After a year-round search and selection process by judges – Nick Stock, Rory Kent, Philip Rich, Josh Elias, last year’s Young Gun of Wine, Fraser McKinley, with short-listing contribution from Mike Bennie – the top twelve finalists of the 2015 Young Gun of Wine Awards have been determined. Here they are:

Adrian Rodda, A. Rodda Wines (Beechworth, Victoria)
Adrian Santolin, Santolin (Yarra Valley & Heathcote, Victoria)
Ben Chipman, Tom Foolery (Barossa Valley, South Australia)
Brendon Keys, BK Wines (Adelaide Hills & McLaren Vale, South Australia)
Brett Grocke, Eperosa (Barossa Valley, South Australia)
Jarad Curwood, Chapter Wine (Heathcote, Victoria)
Laura & Brendan Carter, Unico Zelo (South Australia)
Luke Growden, Year Wines (McLaren Vale, South Australia)
Marco Cirillo, Cirillo (Barossa Valley, South Australia)
Michael Downer, Murdoch Hill (Adelaide Hills, South Australia)
Simon Killeen, Simao & Co (North East Victoria)
Steve Crawford, Frederick Stevenson (Barossa & Clare Valleys, South Australia)

Whilst winemakers from all corners of Australia were represented through to the shortlist stage, Victoria and South Australia have dominated the top 12 positions.

Nick Stock, who has led the judging panel since its inception in 2007, summed up this year’s group: “Without getting all Chrissie Hynde on this, some things change and some stay the same in the world of wine. And in the nine years we’ve been working on these awards, the talent has always run deep, but the wines have become steadily more distinctive, more nuanced and more profoundly Australian than ever. They’re also better looking, more inventively packaged wines that better embrace the fell of what’s in the bottle.”

Looking at the ideas and trends emerging from the finalists, competition founder Rory Kent, noted, “Sub-regionality, adaptation of warm climate grape varieties, and substance-over-style are some of the key themes of 2015.”

This year, over half the field are first-time finalists, all in contention for the Best New Act: Brett Grocke (Eperosa), Jarad Curwood (Chapter Wine), Laura & Brendan Carter (Unico Zelo), Luke Growden (Year Wines), Marco Cirillo (Cirillo), Simon Killeen (Simao & Co), Steve Crawford (Frederick Stevenson).

Along with the Best New Act, there are four trophies up for grabs. The other awards being the People’s Choice, the Winemaker’s Choice, and the Young Gun of Wine.

Nomad will host the 2015 Awards at their restaurant in Surry Hills on October 13, where the winners will be announced.

Al Yazbek, co-owner at Nomad, who have launched a new online wine store, said they are “delighted to bring the Awards presentation to Sydney for the first time, in the competition’s ninth year. The finalists in the Young Gun of Wine Awards have proven to be the cutting edge of Australian wine.”

The public can get involved with free public tasting events in Melbourne (12pm, Saturday October 10) and Sydney (6pm, Monday October 12) to help decide the People’s Choice Award winner.