Brothers Damon and Jono Koerner from Koerner Wine in the Clare Valley have won the top 2019 Riedel Young Gun of Wine award.
Their trophy was presented this week at an industry event in Adelaide.
The duo (below) were lauded for Koerner’s 2018 ‘Grace’ Riesling and 2018 ‘La Corse’ Red Wine.
“It’s a thrill to win such a great award with my brother, doing something we love and have so much fun doing,” Damon said.
Young Gun of Wine founder Rory Kent added: “The ‘La Corse’ is a blend of varieties which includes Sciacarello – a grape native to the French island of Corsica. This wine is the epitome of what today’s customer wants: a light, bright, easy-drinking red, with layers of interest in the glass – it’s awesome, and all with the aesthetic appeal of Koerner’s preppy packaging.
“From a family of grape growers, Damon and Jono Koerner started the eponymous wine label in 2014 and are doing it right on every level. From sourcing emerging varieties, to a sense of adventure in the winery with use of large ceramic eggs for fermentation, to a product mix that includes various shades and textures of single varieties, to the packaging that is instantly iconic.
“They’ve become an emerging force and beacon for future creativity in the Clare Valley, a region perhaps somewhat isolated and traditional. What they’re doing, and how they’re doing it, makes them the poster child for new wine labels today.”
As the prize for their win, the Koerners will be offered a contract from TAP. Wines to have their wine pouring at an iconic wine bar in Melbourne.
The Young Gun People’s Choice award was given to Liv Maiorana and Mijan Patterson of South by South West.
“Winning People’s Choice for us is epic, making wine to share is what the South West is all about, but ultimately we make it for people who are going to drink it and it’s so humbling that they enjoy it,” Liv said.
The Winemaker’s Choice award, decided by the Final 12 winemakers, was taken out by Remi Guise of tripe.Iscariot.
“Winemakers Choice is one of those furiously coveted awards, it is the respect of your peers, all of whom are as critical and exacting as you are,” Remi said. “To have the caliber of winemakers, who all make wines of such esteem and sense of place, elect me as a favourite is truly amazing and humbling.”
The Best New Act went to winemaking duo Rhys Parker and Paul Hoffman from Vallée du Venom, who make wines in the Margaret River and Swan Valley.
“Hoffy and I are very humbled to be among so many talented winemakers and bloody good wines!” Rhys said. “We’re stoked!”
The First Drop Danger Zone award went to 2018 Dirt Candy Wine ‘The Little Circus’ from the Hunter Valley.
Nick Stock, chief panellist of Young Gun of Wine, said: “The threading together of no less than six different red grapes and lazing them with the skins of the white traminer grape is brave, evocative and just the right kind of crazy. And to do all this in the Hunter Valley, Australian wine’s poster child of conservative, stoic and traditional winemaking is straight up nuts. Then again the wine is so freakin’ delicious, the back label probably won’t even get a look. So they won’t notice – genius!”