The winners of the 15th Young Gun of Wine awards were revealed during a virtual trophy presentation earlier this week.

The awards have evolved over their decade-and-a-half, growing from two trophies in 2007 to six this year, with The Vigneron award being added to the list. The Vigneron joins the Best New Act, Danger Zone, Winemaker’s Choice, People’s Choice and the 2021 Young Gun of Wine.

Young Gun Founder, Rory Kent, said: “In our 15th annual edition, we are adding The Vigneron, which goes to a winemaker who grows the grapes from which the wines come. And it’s not a moment too soon. In fact, we should have done it years ago, because provenance and how wine is grown is where it all begins. As winemakers frequently say, ‘Great wine is made in the vineyard.’”

This year’s judging panel comprised wine writer Nick Stock, Crawford River vigneron Belinda Thomson; Leanne Altmann, Beverage Director at Trader House Restaurants (Cutler & Co, Gimlet, Marion, Builders Arms, Supernormal, et al); Master Sommelier Sebastian Crowther; Jeremy Shiell from Winespeake; Olivia Evans of Fleet Restaurant; and Chris Dilworth and Loïque Allain from Dilworth and Allain, the 2020 Young Gun of Wine.

Stock said: “The 2021 awards cover such a comprehensive collection pf winemakers and wine projects, there really is something here for everyone’s tastes and interests.

“The stories behind our winners and all 50 finalists are so individual and so engaging – these are winemakers that really have something to say and a claim to stake on the Australian wine landscape.”

The 2021 trophy winners are:

  • Best New Act: Marco Lubiana
  • Danger Zone: Saison Blackcurrant Leaf Vermouth
  • Winemaker’s Choice: Dan Graham, Sigurd
  • The Vigneron: Ben Ranken, Wilimee
  • People’s Choice: Sam Berketa, Alpha Box & Dice
  • 2021 Young Gun of Wine: Charlotte Hardy, Charlotte Dalton Wines

Hardy said: “There is change with the wines every year – all of my experiences and growth change the wines, which I always marvel at because they are really left to their own devices. I don’t really make any stylistic choices, rather the grapes do. It’s tiny things I do differently that I am not conscious of that changes the wines. These things fascinate me, as I am quite interested in the science, but the numbers don’t give an indication of how the wine feels. Hard to explain. Wine has soul.”

Stock added: “Charlotte has blazed an individual, considered and popular path to success.

“She leads by example in terms of the wines she makes and the way she has established her label. But she also has the kind of self-belief and work ethic that is crucial to be successful in the modern world of wine. Her story is a great one for all young winemakers to study.”

The judging was held over two days and as well as the quality of the wine, the commitment of each maker to their own project, their region, their community and the environment are considered.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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