the World’s 50 Best List. In 2017, Jane was recruited to run the beverage program at Attica. Her first book, Vignette, was published in 2019 by Hardie Grant. Jane also has a column in Fairfax’s monthly Good Food Magazine.

DAVID MOYLE

Chef and food editor, The Saturday Paper

David’s been involved in top Wineslinger venues, such as Franklin and The Summertown Aristologist, and a number of other recognised dining rooms around Australia – places where food and wine are naturally hand in hand.
“I’m really excited to taste and talk with young talent in the wine industry. A lot can be picked up by what is in the glass, but it’s the purpose behind and the work leading up to that is important. Decisions need to be made and each one impacts the end result so greatly.”
We’re excited about the unique perspective and experience that David will bring to our panel in 2020.

JAMES HIRD

Wine director, The Icebergs Group

Award-winning sommelier, James Hird is wine director at several of Sydney’s top venues, including Icebergs, The Dolphin Hotel, CicciaBella, The Bucket List and Hotel Harry.
“I am very fortunate to work across venues that offer dynamic wine programs. For me, whether it’s a formal dining room or a sand on feet beachside bar, it’s exciting to offer wine that suits the menu and the place. It is truly exciting to see, in both restaurants and pubs, more guests looking for real wines that offer a sense of place and the people who made them. Wine for me should be fun and accessible.
“I’m really looking to being a part of the YGOW Awards panel in 2020 – it’s an amazing opportunity to get a snapshot of what’s going on with emerging producers around the country and catch up with some of the country’s great wine folks. It’s fantastic to see this program go from strength.”
We love the breadth of offering, and indeed the surprise and joy created, amongst James’ wine programs. We’re looking forward to this diverse approach with the curation of our Top 50 list and trophy winners in the 2020 YGOW Awards.

CHARLOTTE HARDY

Winemaker,
Charlotte Dalton Wines

Charlotte knows what the winemakers are going through.
“I am really excited to join the panel for the upcoming Young Gun of Wine Awards. Having been a finalist in 2017 I know the doors it can open, relationships it can build and confidence it can install in a young brand. To be on the other side is just such a huge honour knowing how game changing it can be for the finalists. I am really looking forward to seeing winemakers’ expressions of themselves in the glass. Wine
is such a deeply personal thing and is a true reflection of a winemaker, the passion they put into every bottle becomes so evident no matter the style
they make.”

MAX VEENHUZEN

Broadsheet Perth editor, Gourmet Traveller

“I’m hoping to get a good look at Australia’s next generation of it-winemakers: the blue-sky thinkers and doers who are going to drive the winemaking discussion in future. I’m also excited about being part of an Australian award system that looks at wine through a different lens to the traditional show system. This isn’t a criticism of the old ways—there’s no denying that show system has helped shape Australia’s wine identity—but in an era where drinkers are chasing wines with personality, sustainability, good design and powerful stories, it seems fitting to rethink the way wines are—quote-unquote — ‘judged’.”
Perth-based food, drink and travel writer, Max is WA’s editor-at-large for Broadsheet and regularly contributes to Australian Gourmet Traveller (WA state editor), and Good Food. He has been contributing to key national and international titles for more than a decade.

KATIE SPAIN

The Advertiser (News Ltd), Gourmet Traveller & WBM

“As a writer, I trawl the world in search of great stories (and bottles). Joining the Young Gun of Wine Awards panel for 2020, I look forward to discovering the tales behind the stellar group of entrants. What led them to wine? How do they make what they do and why? What drives them? That is the magic of wine.”
Katie Spain is a journalist, wine writer and author. She is a wine scribe for News Corp’s The Advertiser newspaper, a feature writer for SA Weekend Magazine, Australian Wine Business Magazine, and is a food and wine writer for The Advertiser, Sunday Mail, and The Advertiser Food Guide. She was the 2017 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show fellow and is the author of The Producers: A Taste of South Australia and co-author of Adelaide Central Market — Stories, People & Recipes. When the former farm kid is not cumulating keyboard strokes she can usually be found scouring the country for stories (and cellar doors) in a tiny vintage caravan called Charlie.

DAMON KOERNER

Winemaker, Koerner

Damon Koerner first submitted wines to the Young Gun of Wine Awards panel in 2015, and took out the top title in 2019. As with all past top-title winners, he joins the panel for our next edition of the awards.
“Hoping to see both a blend of clever winemaking and creative thinking, wines that reflect a place and are delicious drinking!”

JESS HO

Food and drink editor, Time Out

Beyond being a commentator, Jess has had a small taste of the winemaking thing (you may recall our “Baptism of Fire” project where first-timers were thrown into the cut n thrust of releasing a wine, from harvest through to sales), and has experienced the highs and lows of opening her own wine bar. If you’ve seen her work in writing or on TV as a judge on a commercial network food show, you’ll know she pulls no punches with her words.
“In joining the YGOW Awards panel, I am looking forward to the new stories, philosophies and approaches that the pool of talent will offer, and how it will translate in the bottle. Australia is in a very exciting stage of winemaking where its identity today is its own, lead by a new wave of vignerons and winemakers who are marching to the beat of their own drum and pushing boundaries that challenge the status quo.”

LOUELLA MATTHEWS

Sommelier, Bibo Wine Bar

“I can’t wait to discover new winemakers, new varietals, new styles that Australia has to offer in these ever changing times of the wine world. I’m never worried about quality when it comes to Australian wine, as we have some of the best winemakers in the world, but I’m looking forward to the diversity.”

SAMANTHA TEAGUE

Deputy Editor, Concrete Playground

Samantha Teague is the deputy editor of Concrete Playground and has previously written for Gourmet Traveller and Broadsheet Sydney.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the up-and-coming wine labels and other winemaking young guns—the envelope- pushing producers who are making weird and wacky (or wonderfully traditional) drops. I’m excited to be a part of an award that’s helping to promote this next generation of winemakers (and has been doing so for over a decade) and that takes into account the broader context of winemaking. Taste is key, but so are sustainability, inclusivity and leadership.”

IAN TRINKLE

Group Sommelier, Howard Smith Wharves

In his previous role as Head Sommelier at Aria, Ian was awarded The Judy Hirst award for Australia’s best Sommelier, as well as best wine list and Sommelier in Australia in Good Food Guide.
At Howard Smith Wharves, Ian Trinkle is responsible for purchasing wines across all of their venues, including: Arc Dining, Mr Percival’s, Stanley Restaurant, Yoko Dining and Ciao Papi.

TONY HARPER

Craft Wine Store, Delicious magazine & The Courier Mail

Having worked in restaurants and wine retail for more than 25 years, Tony has forged a career as a prominent wine and food reviewer and wine show judge, and been the man behind some of Brisbane’s finest food offerings. He currently owns and runs Brisbane’s Craft, an emporium of fine wine and artisan beer, contributes to Delicious magazine and is a food and wine correspondent for The Courier Mail.

Partners
Past Results
  • 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.

    • 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…

    • Alkimi Wines
    • Stuart Dudine
    • Heathcote, Yarra Valley

    • 2021

    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

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

    • 2021

    2021 Finalist

    Sam Berketa has been at the helm of McLaren Vale’s Alpha Box & Dice since 2015, making at 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

    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 chardonnay and pinot noir, though a field blend of red and white varieties and a pinot blanc and sauvignon blanc blend that spends over two months on skins also feature. 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 somewhat reluctantly.

    • Aphelion Wine Co.
    • Rob Mack
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2017, 2018

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

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

    • 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…

    • 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.

    • 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

    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…

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

    • 2016, 2017, 2018

    2018 Finalist
    2017 Danger Zone
    2016 Finalist

    • Brokenwood
    • PJ Charteris
    • Hunter Valley

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • Cape Jaffa
    • Anna Hooper
    • Limestone Coast

    • 2017

    2017 Finalist

    • Cavedon Wines
    • Gabe O’Brien
    • King Valley

    • 2021

    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

    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. Working out of a makeshift winery in true garagiste style on his property in Roleystone, in the Perth Hills, Christidis sources fruit from the Swan Valley and Frankland…

    • 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…

    • Chapter
    • Jarad Curwood
    • Heathcote

    • 2015

    2015 Finalist

    • Charlotte Dalton Wines
    • Charlotte Hardy
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2017, 2021

    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

    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 mid-weight, 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…

    • 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.

    • Corymbia
    • Genevieve & Rob Mann
    • Swan Valley

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    The Mann name is somewhat of a significant one in Australian wine circles. In fact, it’s about as a storied a moniker as there is, up there with Schubert and O’Shea. Jack Mann’s most famous creation, the game-changing Houghton’s White Burgundy was an enduring classic, which he made for 51 consecutive vintages. And while that…

    • 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…

    • 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,…

    • 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…

    • 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…

    • 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

    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…

    • 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…

    • 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

    2020 Finalist

    Galafrey is a legendary name in Mount Barker, a groundbreaking 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…

    • 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…

    • Harrison
    • Riley Harrison
    • Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale

    • 2021

    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 and a grenache, both of which are 100 per cent whole bunch, while his roussanne and grenache blanc blend 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…

    • 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…

    • Jauma
    • James Erskine
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2013

    2013 Winemaker's Choice

    Ditching a career as one of this country’s most decorated sommeliers, James Erskine began crafting pithy, natural-leaning McLaren Vale Grenache in 2010. Since then, his Jauma label has become something of a touchstone for natural wines done well, and his soon to be planted Adelaide Hills vineyard promises to be profoundly exciting in the years…

    • Josef Chromy
    • Jeremy Dineen
    • Tasmania

    • 2009

    2009 Finalist

    • 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…

    • 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…

    • Linear Wines
    • Nathan Brown
    • Canberra District

    • 2021

    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 reflect the great diversity of sites in and around the Canberra District, Brown is able to source both classic and alternative varieties through his day job tending to five of the Collector sites. That work amongst the vines and connection to place is a great driver for Brown, with winemaking very much in a classic mould, teasing out pure varietal expressions through the lens of site.

    • LS Merchants
    • Dylan Arvidson
    • Margaret River

    • 2020

    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 20-odd wines across five ranges (plus a couple of beer and wine hybrid co-labs), and all made…

    • 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.

    • 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…

    • 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

    2021 Finalist

    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…

    • Meadowbank
    • Peter Dredge
    • Tasmania

    • 2017, 2018

    2018 Top 50
    2017 Top 50
    2017 People's Choice

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

    • Mewstone
    • Jonathan Hughes
    • Tasmania

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

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

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

    • 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.

    • 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…

    • Mount Langi Ghiran
    • Dan Buckle
    • Grampians, Pyrenees

    • 2007, 2010

    2010 Finalist
    2007 Finalist

    • Mulline
    • Ben Mullen
    • Geelong

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    Mulline is Ben Mullen’s solo venture, focusing on sites across the Geelong region. Fresh out of a stint as the winemaker at Clyde Park, 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.

    • 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…

    • 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,…

    • 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…

    • Paralian
    • Charlie Seppelt & Skye Salter
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2020

    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…

    • 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.

    • Pondalowie
    • Dominic & Krystina Morris
    • Bendigo

    • 2007

    2007 Finalist

    • 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…

    • 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…

    • Quiet Mutiny
    • Greer Carland
    • Tasmania

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    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
    • John Hughes
    • Clare Valley

    • 2017, 2018

    2018 Top 50
    2017 Winemaker's Choice
    2017 Top 50

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

    • Rollick Wines
    • Jack Weedon
    • Barossa Valley, Riverland

    • 2021

    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 and viognier from the Barossa, riesling from the Eden Valley and fiano from 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.

    • Ruggabellus
    • Abel Gibson
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2012

    2012 Young Gun of Wine
    2012 People's Choice

    Although Abel Gibson’s connection to the Barossa and tradition runs deep, his Ruggabellus label has given convention a good hard shake. Working with sites that enable him to preserve freshness by picking earlier, his reds see varying levels of whole bunch inclusion, and the whites undergo extended skin contact. Neither see any new oak. Aside…

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

    • 2011

    2011 Finalist

    • 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

    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.

    • Sami-Odi
    • Fraser McKinley
    • Barossa Valley

    • 2014

    2014 Young Gun of Wine

    Working exclusively with shiraz from the revered Hoffmann Vineyard for his label, Sami-Odi, Fraser McKinley has reframed the possibilities of what Barossa wine can be. Sourced from small plots of vines (some significantly old), which he tends with organic principles, his wines are made using only whole bunches, with no adds bar a touch of…

    • Santolin
    • Adrian Santolin
    • Heathcote, Yarra Valley

    • 2014

    2014 Best New Act

    Adrian Santolin’s winemaking as much as his work ethic is informed by his Italian heritage and long hours working amongst the vines of the arid Riverina district, the irrigated food bowl of New South Wales. The tug for cool climate fruit and more elegant styles saw Santolin head to the Yarra, where his brand was…

    • 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

    • 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 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.

    • 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

    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.

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

    • 2020, 2021

    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.

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

    • 2019

    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…

    • 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…

    • Sutton Grange Winery
    • Melanie Chester
    • Bendigo

    • 2017, 2018

    2018 Top 50
    2018 People's Choice
    2017 Top 50

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

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

    • 2021

    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, 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 has hit the ground running, making wines from the Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek and the Barossa, as well as 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 & Rebecca Dugmore
    • Kangaroo Island

    • 2020, 2021

    2021 Finalist
    2020 Finalist

    The Stoke is a tribute to the largely untapped potential of Kangaroo Island as a premium wine-growing region. Husband and wife team Nick and Bec Dugmore make wines that are expressive of the relatively cool, wind-swept vineyards of KI, with a focus on lighter to mid-weight styles with food and conviviality in mind.

    • 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

    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 at the Yarraloch Vineyard, currently making a lone pinot noir, crafted from the ground up to be bright, fruit forward and handled lightly in the winery.

    • 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…

    • 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

    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 shiraz 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,…

    • Vallée du Venom
    • Rhys Parker & Paul Hoffman
    • Margaret River, Swan Valley

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2019 Best New Act

    Rhys Parker and his best mate, Paul Hoffman, have had remarkably similar career paths. The pair grew up as neighbours, both filling in pocket money gaps with work at Paul’s parents’ winery in the Swan Valley, a wild and semi-abandoned affair that Paul’s dad, Peter, bought in 1986 and pulled back from the brink. Although…

    • 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

    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

    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 with pure expressions, while imprinting the unfamiliar region of Mount Benson on those grapes more familiar.

    • Weathercraft
    • Raquel Jones
    • Beechworth

    • 2020, 2021

    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…

    • Whisson Lake
    • Tom Munro
    • Adelaide Hills

    • 2012, 2013

    2013 Finalist
    2012 Finalist

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

    • 2021

    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 Connollys aim is to make wines they love to drink, elegant, balanced and light on their feet.

    • Wilimee
    • Ben Ranken
    • Macedon Ranges

    • 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

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

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

    • 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

    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, amongst others.

    • 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

    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

    • Year Wines
    • Luke Growden
    • McLaren Vale

    • 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021

    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.