ASVO announces Awards for Excellence winners for 2022

Photo John Krüger

The Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) last night announced the Awards for Excellence winners for 2022.

The 2022 ASVO Viticulturist of the Year went to Nick Dry of Foundation Viticulture; the 2022 ASVO Winemaker of the Year was awarded to Sarah Crowe from Yarra Yering Vineyard; and the 2022 ASVO Wine Science & Technology Award was presented to Darren Fahey of DPI NSW.

2022 ASVO Viticulturist of the Year

Nick Dry is a well-known name in Australian viticulture having spent over 20 years working with grapevine rootstocks. He has an extensive knowledge of variety, clone and rootstock performance, along with an intimate understanding of grapevine trunk disease, grapevine virus, germplasm management and nursery practices. Dry was awarded the Gourmet Traveller WINE Viticulturist of the year in 2019.

After 10 years with Yalumba, Dry established his own consultancy business: Foundation Viticulture.  As a consultant, Dry has been involved with a diverse range of projects including developing planting and redevelopment strategies, working on propagation supply chain strategy and technical communication projects. Dry is currently engaged by Wine Australia as the National Grapevine Collection coordinator.

Dry’s nomination focused on his role as coordinator of the National Grapevine Collection. Whilst the concept of germplasm management is not new, the National Grapevine Collection is an example of innovation in the Australian grape and wine sector.

Dry’s project hopes to lead to the availability of planting material with pathogen and genetic integrity, is founded on best practice, and provides a platform to communicate the importance of germplasm and high-health planting material to the Australian grape and wine industry.

“It’s a proud and humbling moment to be nominated and ultimately win this award. Bringing the National Grapevine Collection to fruition is a culmination of learning through many phases of my career,” Dry said.

“I’m excited to be able to promote the message and objectives of what should be an integral part of Australian plant health integrity in years to come and provide security for our industry.

“It’s an honour to be nominated alongside two outstanding viticulturists in Chris Rogers and Richard Leask. Their valued, wide-ranging contributions to the industry and the respect they enjoy within our tight knit community makes this award feel even more significant.

“I would also like to thank all the viticulturists I have learned from and worked alongside since the beginning of my career. The success of the Australian wine industry is by no small part due to the collegiate atmosphere of those who work within it and I’m proud to be a part of it.

“Finally, I’d like to thank the ASVO for the high calibre technical resource, support, networking and advocacy they provide to all of us within the sector.”

Photo: John Krüger

2022 ASVO Winemaker of the year

Sarah Crowe began her wine career with vineyard work in the Hunter Valley and within three years had become Brokenwood’s Assistant Winemaker. Building on her experience, Crowe completed international harvests in both Oregon and the Rhone Valley.

After 12 years in the Hunter Valley, Crowe made the move to the Yarra Valley joining the team at Yarra Yering in 2013 to focus on one single iconic vineyard site. The vineyard is central to wine quality and Crowe considers the Yarra Yering vineyard to be the best she has ever worked with.

Now in the role of Winemaker and General Manager, Sarah hopes to continue to build on the reputation started in 1969 with the first vineyard plantings at Yarra Yering.

Since arriving at Yarra Yering Crowe has been named both Gourmet Traveller WINE and James Halliday’s Winemaker of the Year. Yarra Yering has received James Halliday’s Winery of the Year and Wine of the Year, as well as The Real Review’s Winery of the Year.

The committee commented Crowe showed an extremely high level of industry commitment and leadership. Crowe’s work across multiple regions making great wine, as well as leadership and industry responsibility through the Len Evans Tutorial board and various wine shows is amazing.

Crowe’s application contained a clear narrative around the development of Yarra Yering and implementation of vineyard management and winery operations to improve wine quality, profitability, and sustainability

“It is a great honour to be named ASVO Winemaker of the Year for 2022. Previous award winners and finalists include many of my mentors, Australia’s finest winemakers and good friends,” Crowe said.

“These are all talented people who selflessly share their knowledge for the greater good of our industry and their local communities. I hope to be known as someone who also contributes to enhancing the fabric of our industry alongside them.

“We are a small vineyard and work within in a small but dedicated team at Yarra Yering and therefore this recognition from the broader wine community is heart-warming and industry participation will remain a priority of mine.”

Photo: John Krüger

The 2022 Wine Science and Technology Award

The Wine Science and Technology Award was introduced this year and will recognise the work of inspiring individuals working in wine science, wine laboratories, technology, engineering, and education/extension.

“The ASVO Board members were keen to recognise the many ASVO members who work in roles that are less visible, but still bring a range of skills, qualifications, talents and experience to the wine community,” ASVO President Brooke Howell said.

Darren Fahey has led numerous applied demonstration and scientific trials to drive practice change and realise adoption across the wine industry in his role as Development Officer for the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Fahey’s contribution to the wine industry is extensive with a multitude of projects, events, workshops, presentations, and publications over the last five years that have educated, raised awareness, and encouraged adoption.

The committee remarked that Fahey demonstrated his contribution through on-the-ground action, implementing best practice and the uptake of work by contractors and wineries. The high level of education work in the industry and clear engagement with the ASVO values that Fahey demonstrates at a personal level through volunteering & activities he has undertaken is to be commended.

“I’m thrilled to receive the inaugural ASVO Wine Science and Technology Award. However, in my mind the real winners are the growers and winemakers who have listened and learned along the way,” Fahey said.

“Based off the many trials, workshops and masterclasses that the team and I have delivered over the years while working at NSW DPI, growers and winemakers have implemented and changed practices to benefit their businesses, their environment and the wine industry.”

“There was a very high standard of nominees for the Viticulturist and Winemaker of the Year awards who have all demonstrated excellence in their field. It was very pleasing to see Nick and Sarah recognised as worthy winners this year, for their significant contribution and ability to inspire others around them,” Howell said.

“Darren’s recognition for years of work in the wine science and technology space for the betterment of the industry is also very well deserved, and we are thrilled to be able to honour more members through the new award.”

The full list of ASVO Award categories and winners are as follows:

  • ASVO Viticulturist of the year Nick Dry, Foundation Viticulture
  • ASVO Winemaker of the Year Sarah Crowe, Yarra Yering Vineyard
  • ASVO Wine Science & Technology Award Darren Fahey, DPI, NSW
  • ASVO Viticulture Paper of the Year Matthew Ayres, PIRSA-SARDI
  • ASVO Oenology Paper of the Year Dr Marcos Bonada, PIRSA-SARDI
  • ASVO Dr Peter May Award Dr Sarel Munitz, Carmel Wines, Israel


ASVO Award recipients are nominated by ASVO-appointed selection committees comprised of individuals who themselves are distinguished in the fields of viticulture and oenology and who demonstrate exceptional leadership ability and vision.


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