Vanya Cullen Winemaker of the Year

James Halliday names Vanya Cullen as Winemaker of the Year

August 7, 2019
By Alana House

Vanya Cullen of Cullen Wines​ has been named Winemaker of the Year at the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards.

The Halliday Wine Companion Awards were held last night in The Great Hall at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

Wine writer James Halliday and his tasting panel find Australia’s best wines and winemakers every year to be featured in the Halliday Wine Companion guide.

Halliday told The Australian: “Vanya Cullen has been committed to biodynamic grape growing and winemaking for many years now.

“She is genuinely passionate about these issues and only a few years ago moved to a carbon-neutral winery. Starting in the vineyard and then moving to the winery, it’s all about attention to detail.”

The Margaret River winemaker said she was “humbled, honoured and grateful” to have won the award.

Vanya Cullen Winemaker of the Year
The Cullen Wines team at the Halliday awards

She told The Busselton Mail: “It ties in with my 30th year as a senior wine grower at Cullen Wines, I feel really happy and really happy for the team here as well,” she said.

“I am the face, if you like, but it is a whole team of people including the vineyard guys Matt Dermody, Andy Barrett-Lennard and everyone.

“I am really happy for all of Cullen Wines.”

Cullen Amber wine; Vanya Cullen named Winemaker of the Year
Nigella Lawson said she would fly 9000 miles to drink Cullen Amber

Cullen said the award was an acknowledgement of the quality of wines they made sustainably. The winery started implementing programs to create natural wines six years ago. It is now solar powered and completely biodynamic.

“I do not think there is anything made quite like it anywhere,” Cullen said of her wines. “They taste of the land and they are energetically of the land.”

Other major winners last night included Jim Barry Wines from South Australia for Winery of the Year and the 2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands ­McLaren Vale Grenache as Wine of the Year. Best New Winery was Shy Susan Wines, of Tasmania, while Dark Horse of the Year went to Dal Zotto Wines, in King Valley, Victoria.

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