By Amy Looker, editor National Liquor News

The Wine Society has named its 2013 Young Winemaker of the Year, with Luke Skeer from Wynns Coonawarra Estate taking out top honours.

Fourth generation Coonawarra local Skeer completed his first vintage while still at school in 1996 and his second vintage at Wynns Coonawarra Estate. 

From 2002 to 2004 he worked in McLaren Vale, while studying oenology at Adelaide University and has also completed vintages in Coonawarra, Bordeaux and the Barossa Valley.

To be eligible to enter the prestigious awards, winemakers must be Australian or New Zealand residents aged 35 or under and must be principally responsible for the creation of three submitted wines.

A total of 69 nominees were whittled down to 10 finalists who were the judged by a panel including John Belsham of Foxes Island, Tom Carson of Yabby Lake, Iain Riggs of Brokenwood, James Halliday, 2013 Sommelier of the Year Jarrod Mills from est. and last year’s Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year, Nick Picone from New Zealand’s Villa Maria.

Skeer said it was a great honour to receive the award, particularly given the calibre of the set of finalists.

“Wynns Coonawarra Estate is one of Australia’s most important wineries from one of our most important terroirs,” he said. 

“I feel privileged as a Wynns winemaker to help uphold this heritage and work with winemakers and vineyards of the highest calibre in one of the world’s most celebrated regions.” 

Thorn-Clarke’s Helen McCarthy was also a standout among this year’s finalists, taking home the peer-judged Young Winemaker of the Year Finalists’ Choice award and the 2013 Young Winemaker of the Year Supporters’ Choice, judged by award sponsors.

The Wine Society 2013 Young Winemaker of the Year finalists were:

Julian Langworthy, Deep Woods Estate (Margaret River, WA) 

Andrew Quin, Hentley Farm (Barossa Valley, SA) 

Helen McCarthy, Thorn-Clarke Wines (Barossa Valley, SA) 

Troy Kalleske, Kalleske Wines (Barossa Valley, SA) 

Conor van der Reest, Moorilla (Derwent Valley, TAS) 

Clare Dry, Wolf Blass (Barossa Valley, SA) 

Luke Skeer, Wynns Coonawarra Estate (Coonawarra, SA) 

Peter Dredge, Bay of Fires (Tamar Valley, TAS) 

Coby Ladwig, Singlefile Wines (Denmark, WA) 

Alan Peters-Oswald, Nanny Goat Vineyard (Central Otago, NZ) 

The Shout Team

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