ASVO Awards For Excellence winners announced

November 9, 2023
By Melissa Parker

The recipients of the 2023 Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology Awards for Excellence were revealed at a ceremony at the National Wine Centre last night. The winners of key awards were:

  • Winemaker of the Year – Mark O’Callaghan
  • Viticulturist of the Year – Dr Catherine Kidman
  • Wine Science & Technology Award – Professor Andrew Clark

The ASVO Awards for Excellence are unique because nominees are judged by a select committee of industry peers who are themselves distinguished leaders in the respective fields of viticulture and oenology.

Andy Clarke, President of ASVO, said, “The 2023 ASVO Award winners demonstrate outstanding professional excellence and are recognised for the significant contribution they make to the wine industry. They do this by developing new knowledge, inspiring the next generation, and fostering an environment where excellence prevails.

“My sincere congratulations are extended to this year’s award winners, Mark O Callaghan, Cath Kidman and Andrew Clark embody all of these values and more.”

2023 ASVO Winemaker of the Year, sponsored by Sentia

Mark O’Callaghan, based in Healesville, Victoria, was the unanimous choice by judges for Winemaker of the Year.

Beyond his work at Wine Network Consulting, O’Callaghan is an exceptional communicator and educator. He has actively shared his extensive knowledge with industry members by writing articles for the Wine and Viticulture Journal and presenting at seminars and webinars at AWITC and for the AWRI and ASVO.

Among his core themes are winery modernisation, encouraging improvements in energy, water, labour and general input costs plus safety, disaster resilience, customer engagement and wine quality.

O’Callaghan expressed his surprise, saying, “When you’re in a community with exemplars like previous winners Sarah Crowe and Ed Carr, it never even crossed my mind that I would be on the radar for Winemaker of the Year. I thought it must have been an email scammer when ASVO first contacted me. I occupy a different space in winemaking, and some of the best work we do, no one ever knows about, so this really was an unexpected surprise.”

2023 ASVO Viticulturist of the Year sponsored by Syngenta

The recipient of Viticulturist of the Year was Dr Catherine Kidman from Coonawarra.

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Catherine Kidman is a champion in her field as a Technical Viticulturist who is respected and recognised nationally. She is a role model and mentor to up-and-coming viticulturists, supports PhD students as a supervisor, and is an active advocate for Women in Wine.

Applying a science-based yet practical approach, Kidman is generous in sharing her expertise and cutting-edge trial work at Wynns Coonawarra (including on epigenetic vine responses, infrared thermal imaging, and virus elimination) to the wider Australian winegrowing community to enhance a sustainable future for all vineyard owners.

Kidman said, “To be the recipient of the ASVO Viticulturist of the Year is, quite frankly an incredible feeling! I am a proud advocate of the ASVO, and therefore, to be recognised by the society for the work I do in viticulture is a tremendous feeling, and I’m very grateful for this award.”

2023 Wine Science & Technology Award sponsored by WineCheck

The Wine Science and Technology award recognises Professor Andrew Clark for his development of innovative analytical practices at the Gulbali Institute and Charles Sturt University in Melbourne.

Specifically, Clark has developed novel methodologies for the measurement of different metal forms in wine. His work has created new knowledge, analysis techniques, and wine production approaches relevant to the role of metal ions (especially copper) in the stability and ageing of wine.

Given his long academic career at Charles Sturt University, Professor Clark has taught wine chemistry to a significant portion of Australia’s bachelor graduates in oenology.

Clark says, “I’m honoured to be considered for this award. I have a great passion for conducting wine chemistry research alongside my research team and collaborators and for being involved in the education of enthusiastic next-generation winemakers and viticulturists.”

Main Picture: Mark O’Callaghan, Winemaker of the Year
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