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Lethbridge winemakers finalist in Gourmet Traveller Awards

Stand out winners of the 2008 Geelong Wine Show, Lethbridge Wines, have just received another accolade for their exciting combination of traditional and innovative winemaking.

Today, Maree Collis and Ray Nadeson were announced as finalists in the 2009 Australian Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year Awards.

Lethbridge Wines began a decade ago when these two passionate scientists took their PhD's off the wall of Monash University when they found that their work was getting in the way of their wine.

After a long search and an additional degree in winemaking, Collis and Nadeson settled on a site in Lethbridge and planted their first vines. A decade later, they are opening their first vintage to toast their nomination as AGT finalists.

These young winemakers have burst on to the scene with both critics and consumers taking notice of their wines which are produced using only locally grown grapes.

“It really is a great privilege to be named in the company of such winemaking luminaries” said Collis, acknowledging the depth of talent and experience that the other nominees exhibit. “With only a decade of experience, which isn't a long time in this field, we feel really honored to be nominated. It is validation that we are heading in the right direction."

“This nomination is not only a validation of our wines, but it represents a great boost for all of the Geelong Wine Region. It is recognition that this region can produce grapes capable of making wines of the highest quality," Nadeson said.

The only previous nominee from the Geelong region to be nominated for the prestigious AGT Winemaker Award was Gary Farr of Bannockburn in 2001.

Not satisfied with producing their own Lethbridge Wines, the duo have committed to blending this year's Geelong Wine Charity Barrel which will be auctioned in October with all proceeds being donated to Barwon Health.

“This barrel will truly be a labour of love,” said Nadeson. “Both Maree and I come from a health science background so we are pleased that this year's proceeds will go to a health focussed organisation.”

The fairy tale rise of this couple's rise to prominence is belies the hard work and endless hours spent in their Moorabool Valley vineyard. Embracing the principles of biodynamics, Nadeson and Collis tread lightly on the landscape seamlessly blending science with art and tradition with innovation.

“The most important thing to put in your vineyard is your own shadow,” Collis said.

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