South Australians Dominate 2017 Young Gun of Wine Awards

The Young Gun of Wine Wine Award winners were announced last night, with four South Australian winemakers picking up the lion’s share of the prizes.

Having announced its top 50 finalists from 200 candidates, then whittling them down to 12, Young Gun of Wine has announced its five winners, and named Australia’s newest Young Gun. South Australian winemakers dominated the field this year, winning four of the five awards.

Michael Downer from Murdoch Hill in the Adelaide Hills took out the most prestigious award of the night, being crowned the Riedel Young Gun of Wine. Downer was caught off guard by the honour and hadn’t prepared a speech for the evening, having not expected to win.

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“I felt making the Final 12 was such an achievement,” said Downer. “To now be
titled Young Gun of Wine, and join a list of winemakers that I consider to be some of the
most admired winemakers in Australia, is an unbelievable honour.”

Clare Valley-based John Hughes of Rieslingfreak garnered the Ocean Eight Winemaker’s Choice award. Known for his remarkable collection of Riesling wines and unending commitment to the varietal, Hughes was reportedly ecstatic at his win.

“This is the first time I have ever won a trophy!,” he said. “Receiving the vote of my peers, and fellow winemakers, means so much to me, and probably the most valued feedback and reward an individual winemaker could ever ask for.”

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Aphelion’s Rob Mack (McLaren Vale) snapped up the Wine Australia Best New Act gong and described the win as a “phenomenal kick-start for our label”. New Hot 100 Wines Chief Judge Peter Dredge (who is currently based in Tasmania) won the People’s Choice Award his work with Meadowbank Wines, similarly saying the award is “an awesome start to Meadowbank’s new journey”.

The final award of the night, the First Drop DANGER ZONE award for “most adventurous wine” went to Yoko Luscher-Mostert and Andries Mostert of Brave New Wine for their “Wonderland” Botanical Riesling.

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Now in its 11th year, Young Gun of Wine seeks out Australia’s new and emerging winemakers. Last night’s festivities were hosted at Melbourne’s POW Kitchen & Bandroom at the Prince of Wales.

A full list of the Young Gun of Wine 2017 Top 50 Winemakers and this year’s prize winners can be found at younggunofwine.com.

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