Rob Mack of Aphelion Wine Co in McLaren Vale is the 2018 Young Gun of Wine.
The award was announced at MONA in Hobart on Monday.
Mack founded Aphelion Wine Co in November 2015 with his wife Louise Rhodes.
The win vindicates the 36-year-old’s decision to take up a career in wine after grappling with numbers until his late 20s.
“I never really decided which way I wanted to go up until about 2010 when I did my first vintage at Kilikanoon in the Clare Valley and that sorted things out for me,” Mack said.
“Up until then I’d done an accounting degree and I started working in that field but I definitely wasn’t keen to pursue it. I was passionate about wine back then and decided to try and turn it into a career – I’ve been working at it for the past eight years and am certainly getting recognition for it now.”
Aphelion Wine is a two-person operation – Mack and Rhodes – that specialises in grenache and also produces mataro and sagrantino.
Mack leases space at a McLaren Vale winery and sources grapes mainly from established growers in the Blewitt Springs sub-region in northern McLaren Vale.
He said while he would like to one day have his own vineyards and winery, the more immediate goal was to establish a shopfront, preferably in his home town of Willunga.
“Eventually I’d like to set up myself but more importantly we’d like to get a little cellar door retail space so we can start more face-to-face customer relationships where we can pour wine for people rather than doing most of the selling impersonally,” Mack said.
“We’re creeping up every year, and are up to around the 1,500 case mark now so we are getting to the level where we can start supplying places nationally and not selling out straight away.”
It is the second successive year a South Australian winemaker has taken out the award – Michael Downer from Murdoch Hill in the Adelaide Hills was the 2017 Young Gun.
Other winners at the Young Gun of the Year Awards:
Melanie Chester from Sutton Grange Winery in Bendigo – People’s Choice Award.
Gilli and Paul Lipscombe from Sailor Seeks Horse – Winemaker’s Choice Award.