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Wine Communicator Award winners named

Wine Communicators of Australia (WCA) announced the nine winners of its Wine Communicator Awards at an event held last night.

Richard Smart, long-time contributor to the Wine & Viticulture Journal and The Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine, took out the award for best trade or technical wine writer while Tyson Stelzer was awarded both the wine communicator of the year and digital communicator of the year awards.

Smart, who has been involved in the wine industry for almost 50 years, couldn't attend the ceremony as he lived in England but said he was honoured to receive the award which was presented to his daughter, Rachel. 

"I have had several from overseas, this is the first from my homeland Australia," he said. "It just goes to show that you do not have to live in South Australia to receive wine sector recognition.

"I have enjoyed my 49 years in grapes and wine immensely. I have been lucky to work in many of the worlds’ wine regions, in around 40 countries, from the traditional like France to the unusual like Myanmar. Now most of my work is in China, yet to make its mark on the world of wine. Trust me, it will.

"Thanks to Sonya Logan of Winetitles for nominating me, to the judges and organisers for their kindness."

Smart's first article in the Australian Grapegrower & Winemaker was published in 1978. He then began writing a column titled ‘Smart Thinking on Viticulture’ for the Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal (now the Wine & Viticulture Journal) in 1987 which was published regularly until 1999 when it became semi-regular.

“I continue to be an occasional contributor to the Journal, now known as the Wine & Viticulture Journal, to the present day.”

Angus Barnes, WCA chair, described the night as a “fantastic culmination of a highly successful awards”.

“This has become our most important event on the annual WCA calendar – certainly in terms of who we are, what we stand for and our aspirations for the future,” Barnes said. “I particularly want to congratulate our new Wine Communicator of the Year Tyson Stelzer – who in the past 12 months has added to an already impressive CV with his new TV Show People of the Vines and an all-new Champagne-dedicated website and digital resource.

The judging panel for the awards included a mix of industry professionals, including International digital expert Paul Mabray, Fabulous Ladies Wine Society founder Jane Thomson, Wine Australia Program Manager Anne Duncan, 2014 Wine Communicator of the Year Jeni Port, the drinks association CEO Sandra Przibilla, photographer Milton Wordley and Radpublic Director Louise Radman. The Gourmet Traveller WINE New Wine Writer Award was judged by editor Judy Sarris, contributing editor Huon Hooke, and WCA Chair Angie Bradbury.

The awards and their winners are:

  • Wine Communicator of the Year – Tyson Stelzer
  • Digital Communicator of the Year – Tyson Stelzer
  • Gourmet Traveller WINE New Wine Writer Award – Tony Anisimoff
  • Best Published Feature Articles or Wine Column – Max Allen
  • Best Trade or Technical Wine Writer – Richard Smart
  • Best Wine Educator – Wine101x (University of Adelaide)
  • Best Wine Publication (trade or consumer) – Alquimie
  • Best Wine Book – Vintage Tasmania, by Tony Walker
  • Best Wine Website or App – Gourmet Traveller WINE (Digital)


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