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Candidates announced for 2005 young winemaker award

The Wine Society has announced the names of the 10 young winemakers who will compete with each other for one of the most prestigious Awards in the Australian wine industry – The Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year Award.

Among them is Amanda Kramer — a former student of Adelaide University who is now the head winemaker at Wise Wine in the Margaret River, WA.

She has the rare distinction of having been commissioned by Sir Cliff Richard to be a winemaker for the 2003 vintage of his label Vida Nova.

Now in her fourth Wine Wise, Amanda has extended her experience by working a vintage in the Napa Valley and another in Portugal, after being chosen by a panel from the Margaret River Wine Industry Association for their Careers Opportunity Award.

She holds degrees in Microbiology and Immunology as well as postgraduate qualifications in Oenology from Adelaide University.

The other nine finalists are: • Emma Wood, Seppelt’s Great Western winery in Victoria • Daren Owers, Nugan Estate in Riverina, New South Wales • Jessica Irving, Miranda Wines in the Riverina, New South Wales • Bryan Currie, Westend Estate in the Riverina, New South Wales • Michael de Iuliis, De Iuliis Wines in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales • Jane Donat, Petersons Winery in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales • Daniel Binet of Capercaillie in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales • Robert Mann, BRL Hardy’s Tintara Winery in McLaren Vale, South Australia • Renae Hirsch, Bleasdale Vineyards, Langhorne Creek, South Australia

Each of the finalists’ best wines will be judged again under strict show judging conditions by a panel of wine industry icons to determine the winner of The Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year Award for 2005.

This year’s panel consists of: • Phillip John – who has been chief winemaker at Hungerford Hill Wines since 2002 after making a name for himself as an award-winning winemaker at Lindemans where he helped make the Bin 65 Chardonnay the biggest-selling imported wine in the United States • Michael Hill Smith of Shaw & Smith – who is chairman of the Adelaide Wine Show and who holds the honour of being Australia’s first Master of Wine (there are only 15 Masters of Wine in Australia)

• Tim Knappstein, Lenswood Vineyards – since graduating as Dux of the Roseworthy oenology course in 1966, Tim Knappstein became one of Australia’s legendary winemakers. His wines have won over 500 show awards and over 160 trophies and gold medals • Dr Tony Jordan of Domaine Chandon – is the CEO and winemaker of Domaine Chandon — owned by Moet & Chandon, the world’s largest Champagne house

The winner of The Wine Society Young Winemaker Award for 2005 will be announced at a gala, black-tie event to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney on 19 November.

All 10 finalists for this award will also be in the running to win the Members’ Choice Award – to be presented on the same night. The winner of this consumer award will be chosen by attendees at a series of Members’ Choice dinners to be held throughout Australia. At these dinners, members of The Wine Society will blind-taste the 20 wines made by the 10 finalists for this year’s Young Winemaker Award.

The results of votes from blind tastings from the Members' Choice dinners will be collated to determine the winner of The Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year Members’ Choice Trophy for 2005.

The winner of the inaugural Members’ Choice Trophy – which was presented for the first time in 2004 – was Daren Owers of Nugan Estate.

Paying tribute to the skills of the 10 Young Winemaker finalists, Mark Purbrick, the CEO of The Wine Society said:

“Each year we hold The Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year Award to recognise and reward the passion and the talent of the best and brightest of the young winemakers in this country.

“Specifically, the Young Winemaker Award represents The Wine Society’s investment in the future of the Australian wine industry,” he says.

One of the most prestigious awards in the Australian winemaking industry, The Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year Award is open only to winemakers aged 30 years or less.

Previous winners of the award, which is now in its fifth year, include:

• Matt Gant of St Hallett Wines (the 2004 and reigning Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year) • Briony Hoare of Rosemount Estate (2003 winner) • Oliver Crawford of Penfolds Wines (2002 winner) • Adrian Lockhart of Briar Ridge (the inaugural winner in 2001)

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