Viticulturist Award

After nearly 20 years of awarding Australia’s best alternative variety wines, in 2019 we started directly acknowledging viticulturists who are doing great work in the field of alternative varieties. 

Any single vineyard wine entered in the AAVWS can be attributed to a specific viticulturist at the time of entering the wine.  Once the results of the tastings are in, the list of viticulturists for all high scoring single vineyard wines will be reviewed for a shortlist to be created. 

The award recipient will not be selected purely based on scores or medals.  Rather it will be decided in consideration of the performance of attributable wines in the current year’s show in association with extended discussion about wider contribution to alternative variety viticulture in Australia. The selection panel is made up of independent experts Dr Mark Kristic (Vic) and Dr Mardi Longbottom (SA), two of Australia’s most well respected viticulturists, along with our Chief of Judges and the previous year’s winner.

This award will give the AAVWS an opportunity to highlight the critical work that goes on in the vineyard, not only in terms of cultural practices but also in learning to wrangle a new variety.  There is so much to discover when working with new grape varieties, starting with deciding what to grow in your patch of dirt.  Then there is the process of studying the habits of a new variety, it’s pros and cons, how it responds to soil types, weather and nutrition.  When is the right time to harvest?  What is the best pruning method?  So much work goes, even before the first wine is made. Every season brings new challenges and with tackling them also comes new knowledge.  The AAVWS Viticulturist Award will focus on this dedication in the vineyard, rewarding the process, not just the product.

We couldn’t be happier to announce that loyal local sponsor Morellofert will be our partner for the AAVWS Viticulturist Award.  Owner David Morello said “This is a great Award and it couldn’t be a better fit for Morellofert. The whole focus of our business is innovative and sustainable viticulture so we can’t wait to get to know the inaugural winner.” The recipient of this award will receive a free half day consultancy with one of Morellofert’s agronomists and have a chance to showcase and discuss their own methods in return. The winner of the award will also be asked to join the selection panel for the following years award.  

And the winners are:

  • 2021 Don Oliver
  • 2020 Mark Walpole
  • 2019 Richard Leask
  • 2022 Sam Costanzo

Changing the World

“The massive impact the AAVWS has had on wine production and consumption in Australia over the last 15 years is now flowing overseas as alternative varieties breathe new life into the UK market and add colour and excitement to the Australian offering.”