Crittenden Estate awarded Mornington Peninsula’s 2023 Vineyard of the Year

Rollo Crittenden of Crittenden Estate. Image courtesy Mornington Peninsula Wine.

Mornington Peninsula Wine, the peak industry body for the region, has announced Rollo Crittenden of Crittenden Estate as the recipient of its 2023 Dr Allan Antcliff Vineyard of the Year Award.

The award, which is in its second year, acknowledges the work of exceptional viticulturists and their commitment to environmental excellence, in recognition of principal research scientist in vine physiology and ampelography Dr Allan Antcliff, AM, whose work was pivotal to the development of the Australian wine industry. The winner is awarded a $5,000 travel grant, to support their pursuit in research and development of practices in viticulture.

Led by Dr Samantha Scarratt, the judging panel praised Crittenden for his approach to soil ecology through extensive compost research and development and to provide the balance and biodiversity necessary for a thriving ecosystem. Crittenden focusses heavily on the bacteria and fungi present in compost to support the health in the soil and root systems putting nutrients back into soil that is depleted during the growing and ripening phase.

“What set Crittenden apart in a very close competition, was its extensive research into, and application of, different practices in the vineyard. It is something the team there have been doing for quite a while now with excellent results,” Scarratt commented.

“Overall, I was extremely impressed with the level of the submissions and excited for the future in the Mornington Peninsula. Through my work, I have travelled to many wine regions and looking through the lens of the six vineyards judged, it feels there is a young vibrant wine community that is taking a very mindful approach to viticulture,” Scarratt said.

Rollo Crittenden was appreciative of the recognition and applauded the submission process.

“Going through the submission process was immensely beneficial to Crittenden as it gave us the opportunity to pause and reflect on every aspect of our viticultural process. The interaction with the three judges, given their wealth of collective experience, has brought great value to our business, and resulted in further consideration and evolution of our processes.” Crittenden said.

“To be recognised through the Dr Allan Antcliff award was unexpected but very much appreciated and we look forward to sharing our learnings to the greater benefit of all Mornington Peninsula grapegrowers,” he continued.

Other finalists were Quealy Winemakers and Portsea Estate, both of whom have demonstrated excellence in the vineyard as well as in social, environmental, and economic responsibility.

Mornington Peninsula Wine CEO, Olivia Barrie said the region has a dedicated focus on sustainability and on growing for the future.

“We want to ensure we are at the forefront of sustainable winegrowing and caring for our local environment,” Barrie Said.

“By rewarding and naming those that are doing a great job out there in the vineyards, planning for future generations, it creates a buzz among the community and allows knowledge and initiatives to be shared amongst peers, which can only result in an overall improvement in the region.”

The winner of the inaugural award in 2021 was Joe Vaughan for the work at 100 Hunts Road vineyard.

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