Who will win the Young Guns of Wine? (And tickets for give away)

The Young Guns of Wine Awards is one of the best and least stuffy events on the Melbourne food and wine calendar.

This year the event is a full blown festival weekend from Aug 22 to 23 with a People’s Choice Tasting at The Prince Wine Store in South Melbourne on Saturday August 22 between 11am and 2pm, and dinners at seven of Melbourne’s hottest restaurants in the evening (and probably a few drinks at Siglo after).

The judges of the competition include The Prince Wine Store’s Philip Rich, top wine writers Nick Stock and Max Allen and Young Gun of Wine 2008, Pete Schell of Spinifex.

It is a showcase of the future of Australian wines expressing the character of Australia’s land and regions as well as the winemakers themselves. Importantly, this is an unstuffy weekend, with no wine buffs attending, just buff bodies (sorry about that – ed). It is a weekend to enjoy wine, celebrate what is great about Australian wine and introduce yourself to the wine and ideas of these young gun’s at unstuffy, cobweb free events.

You can taste these diverse wines from the Young Guns at the Awards night at Carousel (22 Aughtie Drive, Albert Park Lake) on Sunday August 23 (6pm – 9pm).

I have two tickets worth $99 each to give away to the tasting on the evening of the 23rd. Simply, in comments below tell us why you deserve a ticket. The deadline is end of play 19th August.

And if you want to guarantee a seat at one of the dinners – at Coda, Cumulus Inc (gallery), La Vita Buona, Portello Rosso, Sarti, Taxi Dining Room and Trunk – or for the awards night the details for booking are here.



ADAM FOSTER, SYRAHMI (pics l to r)
Is there nothing Adam Foster cannot do? Nicknamed L’Imposter by the French, he’s been learning the tricks of syrah in situ and applying all the know-how to his Australian winemaking projects, Syrahmi and Foster e Rocco (in association with Melbourne sommelier, Lincoln Riley). Adam Foster is the reigning 2008 YGOWA People’s Choice champion and when not making wine, he’s looking after all things food and beverage at Daylesford’s Lakehouse.

Anna Pooley is one small cog in the very very big wheel of Fosters and she’s managed to make more interesting wine than most of the rest of her comrades put together (with the exception of Emma Wood!). It might be because she’s hiding out down in Tassie and quietly working away on cool, exotic riesling, steely, powerful chardonnay and seriously impressivev pinot noir. There’s no doubt that Tasmania’s terroir and some young talent makes a potent combination.

Colin McBryde ain’t your conventional image of a man with PhD. His shaved head and full sleeve tatts are a long way from side parts and lab coats. But when you realise that one of his labels, Some Young Punks, is all about a punk attitude to winemaking you’ll start to piece it all together. Along with partner Jennie Gardiner and her family, he’s deep into old vine Clare Valley with the Adelina project and add Nick Bourke to the mix, along with ephemeral pop art, and you have Some Young Punks. Seriously good booze with seriously good attitude!

Dan Crane is an Englishman who cut his wine industry teeth at the Oddbins chain in the UK. So what the hell is he doing in Rutherglen? Chasing the cold weather? Well, following a bit of study at Roseworthy, he’s decided to get knee-deep in old school Australia and be among the chosen few who steer fortifieds back to respectability and get some seriously good table wine happening too. The latest Brown dynasty, Eliza, Angela and Nick Brown, complete the nu skool picture.


EMMA WOOD, SEPPELT (pics l to r)
Sometimes it’s easy to start from scratch when making waves as a young winemaker. Emma Wood has certainly had her work cut out for her, following in the hallowed gum boot clad steps of some of Australia’s most famous winemakers at Seppelt in Great Western. She’s come up trumps and, you might argue (we often do!), that she’s making the best wine ever to emerge from the historic site. Vibrant Emma Wood is doing a great job with Seppelt – one of Australia’s most historic wineries.

Knee deep in the wine trade since 1963, the D’Anna family (of Boccaccio Cellars fame) started Hoddles Creek Estate in 1997 and then one day they thought… Wait, this sounds like a back label… one day they gave winemaker Franco D’Anna a mandate to make the best quality, best value booze he could and he hasn’t looked back, even adding some innovative, mind-bendingly good stuff like their pinot blanc into the mix. Franco’s got the talent and the family knows what works at the retail coal face. If only there were more like these guys!

Gary Mills has a decent sized shed up in the Yarra Valley that a few other young guns are making their wine in – it helps pay his bills and thank god he’s got the cash to buy this stunning Great Western shiraz. The fact that he’s chosen shiraz as his hat stand shows determination and commitment to the greater landscape of Australian wine. His Jamsheed label taps into a few Victorian regions and the newie, La Syrah, is a punter’s dream come true.

Having seen the grapes from just about every vineyard in Tasmania whilst assisting the legendary contract winemaker Andrew Hood, Dineen has a keener sense of the heart and soul of Tassie wine than most. Pioneering vigneron, Jo Chromy, snapped him up to look after the significant investment he has made at Relbia and Dineen has grabbed El Toro by the proverbial horns. Great sparkling, riesling, sweet riesling, pinot and more.


MAC FORBES, MAC FORBES (pics l to r)
Mac Forbes first donned the overalls in France at 19 years of age where he worked vintage, then he did the Roseworthy winemaking thing, spent some time at iconic Yarra Valley winery Mount Mary and now he’s making booze up in the Yarra with convincing retro-modern attitude. He’s bringing on his old world experience and making some wine in Austria, where he built a following as a savvy young consultant. Mac’s wines are edgy and demanding and they are wines to really respect – he cuts no corners and takes no prisoners!

Mike Aylward is a finalist in the Young Gun of Wine Award and if there was a gong for nicest young chap in Australia, we’d be nominating him for that one too. Aylward’s serious commitment to making great chardonnay and pinot noir is already delivering stunning results from their discreet gravity fed winery with no intention of hosting a cellar door – soooo Burgundian! We hate to use the “C” word (in public) but Mike’s Verve chardonnay is very Chablis-like.

Being a second-generation Aussie winemaker ain’t always the easiest of challenges, especially when your old man is Garry Crittenden, one of the pioneers of the Mornington Peninsula and Italian varietals from further afield. Well, we dip the felt Fedora to you Rollo, you’ve delivered some very exciting booze in the last couple of years, especially the Los Hermanos duo of tempranillo and albariño-that’s-not-reallyalbariño. (We’ll let you explain that one mate!).

There’s a storm of talent brewing down on the Apple Isle and Shane Holloway has grabbed a valuable advantage, breaking away from the peloton in convincing style. He snapped up the wellestablished Delamere Vineyard and has turned his attention to building on the history he now has in his hands. The quality of the chardonnay and pinot noir he thrust before the judges was show stopping – this man has a vision, with the talent and vineyard to back it up.


  1. Loved Dan Crane’s observation of durif, “If a kangaroo pisses in the Nullarbor, durif shits itself.”

    Not bad for a Pom.

  2. Okay we have winners and I’ve emailed you.

    Leopald Faust and Craig Mitchell.

    Your names will be on the door.

  3. This Young Guns of Wine business looks very interesting. There is exactly 2 good reasons I’d love to win the tickets.

    First of all. I’m not a winemaker, but I like to think of myself as a young gun of wine and secondly it is my girlfriends birthday and if there is anyone that loves wine more than me, it is her.

    That and I love hearing winemakers talk less about the actual wine but more about the process of learning about their own vineyards, themselves and wine itself.

  4. Whenever I’m at Syrahmi it’s ‘que, syrah?’
    And Pooley has the Tassies in a new terroir
    Newer ways are all the rage with some young punks
    And me I’ve got the Hoddles baby and it funks
    Sweet and sticky tongue, how could we be All Saints?
    Millsy’s got the largest and a sheed it ain’t
    Chromy’s got the pinot coming north to me
    Forbie’s is turning water into holy sea
    Ocean Eight could be Clooney with an L.A. air
    Hanging with Delaney from the Delamere
    I’m psyched by all these Critters that are coming up
    I’d love to get the prize- a little lovin’ cup!

  5. As the most ignorant and least informed commentator on wine (and food) on the net for the benefit of my reading public I need the education!!

  6. There is no more exciting tasting than the Young Guns… Like looking into a crystal ball and getting a glimpse of the future of the industry! I would love to be there!

  7. Sounds fun. Shame Anna Pooley won’t be at Brisbane’s Tassie Unbottled (I think Heemskerk won’t be there), love her left of centre takes on Riesling…and I was going to propose. You never know if you don’t ask.

    What is Emma doing at Seppelt these days anyway, I thought Jo Marsh made the wines now? Puzzled.

    Oh, loving the restaurant reviews and food porn, sorry photos. One day I will be a welathy & important man and dine at these establishments too. I might even have learnt something about food by then.

  8. The YGOW awards are a fantastic idea. There are some fantastic winemakers and indeed personalities showcased here this year.
    As a new winemaker in our first year of business we’d love to see what it really takes to be a Young Gun…

  9. I deserve to wine the tickets, as my Father sold our vineyard (of 23 years) without telling any of us. I reported him to DOCS immediately!!!