New Australian wine industry awards coming this June

May 13, 2022
By Ioni Doherty

The Maurice O’Shea Award will return in 2022 when it is presented at the newly named The Australian Wine Industry Awards in Adelaide on Sunday, 26 June. It will be presented alongside a new award: the McWilliam’s Wines Excellence in Action.

The Australian Wine Industry Awards are an initiative of McWilliam’s Wines and Mount Pleasant Wines and the awards presentation will conclude proceedings from the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference taking place in the lead up to the event.

Founded in 1990 by the McWilliam family, the Maurice O’Shea Award pays homage to Mount Pleasant’s legendary winemaker. The award recognises an individual, group, or organisation for their incredible service or contribution to the industry through winemaking, cultivation, innovation and technology and is given out once every three years.

Past winners include Robert Hill-Smith (2019) (pictured above), Len Evans Tutorial (2016), Dr Peter Dry (2014) and Australian Screwcap Initiative (2012).

Following the change of ownership to both Mount Pleasant and McWilliam’s Wines in 2021 by the Medich Family Office and Calabria Family Wine Group respectively, the new owners felt passionately about working together to honour these distinguished awards, their namesakes and bringing this important industry program into a new era. 

“Maurice O’Shea was a man who devoted his efforts to the craft of making great Australian wine. The Maurice O’Shea Award is to honour and recognise a group or individual that has made a significant contribution to the industry by forging new pathways in their efforts to strive for excellence and greaten the industry as a whole,” Chief Winemaker for Mount Pleasant Wines, Adrian Sparks said.

“Mount Pleasant is proud to honour Maurice O’Shea and his enduring legacy to the Australian wine industry by presenting this award in collaboration with the Calabria family.” 

The new McWilliam’s Award for Excellence in Action will be presented to an individual, group or organisation that has made a significant impact in the face of the numerous challenges currently facing the Australian wine industry.

“While the iconic Maurice O’Shea Award celebrates the significant contribution of a group or individual to the industry, we’ve created the McWilliam’s Award for Excellence in Action to focus on the many challenges facing the wine industry – challenges like climate change, diversity and equality, and international market access – and the important people or industry bodies that have tackled these obstacles head-on for the betterment of our industry,” third-generation Sales & Marketing Director for Calabria Family Wine Group Andrew Calabria said. 

“McWilliam’s Wines has had its fair share of challenges in its 143-year history, but the family’s perseverance and commitment to the industry are what, to me, stand out over those many years and we felt this new distinction was an important way to honour that.” 

Under the new partnership, Mount Pleasant and McWilliam’s have called upon leaders across the Australian wine industry to join an exclusive judging committee to confer and nominate potential winners of both awards. The selected judges include industry body leaders, journalists, winemakers and representatives from Mount Pleasant, McWilliam’s Wines and Calabria Family Wines. A full list of judges is provided below. 

“The conferral process aims to ensure the two awards remain true to Maurice O’Shea’s reputation as the highest honour afforded to a member of the wine industry. We are excited to bring together this selection of respected and experienced wine professionals to nominate the finest candidates for these awards,” Sparks said. 

Judges

  • Phil Ryan, past Chief Winemaker and Ambassador, Mount Pleasant Wines
  • Campbell Mattinson, independent wine journalist
  • Louisa Rose, Head of Winemaking, Yalumba and Hills Smith Family Vineyards
  • Bill Calabria AM, Director and Winemaker, Calabria Family Wine Group
  • Mark Krstic, Managing Director, Australian Wine Research Institute
  • Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive, Australian Grape & Wine
  • Jane Faulkner, wine writer
  • Doug McWilliam, past chairman, McWilliam’s Wines and 5th generation industry family member
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