The 50 finalists in the 16th annual edition of the Young Gun of Wine Awards represent “the glitteringly bright future of Australian wine”.
“Since 2007, we’ve scoured the country for the best emerging talent, winemakers on the rise who are reshaping the wine landscape by creating their own no-compromise projects or reimaging established brands with a new vision,” founder Rory Kent says.
“They’re the glitteringly bright future of Australian wine.
“The annual list has become the go-to guide for drinkers looking for cutting-edge wines.
“The 2022 finalists have just been announced, and they’re an exciting lot.
“Presenting our top winemakers for 2022, it’s incredible to look back to 2007 and note just how much has changed in the wine landscape since then.
“From the grape varieties that winemakers have access to, to the new and reimagined winemaking techniques, to the look of labels and the way people engage with, talk about and experience wine.
The culture has dramatically evolved. Those 16 years have flown by, and it’s become a wonderful new world of wine.”
James Ellis, Ada Wine Co. (Adelaide Hills)
Lauren Langfield, Lauren Langfield (Adelaide Hills)
Riley Harrison, Harrison (Adelaide Hills / McLaren Vale)
Jack & Tash Weedon, Rollick (Barossa Valley)
Chad Connolly, White Gate Wine Co. (Barossa Valley)
Andrew Kenny, Kenny Wine (Clare Valley)
Luke Tocaciu, Patrick of Coonawarra (Coonawarra)
Belinda Hughes, Rieslingfreak (Eden Valley)
Peta Baverstock, Cuvée-Co. (Limestone Coast)
Kyle Egel & Jonny Cook, Saltfleet (McLaren Vale)
Luke Growden, Year Wines (McLaren Vale)
Alex Sherrah, Sherrah (McLaren Vale)
Ashleigh Seymour, Paxton (McLaren Vale)
James & Kimberly Cooter, Hedonist / Cooter & Cooter (McLaren Vale)
Anita Goode, Wangolina (Mount Benson)
Alice Davidson, Aunt Alice (Robe)
Sven Joschke, Sven Joschke Wine (Barossa Valley)
Sam Berketa, Alpha Box & Dice (McLaren Vale)
Charles Osborne, Dazma Wine Company (King Valley)
Raquel Jones, Weathercraft (Beechworth)
Ben Mullen, Mulline (Geelong)
Ryan Ponsford, Entropy (Gippsland)
Darcy Muller, Alex Servinis, Ed Curnow & Tim Flynn, Pool (Heathcote)
Kirilly Gordon, Bowerbird Wines (Heathcote / Sunbury)
Jordan Barham, Travail (Heathcote / Macedon Ranges)
Phoebe Grant, Nature of the Beast (Macedon Ranges / King Valley)
Tom McCarthy, Quealy / Kerri Greens (Mornington Peninsula)
Sam Hambour & Duncan Gibson, Site Wine (Mornington Peninsula)
James Scarcebrook, Vino Intrepido (Mornington Peninsula / Macedon Ranges)
Erin Frances Pooley, Little Frances (North East Victoria)
Rowly Milhinch, Scion (Rutherglen)
Tillie Johnston, Tillie J (Yarra Valley)
Gabe O’Brien, Cavedon (King Valley)
Keira O’Brien, Rivulet (Tasmania)
Max Marriott, Anim (Tasmania)
Marco Lubiana, Marco Lubiana (Huon Valley, Tasmania)
Kim Tyrer, Galafrey (Mount Barker)
Livia Maiorana & Mijan Patterson, South by South West (Margaret River)
Dylan Arvidson, LS Merchants (Margaret River)
Peta Kotz, Sabi Wabi (Hunter Valley)
Alex Beckett, Briar Ridge (Hunter Valley)
Steven Mobbs & Nadja Wallington, ChaLou (Orange)
The 2022 finalists can also be seen as a group via this page.
Over two days of judging, a panel of leading industry figures from across the country tasted their way through the wines to select who was in the running for the six trophies: Young Gun of Wine, Best New Act, People’s Choice, Winemaker’s Choice, Danger Zone and the Vigneron.
“Every year, we’re seeing new ideas from the emerging talent, and they’re shaping the environment that we get to enjoy,” Rory says.
“It’s also not just about the products – it’s the learnings that peers can take from their adventurous winemaking.
“It’s also how they’re presenting, labelling and talking about their work – how they’re connecting with wine professionals and consumers.
“That’s why, uniquely and since day one, the wines for the Young Gun of Wine Awards are not tasted blind.
“These awards are as much about vision and leadership as they are about the quality of wine in the glass.”
Rory Kent was joined on the 2022 judging panel by Ravensworth vigneron Bryan Martin; Jeremy Shiell from Winespeake; Kate McIntyre MW, Moorooduc Estate; wine critic Nick Stock; Penny Vine of Marion and Cutler & Co; Rani Parish, group sommelier for Agnes, Honto, Bianca and Same Same; and Charlotte Hardy from Charlotte Dalton Wines, the 2021 Young Gun of Wine.
“The YGOW judging process is unique,” says Dalton.
“I love how a brand is looked at as a whole.
“Obviously, the wines need to be fantastic, but the conversation about the maker and their place in the Australian industry and the good they are doing is so wonderful. I was most excited by the strong female contenders.
“I am not a fan of recognising women to merely tick boxes, but the female winemakers who entered YGOW were genuinely amazing, inspiring and thoughtful producers.”
Rory says makers are swimming against the currents of tradition.
“There are makers shaking up the establishment in this country’s most traditional regions,” he says.
“One is redefining Hunter Semillon in subtle but deeply meaningful ways, while another is making more paradigm-shattering bottlings from the grape.
“One is colouring outside the lines in Rutherglen to give Durif a fresh voice, or rather voices, and Coonawarra Cabernet’s norms are reimagined by a second-generation vigneron.”
To have your say on who is Australia’s best winemaker, the People’s Choice voting is live online via this link. Everyone that votes will go into a draw to win a Liebherr wine cellar and a year’s supply of wines (52 bottles) from the 2022 top winemakers.
People’s Choice voting will be open until Monday 6 June. Go to this link.
• The Young Gun of Wine Awards is presented with thanks to Amorim Cork, Liebherr, MCC, Nexia, Parallax, Portavin, WBM – Australia’s Wine Business Magazine, Wine Guns for Hire and Vintrace.