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19/11/2014

Environmental innovation honoured at ASVO awards

An advocate for new wine styles and the man behind the innovative “insectarium” have taken top honours at this year’s Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) awards held in Adelaide last night.

Sue Bell from Bellwether Wine in Coonawarra was named 'winemaker of the year' and Matthew Bailey from Taltarni in Pyrenees was crowned 'viticulturist of the year'.

Bell was acknowledged for her enthusiasm, community involvement, leadership and passionate advocacy of women in wine, as well as her commitment to trialling new grape varieties that are suited to dry regions, such as Nero d’Avola and Vermentino.

These have been well received, winning awards and establishing a model for new thinking as the industry prepares for the impact of climate change.

The judges noted that her role in the industry “has been quite inspirational, showing how much can be achieved with passion and commitment.”

Bailey is recognised as being at the forefront of integrated pest management in the wine industry thanks largely to the success of his “insectarium", a vegetation corridor of 2000 native plants that provides a pollen and nectar source for a range of beneficial insects.

This natural approach to pest and disease control has allowed Taltarni to reduce its chemical use – and chemical costs – by 75 per cent in a decade.

The judges noted that the concept could be adapted in varying degrees “by viticultural enterprises big and small”.

Paul Petrie, ASVO president, said it was significant that both winners had found ways to help build strong businesses – as well as make great wine – by caring for the environment.

“Environmental sustainability and good environmental management are prerequisites for the wine industry today, and Sue and Matthew are providing real leadership,” he said.

“The work both have been doing can be picked up by others in the industry.”

This year’s research awards were presented to Richard Gawel from the Australian Wine Research Institute for the 'best oenology paper' and Jason Smith from the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at CSU for the 'best viticultural paper'.

The papers were selected from the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research as being the most likely to have an impact on the Australian wine industry.

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