These University of Adelaide winemakers are the pick of the bunch
These University of Adelaide graduates have been shortlisted as the best emerging talent across Australia’s wine landscape.
The Young Gun of Wine Awards showcase young wine labels and winemakers on the rise and recognise ‘creative mavericks’ in the industry who are always looking for new ideas, and are ‘unwilling to compromise’.
“The University of Adelaide wine programs equip our students with the skills and knowledge to graduate as a fully trained winemaker or viticulturist, ready to make wine, grow grapes and manage their own winery or vineyard,” says Head Winemaker, Associate Professor Paul Grbin.
“It’s no surprise to us that some of our viticulture and oenology graduates are considered among the best and most creative winemakers in Australia.”
The University of Adelaide offers the most comprehensive wine qualification in Australia. Students learn at the largest teaching winery in Australia, which is home to 70% of Australia’s wine research.
This year marks the 15th annual edition of the Young Gun of Wine Awards. People’s Choice voting is open until May 24.
Update: Winners announced
Congratulations to all trophy winners including:
- Marco Lubiana - Best New Act
- Sam Berketa - People’s Choice
Alpha Box & Dice, McLaren Vale / Adelaide Hills
Sam Berketa has been at the helm of McLaren Vale’s Alpha Box & Dice since 2015, making at flotilla of eccentric wines, from deep investigations into skin contact on white grapes, to unusual blends, alternative varieties – and lots of them – to a ‘reverse ripasso’ produced from a perpetual master blend that has seen every variety and every vintage added to it. Those wines are part of the Alphabet of Wine, an ongoing exploration of the possibilities that South Australian vineyards can offer, and Berketa is constantly pushing those possibilities to the extreme.
Benjamin Caldwell & Mauricio Ruiz Cantu
Somos, McLaren Vale / Adelaide Hills
Based in McLaren Vale, Somos is the label of Ben Caldwell and Mauricio Ruiz Cantú. The pair work primarily with less-known Italian and Spanish varieties, and they make them in entirely unconventional ways, with a lo-fi and sustainable ethos.
Ben & Mauricio's story Making it big in Mexico
Quiet Mutiny, Tasmania
Quiet Mutiny is Greer Carland’s solo venture, launched after over a decade of contract winemaking for innumerable well-known Tasmanian names. She plays to the Apple Isle’s strengths with tiny batches of riesling – which sees some skins – and pinot noir, with a fragrant shiraz having joined the line-up from the 2019 vintage – as well as a riesling-based vermouth waiting in the wings.
Nick (& Rebecca) Dugmore
The Stoke Wines, Kangaroo Island
The Stoke is a tribute to the largely untapped potential of Kangaroo Island as a premium wine-growing region. Husband and wife team Nick and Bec Dugmore make wines that are expressive of the relatively cool, wind-swept vineyards of KI, with a focus on lighter to mid-weight styles with food and conviviality in mind.
Berg Herring, McLaren Vale
Sam Dunlevy’s Berg Herring is a McLaren Vale label focused on the future, with a deep investigation into heat-tolerant Mediterranean varieties that are thriving in the warming climate, and a style built around earlier picking and minimal intervention to fashion fruit-forward wines that are pitched for wine drinkers – Dunlevy included – who are increasingly embracing bright styles made for earlier consumption.
Coriole, McLaren Vale
Coriole has firmly etched itself into McLaren Vale consciousness, producing intense but serenely balanced wines from the region’s most prolific varieties – shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, grenache – but they have long been an innovator, too. Leading the charge with sangiovese in the 1980s, Coriole now make a raft of wines from heat-tolerant Mediterranean varieties – fiano, montepulciano, nero d’avola, piquepoul, for example – leaning on mid-weight styles that score high for drinkability and food friendliness. Today, joining his brother, Peter, and father, Mark, in the business, Duncan Lloyd has taken the winemaking reins, with “creative control” over the range.
Wangolina, Mount Benson
Mount Benson’s Wangolina is increasingly becoming a canvas for Anita Goode’s fascination with alternative varieties, though the classic French grapes of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, semillon and sauvignon blanc still get plenty of airtime. Aside from grüner veltliner, which is a cherished grape for Goode, the varieties and future plantings are Italian and Spanish, with some red grapes sourced from Mundulla, with the warmer inland climate favouring lagrein, montepulciano, mencia and tempranillo.
Goode’s wines champion the less-known varieties with pure expressions, while imprinting the unfamiliar region of Mount Benson on those grapes more familiar.
Penley Estate, Coonawarra
Penley Estate is one of Coonawarra’s most celebrated producers, with a firm underpinning in cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. It is a pillar of the region, and it’s a classic region at that – conservative, some would say. But, with a rethink of the operation in 2016, the Penley ship was turned in a different direction, embracing change and experimentation, while remaining respectful of its roots. Lauren Hansen works alongside head winemaker Kate Goodman to refine Penley classics, as well as to dramatically reframe possibilities with their project wines.
Harrison, McLaren Vale / Barossa Valley
Riley Harrison’s own wine project started very small and stayed very small for quite some time, allowing him to focus on the detail. That patience has paid off, with the Harrison fruit now coming from some of the finest vineyards in the Barossa, McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills. Harrison makes a syrah and a grenache, both of which are 100 per cent whole bunch, while his roussanne and grenache blanc blend sees a judicious amount of skin contact before being raised in neutral oak, building detail and mouthfeel. His wines are approachable, bright and textural, with endless layers of refined detail.
Marco Lubiana, Tasmania
Marco Lubiana launched his eponymous label from the 2018 vintage, making a chardonnay and pinot noir, which will remain his focus, with a gentle hand in the winery and tireless year-round work amongst the vines key to his approach. Those wines were made from the Lucille Vineyard, which had been recently purchased by his family and converted to biodynamic farming.
Mulline is Ben Mullen’s solo venture, focusing on sites across the Geelong region. Fresh out of a stint as the winemaker at Clyde Park, Mullen was keen to continue his relationship with the grapes of the region, but on his own terms. Mulline was born in the 2019 vintage, with classically elegant single-site expressions of pinot noir, syrah and chardonnay and a barrel-aged sauvignon blanc leading the way.
Vino Intrepido, Heathcote / Mornington Peninsula
Vino Intrepido is a natural continuation for James Scarcebrook’s long-term connection with Italian wine, from fine-wine retail and extensive wine-focused travel to wholesaling some of Italy’s best wines. His range, which was launched in 2016 with two wines, has grown to include a suite of Italian varieties, including sangiovese, nebbiolo, fiano and nero d’avola. The grapes are all sourced from Victorian vineyards, then made in a way that takes inspiration from traditional Italian methods but is carefully tuned to be sympathetic to the natural expression of individual sites and seasons.
Turon, Adelaide Hills
Turon White has not strayed far from his beloved Adelaide Hills, excepting experience-gathering vintages interstate and abroad, with the rich diversity of the region and the pristine fruit quality ideal for the elegant yet intense wines he makes under his Turon Wines label. With chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz to the fore, White takes a minimal-intervention approach, but his wines are in a classic mould, expressing variety, site and season with bell-clear clarity.
Thank you to YGOW for allowing us to republish and share this content. Read the original article and stories at ‘Australia’s 50 Best Young Wine Labels & Winemakers in 2021’.