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Margaret River’s Jo Perry wins young gun award

Jo Perry was named this year’s Riedel Young Gun of Wine at an event held at the POW Kitchen & Bandroom in Melbourne on Friday.

Perry, who makes wine under her own brand Dormilona in Margaret River, took out the top award after a year-long search for the top 12 finest and most innovative young winemakers in Australia.

Mark Baulderstone of Riedel Australia said Jo Perry was a “terrific winner”.

“Riedel are proud to sponsor the top award because it represents creativity and excellence, virtues close to our hearts,” Baulderstone said. “[Perry’s] Dormilona wines are pushing the creative boundaries in Margaret River whilst maintaining precision and quality.”

Having picked up the Best New Act in 2013, Perry was a finalist for the third time this year.

“I was stoked to be in the top 12 again this year so when my name was read out it was a great surprise and an honour to receive the award,” Perry said. “It makes all those sleepless nights thinking of my wine babies worth it, and it gives me great confidence to keep following my instincts.”

The People’s Choice, decided by the wine buying public, was taken by Ricky Evans of Two Tonne Tasmania.

Evans said it has been great to engage people with these wines through the Young Gun events, and tell them his story.

“Some of it clearly stuck! Taking out this award affirms that wine buyers are getting what I'm trying to do: making wines that have a sense of place, yet they express style in my own way. It’s also about representing the Tamar Valley sub region, and Tasmania. It's a really exciting time for the Tasmanian wine industry,” he said.

Voted by the finalists, the Ocean Eight Winemaker’s Choice was won by Michael Downer of Murdoch Hill in the Adelaide Hills, going back to back after tying for the same award last year.

Downer said he was naturally ecstatic about winning the award.

“I was pumped to just be selected in the final twelve,” he said. “Getting the vote of approval from my peers is a huge honour. I have always tried to make drinkable wines with a sense of place, showing finesse and purity so to gain approval with this award really gives integrity to my wines.”

The Wine Australia Best New Act was won by Jasper Button of Commune of Buttons in the Adelaide Hills. This award recognises a finalist making a particularly strong impact early in their career.

Button said he has a focus on wines with ‘drinkability’ from organic and biodynamic vineyards. “Natural wine is finding a place very quickly through many folk because it makes sense. It’s about letting the fruit speak for itself, not the winemaker speaking for the fruit. It makes discussion about what’s in the glass more accessible and therefore more interesting to a wider bunch of people, because fruit speaks to anyone!”

Brian Walsh, Wine Australia chairman, spoke to guests at the trophy presentation and said the competition was different from all others and brings a unique energy and vitality to the sector.

“In the decade of its existence, The Young Gun of Wine Awards has become an incubator for emerging talent in the Australian grape and wine community. A casual perusal of the nominees since 2007 reads like a who's who of the contemporary wine scene in Australia.

“Wine purchasing can be a daunting experience for some consumers, but to a person the young gun nominees work to demystify wine, talking of accessibility and fun, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries in their craft,” Walsh said.

Nick Stock, who has led the panel of judges since the competition’s inception, sad the awards were about gathering like-minded and uniquely individual talents together.

“Rallying eclectic and far flung tastes, making noise, getting them noticed and having a fucking great time along the way,” Stock said.

Rory Kent, competition founder, said all of the finalists were winners.

“The judging is rigorous and spots for the final 12 fiercely competitive. All finalists should feel proud of their accomplishment in making the top 12.”

AB Mauri



WID 2017