TOM Ward jokes he's old for a young gun.
At 43, he's certainly at the older end of the eligibility criteria for the wine industry's celebration of up-and-coming winemakers, which cuts off at 45.
But his entries into the 14th annual Young Gun of Wine Awards have proved he is at the forefront of winemaking and experimentation.
Mr Ward, who is also treasurer for the Orange Region Vignerons Association and the NSW Wine Industry Association, has already been recognised in the top 50.
"I've been in the industry for 20 years, since I was 18, so I'm on the old side of young, I suppose," he said.
"We're a region that's up and coming so it's really nice to tell our story.
"It's a great acknowledgement of Orange with the styles of wine we produce."
He entered a 2017 chardonnay and a Hashtag Range 2019 #003 Amber, which he said was a white wine made with red wine methods.
"It was from our single-batch and it's probably the best wine we've made," he said.
"It's a mixture of three varietals and we pushed the limit with winemaking."
Mr Ward said he entered the chardonnay because the variety was a favourite for Orange.
With social distancing now the norm, the awards will hold a series of virtual tastings before a winner is decided.
There are also categories for the people's choice, best new act, winemaker's choice and the Danger Zone award.
Fellow Orange winemaker Will Rickard-Bell made the list two years ago.
Winners will be announced on June 1.
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