TWO Limestone Coast residents have been shortlisted as 50 finalists in the 2021 Young Gun of Wine Awards. Coonawarra’s Penley Estate winemaker Lauren Hensen and Wangolina owner and vigneron Anita Goode were selected after two days of intensive judging by a panel of leading industry figures from across the country.
The Goode family have farmed the land of Wangolina Station since 1923 after arriving in Mount Benson in the late 19th century.
Vines were planted on the sprawling property in 1999, with cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and sauvignon blanc going into the ground and the first wines were made in 2001.
At just 15 years of age, Ms Goode chose to do her work experience with Southcorp Wines – now Treasury Wine Estates – which was followed by a degree in winemaking and vintage seasons in America, Australia, Bordeaux and in Mount Benson.
Ms Goode gradually assumed control of the vineyard management from her father from 2013 and she has since replanted and grafted wines over from the original and more traditional plantings.
“In 2015, I took a risk and grafted half of my beloved semillon over to grüner veltliner, one of the first growers to use the Hahndorf Hill clones outside of the Adelaide Hills, and I’m still the only grower of grüner in the Limestone Coast,” she said.
“The joy of being the sole winemaker and owner of Wangolina means that the decision making is always on me.
“I’m not responsible to anyone but myself when making the wine, and I have learnt how to be resourceful, resilient and reflective when mistakes have been made.”
Ms Goode’s other strong focus is to champion Mount Benson and Mundalla as regions, saying the areas are often diluted away into big company blends.
Ms Hansen arrived at Penley Estate via a three-year stint as the assistant winemaker for the legendary Pete Bissell at Balnaves.
She graduated from her viticulture and oenology agree as dux as 2012, before working in the Hunter Valley and Victoria.
Ms Hansen works alongside head winemaker Kate Goodman to refine Penley classics and dramatically reframe possibilities with project wines.
“Our goal is to create wines that show a modern approach to a classic style,” she said.
“Taking traditional varieties like cabernet, shiraz, merlot and cabernet franc and bringing a new approach and a fresh perspective.
“The goal is to push the boundaries, challenge the norm, and show consumers, and ourselves, a different side to these varieties.”
Young Gun of Wine Awards judge Nick Stock said the award, which is in its 15th year, celebrates the newest winemaking talent and brings together those who seek to bend the needle in the direction of interest while redefining the notion of wine quality in Australia.
Mr Stock said the judges tasted wines from every maker in the list were tasted, before their projects and aspirations were discussed, as was their place in the region they work in as well as the broader wine landscape.
“Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen this forum bring together and promote so many winemakers that have gone on to set a new tone of authenticity in Australian wine that is brazenly modern, brilliantly executed and highly attuned to the tastes of our time,” he said.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony later this year, with a final date to be confirmed.