2019 Young Gun of Wine award winners announced

Yesterday, Young Gun of Wine (YGOW), championing Australia’s upcoming talent and new labels, announced the final 2019 YGOW award winners at an industry event in Adelaide.

Trophies presented were the 2019 Riedel Young Gun of Wine, Best New Act, Winemaker’s Choice, and People’s Choice awards. The First Drop Danger Zone award was also awarded to the most adventurous wine from the entire show.

The Riedel Young Gun of Wine was awarded to winemaking duo Damon and Jono Koerner from Koerner Wine in the Clare Valley. The Koerner brothers were lauded for their 2018 ‘Grace’ Riesling and 2018 ‘La Corse’ Red Wine, which they submitted to the YGOW panel in 2018 for tasting. “It’s a thrill to win such a great award with my brother, doing something we love and have so much fun doing,” said Damon on winning the award.
“The ‘La Corse’ is a blend of varieties which includes Sciacarello – a grape native to the French island of Corsica. This wine is the epitome of what today’s customer wants: a light, bright, easydrinking red, with layers of interest in the glass – it’s awesome, and all with the aesthetic appeal of Koerner’s preppy packaging,” said Rory Kent, YGOW founder.

“From a family of grapegrowers, Damon and Jono Koerner started the eponymous wine label in 2014 and are doing it right on every level. From sourcing emerging varieties, to a sense of adventure in the winery with use of large ceramic eggs for fermentation, to a product mix that includes various shades and textures of single varieties, to the packaging that is instantly iconic.

“They’ve become an emerging force and beacon for future creativity in the Clare Valley, a region perhaps somewhat isolated and traditional. What they’re doing, and how they’re doing it, makes them the poster child for new wine labels today,” Kent added.

As winner of the Young Gun of Wine Award for 2019, Koerner will be offered a contract with TAP. Wines to have their wine pouring at a wine bar in Melbourne.

People’s Choice, as decided by the public at tasting events in Melbourne and Sydney, was given to Liv Maiorana and Mijan Patterson of South by South West. “Winning People’s Choice for us is epic, making wine to share is what the South West is all about, but ultimately we make it for people who are going to drink it and it’s so humbling that they enjoy it,” said Maiorana.

Winemaker’s Choice, handed out by the Final 12 winemakers, was taken out by Remi Guise of tripe.Iscariot. “Winemakers Choice is one of those furiously coveted awards, it is the respect of your peers, all of whom are as critical and exacting as you are. To have the caliber of winemakers, who all make wines of such esteem and sense of place, elect me as a favourite is truly amazing and humbling,” said Guise on his win.

The Best New Act went to winemaking duo, Rhys Parker and Paul Hoffman from Vallée du Venom, who make wines in the Margaret River and Swan Valley. “Hoffy and I are very humbled to be amongst so many talented winemakers and bloody good wines! We’re stoked!”, Parker said on their win.

The First Drop Danger Zone was awarded to 2018 Dirt Candy Wine ‘The Little Circus’ from the Hunter Valley. “The threading together of no less than six different red grapes and glazing them with the skins of the white traminer grape is brave, evocative and just the right kind of crazy. And to do all this in the Hunter Valley, Australian wine’s poster child of conservative, stoic and traditional winemaking is straight up nuts. Then again the wine is so delicious, the back label probably won’t even get a look. So they won’t notice – genius!”, said chief panelist, Nick Stock.

The judging panel for 2019 included Rory Kent (founder of YGOW), Nick Stock (chief panelist, Gourmet Traveller WINE et al), Mike Bennie (Delicious et al), Pip Anderson (MONA), Josephine Perry of Dormilona (2016 YGOW winner), Rob Mack of Aphelion Wine Co (2018 YGOW winner), Penny Grant (Ghanem Group Sommelier) and international guest judge Leah Rinaldi from USA’s leading distributor of natural wines, Jenny & Francois.


Left to right: Jono & Damon Koerner

Top photo (left – right): Jono Koener, Damon Koerner, Liv Maiorana, Rhys Parker, Remi Guise, Pat Underwood