February (No. 493)
WFA acknowledges industry legends
Two new life members of the Australian wine industry were inaugurated at the 2004 Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Patrons’ Dinner held in on 24 November. Guenter Prass AM and Brother John May SJ are the third and fourth life members of the Australian wine industry.
Prass has been involved in the wine industry for close to 60 years. The son of a winemaker and grandson of grapegrowers, Prass’ wine industry career commenced in Germany, where he studied viticulture and winemaking, working as an assistant winemaker and a wine technician/consultant in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Prass was employed in a number of different positions by Orlando Wines between 1955 and 1988, including as table winemaker during the launch of “Barossa Pearl” in 1956, the wine credited for the dramatic shift in wine consumption trends from fortified to table wine.
Prass was also trading director of Thomas Hardy & Sons, general manager of Barossa Valley Estate Winery, and continues as a consultant to The Hardy Wine Company today. He is a Trustee of the Wolf Blass Foundation and was awarded an Order of Australia in 1990, the inaugural trophy for his contribution to the development of white table wine in 2003. In November 2004 he was awarded the prestigious Maurice O’Shea Award.
Brother May’s involvement with the wine industry commenced in 1963, when he was assigned to Sevenhill Cellars by the Jesuit order.
Over the next five years, Br May received training at Roseworthy and Wagga Wagga Universities and was appointed winemaker and manager of Sevenhill Cellars in 1972. Br May is now the director of winemaking at Sevenhill Cellars.
Br May has been involved in numerous committees over the past 32 years, particularly in the Clare region, and was responsible for the formation of the Clare Valley Tourism Association. He is a past board member of the South Australian Wine Industry Association and current board member of the National Wine Foundation.
Chief executive of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, Stephen Strachan, welcomed the appointments of Prass and Br May as life members of the Australian wine industry.
“Mr Prass and Br May join Colin Gramp AM and Ray Beckwith as life members, and are truly worthy recipients as recognised by their peers who have bestowed this award”, Strahan said.