The 50 Finalists Announced for the 2021 Young Gun of Wine Winemaker Awards

Now in its 15th year, the awards recognise Australia’s most exciting emerging winemakers. Vote in the People’s Choice award and you could win a year’s supply (52 bottles) of vino.

Over two days, a small group of judges swirled, sipped and discussed with vigour which winemakers should make the list of finalists for the 15th annual Young Gun of Wine Awards. The results of that hard work has now been announced – 50 of the best young wine labels and winemakers on the rise in Australia have been recognised, 30 producers completely new to the competition.

“The Young Gun of Wine Awards trace the leading edge of Australia’s newest winemaking talent and bring together those who seek to bend the needle in the direction of interest while redefining the notion of wine quality in Australia,” says Nick Stock, one of the country’s leading wine writers and a judge for the awards since its first iteration in 2007.

Stock says like past years, this 50 is a diverse bunch, hailing from Tasmania, Western Australia’s Swan Valley and Great Southern, plus well-known wine regions such as South Australia’s Barossa and New South Wales’s Hunter Valley, and even Kangaroo Island – a largely unknown wine region.

“[But they] all are united by a fierce determination to collectively drive the conversation of Australian wine forward to greater heights of diversity and distinction,” he says.

The judges were on the lookout for makers “advancing the conversation on wine”, as well as innovating and contributing to the wine community, landscape and environment. They noticed less familiar grape varieties are popping up more and more, as are drought-tolerant vines, with producers increasingly looking for obscure grapes to carve out a niche in varying climates and geologies.

Judges included Leanne Altmann (beverage director at Trader House Restaurants, the group behind Cutler & Co, Gimlet, Marion, Builders Arms, Supernormal); master sommelier Sebastian Crowther; Olivia Evans of Fleet Restaurant; and Chris Dilworth and Loïque Allain from Dilworth and Allain, the 2020 Young Gun of Wine.

Here is the complete list of 50 finalists:

South Australia
Sam Berketa, Alpha Box & Dice (Adelaide Hills)
David Caporaletti, Architects of Wine (Adelaide Hills)
Sam Dunlevy, Berg Herring (McLaren Vale)
Koen Janssens, Bink (Barossa Valley/Clare Valley)
Charlotte Hardy, Charlotte Dalton (Kangaroo Island/Langhorne Creek)
Aaron Fenwick, Chateau Comme Ci Comme Ca (Adelaide Hills)
Duncan Lloyd, Coriole (McLaren Vale)
Andrew Wardlaw, Edenflo (Eden Valley)
Riley Harrison, Harrison (McLaren Vale/Barossa Valley)
Lauren Hansen, Penley Estate (Coonawarra)
Jack Weedon, Rollick (Barossa Valley/Riverland)
Daniel Graham, Sigurd Wines (Adelaide Hills/Barossa Valley)
Charlie O’Brien, Silent Noise (McLaren Vale)
Benjamin Caldwell & Mauricio Ruiz Cantu, Somos (McLaren Vale/Adelaide Hills)
Sven Joschke, Sven Joschke (Adelaide Hills/Barossa Valley)
Nick & Rebecca Dugmore, The Stoke Wines (Kangaroo Island)
Turon White, Turon (Adelaide Hills)
Anita Goode, Wangolina (Mount Benson)
Chad Connolly, White Gate Wine Co (Barossa Valley)
Louis Schofield, Worlds Apart Wines (McLaren Vale/Eden Valley)
Luke Growden, Year Wines (McLaren Vale)