Yesterday I got together with Max Allen, Philip Rich, Rollo Crittenden and Rory Kent to judge the 2011 Young Gun of Wine Award. Above you’re looking at the 2010 finalists and judges, read on for the class of 2011.
In its 5th year, it’s tradition that we invite the previous year’s winner back to judge the following year and Rollo was as worthy a contributor as he was finalist and winner. Rory Kent is the boundlessly energetic mastermind behind the competition and the surrounding festival of events and it’s my job to take the minutes/chair the competition.
Each year it’s a reliable barometer of temperature in the Australian wine talent pool and the extent to which the competition evolves is always a (pleasant) surprise.
How we judge it: Well, it’s fair to say it certainly isn’t a wine show. Our short list of twenty-odd winemakers are discussed round table style as we taste two wines from each contestant. The need to present quality wine with purpose and merit is well and truly on the agenda but it’s not where it’s won or lost. The wines (as long as they are up to scratch) are a backdrop for a broader discussion.
Leadership, how each one engages with their context, their region(s), consistent improvement – many other things are discussed and inevitably it’s a case of tough decisions to whittle the short list down to the best 11 finalists. Spread across four states this year, the finalists are from South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and ACT (Canberra District).
From there, choosing the winner is something we really agonise over, thrash out, debate – call it what you will. It’s one VERY tough decision with such impressive talent.
Here are the 11 finalists – congratulations and see you all when we announce the winner on August 22nd and throughout the festive week leading up to the big night. The people’s choice tasting will be at the Prince Wine Store (Bank St, South Melbourne) on Saturday 20th August if you want to cast your own vote.
2011 Young Gun of Wine Finalists:
- Adam Wadewitz (Best’s)
- Alex Head (Head Wines)
- Andrew Marks (The Wanderer)
- David Bowley (Vinteloper)
- Dylan McMahon (Seville Estate)
- Elena Golakova-Brooks (Cien Y Pico & Dandelion Vineyards)
- Mike Aylward (Ocean Eight)
- Nick Glaetzer (Glaetzer Dixon)
- Nick Spencer (Eden Road Wines)
- Rory Lane (The Story)
- Sam Wigan (Running With Bulls)
Look at the event website HERE and have a look at last year’s events, images etc – return soon for the full list of 2011 Young Gun of Wine Festival.