Whether it’s bold and innovative techniques in the vineyards, pushing winemaking boundaries or experimentation with non-traditional varieties, Australian wine’s new breed are prepared to throw out the old rules and step forward with a fresh attitude and approach. The desire to embrace the funky and gritty art of winemaking has led to wines that are truly exciting and capture a revolution in the glass. These are the people and the wines that are celebrated with the Young Gun of Wine Awards.
The Young Gun of Wine awards pull together an inspired group of younger Australian winemakers. They are selected for their leadership, their vision, their talent and their influence on the evolution of the Australian wine community. They vie for the ‘Riedel Young Gun of Wine’, ‘People’s Choice’, ‘Ocean Eight Winemaker’s Choice’ and Wine Australia sponsored ‘Best New Act’ Award.
How are the finalists selected?
To start the judging process, the judges agree on a short list of around 25 innovative winemakers who are then invited to submit wines. As well as tasting the wines, the judges analyse the contribution of each finalist to the Australian wine community. The wines need to be exciting and utterly delicious, but what each candidate is doing in their community is as important as the wine they are making.
Key dates to remember
People’s Choice Decider
This event is open to public. The attendees will get to meet the 12 finalists, taste their wine and help decide who wins the People Choice Award.
Sydney 2016 People’s Choice Decider:
25th June at Cleveland & Co. More details here.
Melbourne 2016 People’s Choice Decider:
30th June at Prince Wine Store. More details here.
Winner of Young Gun of Wine 2016 will be announced 1st of July and a trophy presentation held at POW Kitchen and Bandroom.
Meet the Young Gun of Wine award finalists for 2016
Andries Mostert & Yoko Luscher-Mostert of Brave New Wine
Andries began his sojourn through the world of wine after wagging architecture school to drink booze at his local Fine Wine Store. He promptly gave up on architecture, and moved to Margaret River to tend the vines at Moss Wood. But after a long and winding journey Andries and Yoko decided to go it alone and make wine for themselves, put the fun back into winemaking, and thus, Brave New Wine was born.
Andries and Yoko now make wines from the Great Southern region in WA using; a big ceramic egg, fancy oak, natural ferments, a light touch, a positive attitude, and the best possible fruit they can get their hands on. They live in a rambling mill house with two crazy kids, a pair of mongrel dogs, and a small flock of heritage chooks.
Brendon Keys of BK wines
“I want to make wines that people share with their friends and talk about – talk about the style, about where it comes from.” Brendon Keys
The BK Wines motto is Quality and Creativity not Conformity. This focus on quality fine wine made with a lo fi, punk attitude has seen them gain loads of fans in Australia & around the world. BK wines was established by husband and wife Brendan & Kirstyn Keys in 2007 in the Adelaide Hills. Born in NZ, Brendan was a chef, a truck driver and a vineyard manager before he made wine. He’s travelled the world selling wine in the UK, working in vineyards and wineries in NZ, California & Argentina before settling in the Adelaide Hills.
Chris Tyrrell of Tyrrell's Wines
Chris Tyrrell represents the fifth generation of Tyrrell’s family winemaking dynasty, alongside his sister, Jane, and brother, John.
Chris began his winery apprenticeship in 2001, aged 18, during the first vintage following the passing of his grandfather, Australian winemaking legend Murray Tyrrell. This marked the beginning of Chris’s career within the family wine business. In between vintages, he was exposed to the Sales and Marketing departments, until 2005 when he returned full-time in the winery. Now 33, Chris’s mission is to ensure that the legend of the Tyrrell’s family winemaking tradition lives on, for future generations to come.
Jasper Button of Commune of Buttons
After several years living away from home, mostly in Byron Bay Jasper returned to the family farm in the Basket Range in the Adelaide Hills. Jasper had helped to plant twelve acres of vines on the farm when he was just 10 years of age! Things came full circle when Commune of Buttons was launched by Sophie Button and Jasper Button in 2014. Commune of Buttons produces wines with grapes that are organically farmed using biodynamic principles.
“The excitement of making wines that are unique complex and can be consumed in large quantities is a cultural revolution, and is what motivates me to keep going!” Jasper Button
Jo Perry of Dormilona Wines
Dormilona are all about the pursuit of creating amazing quality wines from organic & biodynamic fruit with no additives and very little intervention. They believe that this helps to express the vineyards character, the vintage and in return make tasty wines that are alternative in fashion & style. To put it simply, wines that are pure & beautifully created with loads of love & attention. So, no finings nor filtration & only minimal use of sulphur at bottling.
Hence the name Dormilona, which means ‘lazy bones’ in Spanish. As it is a very laid back style of winemaking.
Jo Marsh of Billy Button wines
Jo Marsh is not a box ticker. Nor does she do things by halves. She embraces every task with great expectation and seeks out the path less travelled. So when you drink a Billy Button Wine, expect it to be unlike the others, possibly an alternative variety that’s balanced, complex and delicious.
Unlike the serious fat cats in this somewhat traditional industry, Jo has super fun making her wines and doesn’t like to create a barrier to entry – her wines make her laugh and smile, and her primary aspiration is to make drinkers of Billy Button Wines laugh and smile with her. They’re wines that impress the socks off serious enthusiasts and everyday drinkers alike.
Marty Singh of Precipice
After 20 years of selling, tasting, drinking and making wine (not to mention caring for two little ones!), Marty Singh finally fulfilled his long desire to make his own wine. During his tenth vintage, the cold and wet slog that was 2011, from adversity came inspiration. He came to realise that making his own wines, under his own label, was simply something he needed to do.
The focus would be single site, small batch wines that reflect the geographical diversity of the Yarra Valley. Sourcing early ripening varieties from the cooler, elevated upper Yarra and later ripening varieties from the Valley floor. Having worked alongside great winemakers such as David Bicknell and Adrian Rodda for over a decade, Marty has been privileged to gain a deep understanding for the art of winemaking. This amazing experience was the catalyst for precipice wines.
Michael Downer of Murdoch Hill
Growing up on the family farm in the Adelaide Hills with vines, cattle & sheep Michael’s passion for farming grew. Eventually this lead to studying winemaking at University.
After graduating Michael honed his skills at Shaw + Smith in the Adelaide Hills before touring and working in some of the great wine regions of the world including harvest experience at Vietti in Barolo. Michael returned to Australia and increased his knowledge of cool climate winemaking by working at the iconic Best’s in Victoria and at Revenir winery with Peter Leske & Taras Ochota. In 2012 Michael returned to the family winery to create his own wine style from unique vineyards in the Adelaide Hills.
Paul & Gilli Lipscombe of Sailor Seeks Horse and Home Hill
Paul and Gilli Lipscombe met in the UK in 2005. Their journey began with the decision to make a change and work in something they loved – wine. Fast forward to 2010 and on their way to work for Winemaking Tasmania they saw a dilapidated vineyard for sale in the Huon Valley. They felt the region had the potential to be one of the world’s greatest Pinot Noir regions so bought the vineyard and then started making wine for Home Hill in 2011. Their philosophy with Sailor Seeks Horse is to always question what they are doing and why they are doing it. While they aren’t dogmatic about their practices their default position is minimal intervention. Less is always more.
Simon Killeen of Simao & Co
A born and bred Rutherglen lad, Simon Killeen grew up on a vineyard and knew very early in his life that he wanted to persue a life making wine. After working in wineries and vineyards across Australia, France and Portugal, he returned home to Rutherglen, creating Simão in 2014.
His philosophy is simple: make wine from the best sites in the North East and show the world how good the wines can be! He works with specific varieties that he belives reflects a particular suitability to a region.
Tessa Brown & Schmölzer of Schmölzer & Brown
Tessa Brown, winemaker and viticulturist and Architect Jeremy Schmölzer, had been quietly looking for land in Beechworth for several years when in early 2012 a property came onto the market which was too good to resist. They took the leap and left the security of full time employment and since then have put everything they have into creating the high altitude Thorley vineyard.
Their combined skills meld perfectly for the years long task ahead of turning a bare field into a working vineyard, winery and home. For Tess, who has close to 20 years experience in the wine industry, this is an opportunity to focus on cool climate winemaking and viticultural techniques. For Jeremy, who runs his own Architectural practice, this was a chance to apply his passion for site and environmentally responsive architecture to a new field. Whilst their vineyard comes into maturity, they are working with fruit from several nearby vineyards to establish the Vignerons Schmölzer and Brown label.
Richard Evans of Two Tonne Tasmania
Richard Evans was born in Tasmania, growing up in the Tamar Valley. He first entered the wine industry as part of Year 10 work experience program and loved it so much he moved to Adelaide in 2005 to complete his winemaking degree. Richard worked in the Barossa whilst completing studies, and has worked in many great wine regions since completing harvests in Germany, United Kingdom, the US and in Barolo, along with seven vintages in Tasmania.
Two Tonne Tasmania began in 2013 when an opportunity arose for Richard to buy two tonnes of Pinot Noir. He began leasing and managing his own vineyard in 2015, but also sources fruit from a couple of growers in different spots in the valley. Richard’s philosophy is about finding little and interesting parcels of fruit, and making the best of them. The intention is to create wines that are expressive and consistent in quality, proudly representing the subregion, the region, and state.
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