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Young Gun of Wine

Steadfast and ready, the Young Gun of Wine (YGOW) competition is here, for the 12th year in a row.

A household name and a highly regarded competition Australia-wide, this year’s awards agenda brings even more to the table.

There is no shortage of winemakers here in Australia, finding this year’s Top 50 a difficult decision; with 19 from South Australia, 12 from Victoria, ten from Western Australia, four from Tasmania and NSW/ACT, and the first ever Queenslander in the mix; Golden Grove’s Ray Costanzo.

Holding court in the Top 50 are Jimmy Watson Award winner (Australia’s most prestigious trophy for a red wine), Julian Langworthy of Goon Tycoons; powerhouse sommelier-turned-winemaker duo behind Athletes of Wine, Matthew Brooke and Liam O’Brien; and South Australian Steve Crawford who has set up a winery in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD, to name only a few.

YGOW founder, Rory Kent, said the Top 50 highlights the multi-dimensional diversity of Australian wine.

“The judges spent two days benchmarking around 300 wines from some 150 winemakers to find the best of the best.

“What you end up with in the Top 50 is not just a snapshot of great products from all grapegrowing corners of Australia, and the gamut of varieties, but also the intersection of ideas, philosophies, and the individual trajectory of the winemakers involved,” Kent explained.

“Now into the 12th year of Young Gun of Wine, year by year we get a gauge on trends and where wine is heading, and we can clearly see the creative rise and rise of the industry.

“Such is the depth of talent now, from last year, over 60% of winemakers are new to the Top 50 list, so that’s really exciting,” he said.

This year welcomes an all-star judging panel, including last year’s Gourmet Traveller Sommelier of The Year Caitlyn Rees, Good Food Guide WA Sommelier of The Year Emma Farrelly, 2017 Young Gun of Wine winner, Michael Downer of Murdoch Hill and Rosetta’s Lisa Cardelli – who all sit alongside YGOW veteran judges, Mike Bennie, Nick Stock, MONA’s Pip Anderson, and Rory Kent.

“It was a real privilege to judge many wines over two days from some leading lights of the Australian wine industry, not only that but alongside some of the best palates in the country,” said first-time judge Caitlyn Rees.

This year also invites a few new awards to Young Gun of Wine, to name the best bars and restaurants around Australia known for their wine offering, which will be voted by a panel of 100 of the country’s leading sommeliers and winemakers.

The 2018 winemaker showcase accelerates by bringing accessibility to the forefront, with the Top 50 public ticketed event at Prahran Market from 7pm – 10pm on Saturday 12th May.

The official Trophy Presentation, an invitation-only event, will take place at MONA in Hobart on Monday 18th June, during the celebrated winter festival, Dark Mofo, an added highlight for this year’s awards program.

The Top 50 list via State is as follows:


  • Jo Marsh from Billy Button, Alpine Valleys
  • Melanie Chester from Sutton Grange Winery, Bendigo
  • Justin Purser from Best’s Great Western, Great Western
  • Ben Ranken from Wilimee & Galli Estate, Heathcote
  • Katherine Brown from Brown Brothers, King Valley / Heathcote / Yarra Valley
  • Rebecca & Adrian Santolin from Santolin Wines, Yarra Valley / Heathcote
  • Liam O’Brien & Matthew Brooke from Athletes of Wine, Macedon Ranges / King Valley
  • Shaun Crinion from Dappled Wines, Yarra Valley
  • Glen Hayley from Kooyong Wines, Mornington Peninsula
  • Marcus Satchell from Dirty Three Wines, Gippsland
  • Ben Mullen from Clyde Park Vineyard, Geelong
  • Jackson Brooke from Jackson Brooke Wine, Henty



  • Ben Cooke from Cooke Brothers Wines, Adelaide Hills
  • Jono Hersey from Hersey Vineyards, Adelaide Hills
  • Matt Broomhead from Three Dark Horses, Adelaide Hills
  • Phillip LeMessurier from Corduroy Wines, Adelaide Hills
  • Greg Clack from Chain of Ponds, Adelaide Hills
  • Alex Head from Head Wines, Adelaide Hills
  • Damon Koerner from Koerner Wine, Clare Valley
  • Steven Baraglia from Naked Run Wines & Pike Wines, Clare Valley
  • Vanessa Altmann from Switch Organic Wine, Eden Valley
  • John Hughes from Rieslingfreak, Eden Valley
  • David Geyer from Geyer Wine Co., Barossa Valley / Eden Valley
  • Steve Crawford from Frederick Stevenson & Giovanni Armani Giorgio, Barossa Valley
  • Josh Pfeiffer from Whistler, Barossa Valley
  • Michael Papps from Yelland & Papps, Barossa Valley
  • Alex Sherrah from Sherrah Wines, McLaren Vale
  • Andre Bondar from Bondar Wines, McLaren Vale
  • Rob Mack from Aphelion Wine Co., McLaren Vale
  • Matt East from Rouleur, McLaren Vale
  • Con-Greg Grigoriou from Delinquente Wine Co, Riverland



  • Daniel Stocker from Heretic Wines, Margaret River
  • Julian Grounds from McHenry Hohnen, Margaret River
  • Kate Morgan from Ipso Facto Wines, Margaret River
  • Dylan Arvidson from LS Merchants, Margaret River
  • Nicolas Peterkin from L.A.S Vino, Margaret River
  • Remi Guise from tripe.Iscariot, Margaret River
  • Julian Langworthy & John Fogarty from Goon Tycoons, Frankland River / Margaret River
  • Brian Kent from Frankland Estate, Frankland River
  • Kim Tyrer from Galafrey Wines, Mt Barker
  • Yoko Luscher-Mostert & Andries Mostert from Brave New Wine, Great Southern



  • William Rikard-Bell from Rikard Wines, Orange
  • Kate Sturgess from Brokenwood Wines, Hunter Valley
  • Chris Carpenter from Lark Hill Winery, Canberra District
  • Hamish Young from Mada Wines, Canberra District



  • Ricky Evans from Two Tonne, Tamar Valley
  • Peter Dredge from Meadowbank, Derwent Valley
  • Jonathan Hughes from Mewstone, D'Entrecasteaux Channel (Flowerpot)
  • Gilli & Paul Lipscombe from Sailor Seeks Horse, Huon Valley



  • Ray Costanzo from Golden Grove Estate, Granite Belt


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WID 2018