The Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year was awarded at a gala dinner in Sydney on Saturday night, with Ben Haines from Victoria’s Mitchelton Wines taking out the top honour of the night.

Haines picked up the coveted award over nine young winemaking counterparts for his two wines — the 2008 Blackwood Park Riesling and 2006 Print Shiraz.

Attending the event with his parents, best mate and winemaking colleague in tow, Haines was thrilled with the award, particularly as his 2006 Print Shiraz is not a current release but already showing extremely well.

In addition to The Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year, the Member’s Choice and Sommelier’s Choice awards were also announced, with Helen McCarthy from Taylors Wines and Malcolm Rees-Francis from Rockburn Wines in NZ receiving the respective titles.

McCarthy put forward the 2005 Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon and 2005 Jaraman Shiraz, while Rees-Francis was recognised for his 2007 Pinot Gris and 2007 Pinot Noir.

Acting CEO of The Wine Society, Ron Corby, said it was the closest contested finals in the award’s history, with seven of the 10 finalists within three points of winning the highest accolade.

The Wine Society has opened up its annual awards to all Australian and New Zealand winemakers under 30, recognising and supporting the importance and efforts of young people in the wine industry.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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