WA’s Vanya Cullen named ‘woman of the year’

Name: Vanya Cullen

Vanya Cullen, the managing director and senior winemaker at biodynamic winery Cullen Wines, in Western Australia's Margaret River region, has become the first Australian to be named Woman of the Year by Europe's drinks trade publication The Drinks Business.

Announced in London at the International Wine Fair in late May, the accolade was presented to Cullen as part of The Drinks Business' 2008 awards.

'Since 1989, when she became responsible for winemaking at her family's Margaret River winery, Cullen has gained a reputation for being at the vanguard of producing wines to the most rigorous standards of organic and, more recently, bio-dynamic, standards, attaining Grade A bio-dynamic certification from the Biological Farmers Association,' the magazine said on its website.

'Exemplary viticulture lies at the heart of her success and her attention to detail has also seen her commitment to environmental issues stretch still further as she has converted the winery to natural power sourced from nearby wind farms and by becoming the first carbon neutral winery in Australia.'

One of the judges for the award noted that Cullen had gained 'an international reputation for herself not only for producing quality wines in the most 'green' way but also for being instrumental in putting Margaret River on the map when it comes to producing high quality wines'.

'Her commitment to environmentally-sustainable farming and commercial practices is an example to the drinks industry as a whole that you can run a successful business while looking after the environment,' the judge said.

This article was first published in the July/August issue of the Wine Industry Journal.

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