Described by its founder Rory Kent as the ‘democratisation of wine’, the Baptism of Fire project has hit the home-straight with the winner, decided by the public, being announced next Monday 9th December.

The project has seen five teams of first-time winemakers produce a wine using shiraz grapes from the Kneebones Vineyard, which is a part of the Mount Langi Ghiran Estate winery in the Grampians.

Each wine is a labour of love and diligence as each team set about making their own style of shiraz and were given a mentor to guide and advise them through the winemaking process. The teams include a group of sommeliers, a restaurant manager who chose to go solo, a team of two women who created a sparkling rose wine and a team who are employed by WorkSafe Victoria.

The winner will be decided by the simple rule of demand. Units will be tallied and whoever sells the most bottles by December 9 will be the winner. Vintage Cellars stores are the only place to by the wines, so get tasting, pick up your favourite and help determine the winner.

The finalists and their wines are:
‘After Hours’ by Team Lapalus - Cameron Bachelor, Cheyne McKee and Tim Mclean. Mentored by Gilles Lapalus from Sutton Grange Winery.

‘Cain & Abel’ by Team Downie - James Fryer, Raul Moreno Yagüe, Mark Protheroe. Iona Baker, Cory Morris, Joshua Elias and Nicholas Grant who are (almost) all sommeliers from Grossi Florentino. Mentored by Will Downie of William Downie Wines.

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‘Mast’ by Team Harrop - Lachlan Barber, Andrew Jamieson, Pip Whitting and Gab Webster. Mentored by Matt Harrop of Shadowfax Wines.

‘Onwards!’ by Team Glover - Banjo Harris Plane. Mentored by Michael Glover from Bannockburn

‘Method & Madness’ by Team Forbes - Beth Bicknell and Brodie Comer. Mentored by Mac Forbes of Mac Forbes Wines.