annual awards.

Now in its tenth year, the coveted Young Gun of Wine Awards recognise emerging wine producers, looking for innovation, inspiration and ability to bring new ideas to the table.

With a mixture of traditional, biodynamic, natural and reimagined wines, there was some tough judging, which resulted in twelve finalists, half of which were South Australian wine makers.

The prestigious Young Gun of Wine was awarded to Michael Downer from Murdoch Hill in the Adelaide Hills.

Located in the stunning Adelaide Hills, Murdoch Hill has been producing wines for the last 15 years.

Winemaker Michael Downer is the youngest winemaker in the family with plenty of overseas, interstate and local experience with creating fresh wines for any palate.

“The two wines we entered I think really showcase the true potential of the Adelaide Hills region,” says Michael.

“My approach is really to display the regional and sub regional characters by not manipulating the wines too much, I also like to think my wines have a sense of drinkability with freshness and vibrancy that make them accessible to consumers.

“It’s an honour to be recognised in the Top 12 considering the quality of dynamic younger producers emerging in Australia over the last five years.”

The Winemaker’s Choice award – which the 12 finalists go to vote on themselves went to John Hughes of Rieslingfreak.

Vineyards and winemaking is certainly in the blood for Rieslingfreak winemaker John Hughes, who spent his childhood in the family vineyard Penwortham in the State’s Clare Valley region.

“It is a real honour to be named in the Top 12, a great acknowledgement for the label and what we are trying to achieve through Rieslingfreak,” says John.

“We are producing rieslings, showcasing regions and styles, and this acknowledgement shows me we are definitely heading the right direction.

“Being nominated show’s my dedication and passion for the riesling variety.”

At the awards ceremony, John went on to say “This is the first time I have ever won a trophy! 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.”

And the Best New Actaward went to Rob Mack from Aphelion in the McLaren Vale.

The fairly new label Aphelion Wine Co was founded in 2014 by husband and wife team Rob Mack and Louise Rhodes.

With plenty of experience in the wine trade the duo turned their passion for producing wines which are perfectly matched to food into a reality.

“It is a huge pat on the back for our hard work and cements legitimacy as first generation winemakers crafting delicious wines that are suited to our climate and designed to match the food we love,” says Rob.

“We own neither vineyards nor winery and have created our own community around Aphelion of growers, wineries, logistics and important input for winemaking, food and beer providers.”

A huge stack of awards for our exceptional young wine producers in South Australia, the award winners were plucked from 200 winemaker candidates across the country.