Australian Women in Wine Awards; Winemaker of the Year Vanya Cullen

Australia’s top women in wine revealed

September 18, 2019
By Alana House

Vanya Cullen has added to her accolades by winning Winemaker of the Year at the Australian Women in Wine Awards.

Cullen, from Cullen Wines,​ was also named Winemaker of the Year at the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards in August.

Her win was announced during a show-stopping awards ceremony in New York, complete with guests walking the “hot pink” carpet on arrival.

The event was attended by nearly 40 Australian female wine producers, and the invitation only guest list also included more than 100 trade, media and dignitaries.

Eight out of the nine winning wine women were in the room to receive their award in person. The cheers and congratulations weren’t contained to just one room, as the whole ceremony was live streamed across the world via the Australian Women in Wine Facebook page.

The event, which was co-hosted by New York based sommelier and women in wine advocate, Marika Vida and the AWIWA Founder and Chair, Jane Thomson, was conducted in partnership with Wine Australia and was the launch piece for Wine Australia’s Far From Ordinary campaign. The month-long campaign is the largest Australian wine promotion ever held in the USA. 

Australian Women in Wine New York

‘Wine Australia is delighted to support the Australian Women in Wine Awards that celebrate the achievements of many talented women from the Australian grape and wine community and it was wonderful to partner with the event in New York’, Andreas Clark, CEO Wine Australia said.

‘We believe that our diverse wine community is one of our greatest strengths that help make our wine Far From Ordinary, and we are delighted to sponsor the Honorary Australian Woman in Wine USA and the Viticulturist of the Year awards’, he said.

Jane Thomson said that the decision to kick off the whole US campaign with the AWIWA was a clear sign that Aussie #winechicks are integral to the Australian wine story, and that celebrating their contribution has benefits to the entire wine community and beyond.

“Australian wine history is now boldly being made with her-story front and centre,” she said.

The 2019 AWIWA winners are:

Winemaker of the Year – sponsored by Tonnellerie Saint Martin

Vanya Cullen, Cullen Wines

Researcher / Innovator of the Year – sponsored by Angove Family Winemakers

Inca Lee, Vinehealth Australia

Champion of Diversity & Equality – sponsored by Australian Grape and Wine

John Davis, Pepper Tree Wine

Marketer of the Year – sponsored by denomination

Imogen Hayes, Handpicked Wines

Cellar Door Person of the Year – sponsored by Purple Giraffe

Ulrika Larsson, Clairault Streicker

Viticulturist of the Year – sponsored by Wine Australia

Sheridan Alm, Starrs Reach Vineyard

Owner/Operator of the Year – sponsored by WineWorks Australia

Sarah McDougall, Lake George Winery

Woman of Inspiration Award sponsored by Irvine Wines

Angie Bradbury, Dig&Fish

Honorary Australian Women in Wine Award USA – co-sponsored by Wine Australia & the Victoria State Government

Christina Pickard

Four in a row for the Riverland at the AWIWAs

Sheridan Alm, of Starrs Reach Vineyards, who took out the Viticulturist of the Year Award, continues the proud tradition of Riverland women winning at the awards.

Chris Byrne, Executive Chair of Riverland Wine, said: “Congratulations to Sheridan, who has this year been recognised as one of Australia’s very best viticulturists.

“With her win, the Riverland has now won more of these awards than any other wine region. We share in her excitement to have been formally recognised in front of some of the most influential and highest achievers in the wine and grape industry across Australia and indeed the world.

“For the fourth year in a row the Riverland region, represented by its fabulous wine ladies, has punched well above its weight. Our community is immensely proud of both her and those who have been recognised in preceding years.

“This latest acknowledgement leaves no doubt that the Riverland wine region remains firmly perched on the verge of a bright and vibrant wine future that is extraordinary.”

This year’s achievements echo the success of years past, including 2018 when Nicole Pittman of Kingston Estates was awarded the Viticulturist of the Year Award and Lynda Schenk, owner/founder of Purple Giraffe Marketing, the Adelaide-based marketing consultancy that undertakes all of Riverland Wines marketing, was awarded as the Marketer of the Year; 2017 when Jasmine Morgan of Caudo Vineyards was awarded the Cellar Door Person of the Year; and that of 2016 when Jenny Semmler of 919 Wines was awarded the Owner/Operator of the Year.

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