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Young Gun of Wine Awards

By Alex Russell on August 9, 2018 in Food

The Young Guns of Wine, by Alex Russell

There are loads of wine awards shows these days, but this one is a personal favourite of mine. It’s been going since 2007 and the roll call of previous winners features some of the best names in the business. The name pretty much says it all. You can see the list of previous winners by visiting I started writing some of my favourites in this article before realising I was listing just about everyone anyway!


    Damon Koerner, Koerner Wine
    David Geyer, Geyer Wine Co
    Gilli and Paul Lipscombe, Sailor Seeks Horse
    Hamish Young, Mada Wines
    Jonathan Hughes, Newstone
    Kate Morgan, Ipso Facto Wines
    Melanie Chester, Sutton Grange Winery
    Nicolas Peterkin, L.A.S. Vino
    Ricky Evans, Two Tonne Tasmania
    Rob Mack, Aphelion
    Sean Crinion, Dappled Wines
    Yoko and Andries Mostert, Brave New Wine

There are a few awards available in this competition. There’s a ‘Best New Act’ award, along with a ‘Winemaker’s Choice’ and ‘People’s Choice’, plus a ‘Danger Zone’ award for a particularly interesting wine, rather than a winery or wine- maker per se. Finally, the big one is the ‘Young Gun of Wine’ award.

The ‘Danger Zone’ award went to the 2017 Lark Hill Grüner Veltliner. Chris Carpenter at Lark Hill was awarded this for taking a risk with Grüner, which is a tough grape to get right but when you do it’s sensational. There are only a few doing it in Australia.

Melanie Chester at Sutton Grange Winery picked up the ‘People’s Choice’. This is decided by the public at two tasting events in Sydney and Melbourne. Melanie says their wines are grown and made “to be shared and enjoyed with the people you love”, which is pretty much my philosophy with wine too. I’m adding these to my buying list.

‘Winemaker’s Choice’ went to Gilli and Paul Lipscombe at Sailor Seeks Horse. The winemakers who vote on this award are the other finalists. Your peers voting on your wines, and voting you their favourite, has to be an incredible feeling, keeping in mind that these are some very exciting winemaking peers so it’s particularly special.

‘Best New Act’ went to Jonathan Hughes at Mewstone. The ‘Best New Act’ award is often one to watch. Last year’s winner of the ‘Best New Act’ was Rob Mack and Aphelion. This year, Rob took out the ‘Young Gun of Wine’ award. It’s not a small deal, this award, purely because of the competition in the field. Rob paid tribute to the other finalists, but also to the creativity going on in McLaren Vale at the moment. He’s spot on – there are some cracking wineries popping up there. It’s well worth a visit next time you’re in Adelaide.

All of these are worth popping onto your ‘to buy’ list, including those that didn’t win this time around. Simply look back at some of the names who haven’t won in previous years and where they are now and you’ll see what’s to come.