Announcing Australia’s Top 50 Young Wine Labels & Winemakers

The best young wine labels and winemakers in Australia for 2020 have been announced, with over half named for the very first time.

The young guns of the Australian wine industry have certainly left their mark in the soil, with 50 now awarded the title of best in the country.

Young Gun of Wine (YGOW), the industry’s authority on the best young wine labels and winemakers in Australia, has yesterday announced the 2020 Top 50 winemakers, with over half named for the very first time.

Golden Child, Adelaide Hills

The Top 50 includes 17 winemakers from Victoria, 14 from South Australia, six from New South Wales/ACT, six from Western Australia, six from Tasmania and one from Queensland with the YGOW winner being announced on Monday 1 June.

The mix of winemakers showcases the adventure and artistry in winegrowing from Australia right now. There are unique stories throughout each of the 50.

Michael Sexton from Main & Cherry in the Adelaide Hills has made the Top 50 for the first time. To help with his small-scale operation, Sexton eschews chemicals in the vineyard and opts for Indian Runner ducks to do the work of pest control for his vines.

Main & Cherry, Adelaide Hills

James Broinowski from Tasmania, another newcomer, was able to start his label, Small Island Wines, after a successful crowdfunding venture led to him buying a batch of pinot noir grapes – a sure-fire lesson in persistence.

Small Island Wines, Tasmania

Back again in the mix is Andrew Scott from La Petite Mort, the only Queenslander, uses ‘amphoras’ – an ancient type of fermentation vessel made of terracotta.

There’s a Moscato from Victoria made with beer hops added by one winemaker, whilst another has infused Chenin Blanc from Western Australia with pine resin.

Top 50 finalists also include wineries from recently fire affected areas such as Adelaide Hills, Kangaroo Island, Orange, Hunter Valley, Canberra and Beechworth.

Young Gun of Wine Founder Rory Kent summed up this year’s Top 50:

“In an age where tribes have formed within the wine scene, the beauty of the Young Gun of Wine Awards is that it ​brings together a disparate group. The wines made by the Top 50 winemakers represent all corners, from experimental and natural wines to refined versions of the classics, whether still, sparkling, fortified or even infused, and from Tasmania to Western Australia to Queensland, and everywhere in between. They’re wines that are a reflection of winemakers that push the boundaries of capabilities and ideas.”

“The 2020 list represents a truly diverse collection of the best and latest in Australia right now, and the coming virtual events are an opportunity for wine lovers anywhere to connect with one another and gain some further understanding of the making behind the wines,” continues Kent.

The impressive 2020 YGOW Awards panel tasted around 250 wines over two days at ​Howard Smith Wharves​ to come together with the final Top 50 list.

And now it’s the public’s turn to taste the wines and have their say…

Top 50 Virtual Events

For the first time, Young Gun of Wine will be hosting a series of virtual events in May to showcase the Top 50 winemakers. The interactive video events will feature the ​Top 50 winemakers and other experts, where participants can ask questions live. Beyond interactive, the event will be experiential, whereby people can (if they wish) purchase the wines to be featured in advance of the tasting.

Tickets are free – but bookings are essential, as the events will be a private broadcast. Bookings via the events link here.

People’s Choice Voting

Have your say on Australia’s best winemaker – People’s Choice voting is live online via this link.

Everyone that votes will receiving a $50 voucher* to wine broker Langton’s, as well as go into a draw to win a host of prizes including a Liebherr wine cellar; a two night hotel stay at the luxurious Jackalope Hotel on Mornington Peninsula, with a private winery tasting experience with past local winners Mike Aylward (Ocean Eight) and Rollo Crittenden (Crittenden Estate); and a year’s supply of wines (52 bottles) from the 2020 Top 50 winemakers.

Voting will be open until Monday 1 June.

New South Wales/ACT

  • Daniel Payne from Dirt Candy Wine, Hunter Valley
  • Angus Vinden from The Vinden Headcase, Hunter Valley
  • Steve Mobbs from Dreaded Friend / Wallington Wines, Central Ranges – Will Gilbert from Gilbert, Orange / Mudgee
  • Tom Ward from Swinging Bridge, Orange
  • Samuel Leyshon from Mallaluka, Canberra District


  • Andrew Scott from Le Petite Mort, Granite Belt

South Australia

  • Sholto Broderick & Louis Broderick from Basket Range Wine, Adelaide Hills
  • Dylan Lee from Bird in Hand, Adelaide Hills
  • James Hamilton from Golden Child, Adelaide Hills
  • Michael Sexton from Main & Cherry, Adelaide Hills
  • Sarah Adamson from Scout Wines, Adelaide Hills / New Zealand
  • Tarrant Hansen from Spider Bill Wines, Adelaide Hills
  • Alyson Tannenbaum from Vinteloper, Adelaide Hills
  • Andre Bondar from Bondar Wines, McLaren Vale / Adelaide Hills
  • Charles Seppelt & Skye Salter from Paralian Wines, McLaren Vale
  • Mauricio Ruiz Cantu & Benjamin Caldwell from Somos, McLaren Vale
  • Con-Greg Grigoriou from Delinquente Wine Co, Riverland
  • Ansel Ashby from Gatch Wine, Riverland / Adelaide Hills / Clare Valley,
  • Steve Crawford from Frederick Stevenson, Barossa Valley Eden Valley / Adelaide Hills 
  • Nick Dugmore from The Stoke Wines, Kangaroo Island


  • Jonathan Hughes from Mewstone Wines, Tasmania
  • Greer Carland from Quiet Mutiny, Tasmania
  • Gilli & Paul Lipscombe from Sailor Seeks Horse, Tasmania
  • James Broinowski from Small Island Wines, Tasmania
  • Ricky Evans from Two Tonne Tasmania, Tasmania
  • Hugh McCullough from Wellington & Wolfe, Tasmania


  • Chris Catlow from Sentio, Beechworth
  • Raquel Jones from Weathercraft, Beechworth
  • Natasha Webster from Empire of Dirt Wines, Geelong
  • Ben Mullen from Mulline, Geelong
  • Justin Purser from Dhiaga, Mornington Peninsula
  • Glen Hayley from Kooyong / Port Phillip Estate, Mornington Peninsula
  • Tara & Matthew Campbell from Mattara Wines, Mornington Peninsula / Grampians
  • Alexander Byrne from Noisy Ritual, Melbourne Geelong / Sunbury / King Valley / Heathcote /Mornington / Gippsland / Grampians / Pyrenees
  • Chris Bendle from DCB Wine, Yarra Valley
  • Tim Perrin from from Oakridge Wines, Yarra Valley
  • Hadyn Black from Black & Ginger, Great Western / Grampians / Henty / Pyrenees
  • Leighton Joy from Pyren Vineyard, Pyrenees
  • Chris Dilworth & Loique Allain from Dilworth & Allain, Macedon Ranges
  • Renata Morello from Lyons Will Estate, Macedon Ranges
  • Ben Ranken from Wilimee, Macedon Ranges
  • Bart Van Olphen from Chalmers, Heathcote / Mildura
  • Jonathan Ross from Micro Wines, Geelong / Barossa Valley

Western Australia

  • Alexi Christidis from Chalari Wines, Perth Hills, Swan Valley
  • Garth Cliff from Vino Volta, Swan Valley / Swan District / Geographe / Perth Hills 
  • Natasha Arthur from Arthur Wines, Margaret River
  • Dylan Arvidson from LS Merchants, Margaret River / Frankland River
  • Remi Guise from tripe.Iscariot, Margaret River
  • Kim Tyrer from Galafrey Wines, Mount Barker

Read more about the winners here.

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