Finalists announced for 2020 ASVO Viticulturist of the Year

Image: 2019 ASVO VOTY winner Kerry De Garis

The Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) Awards for excellence has, since 2012, recognised the achievements of dedicated and professional individuals in the wine industry. The ASVO is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2020 ASVO Viticulturist of the year award: Ben Harris, Dr Mark Krstic and Suzanne McLoughlin.

The finalists were selected by a committee of ASVO members chaired by 2018 ASVO Viticulturist of the Year, Colin Bell. “The top four nominations all showed a level of innovation and community contribution that is essential of an ASVO Viticulturist of the Year. It was exciting for the committee to learn more about all the nominees, and it was exceedingly hard to select a winner. We want to congratulate everyone nominated and thank you for reinforcing our appreciation of the hard work, passion and commitment in our sector” said Colin.

ASVO president Brooke Howell said, “The Australian wine industry is extremely fortunate to have many highly engaged, skilled, professional individuals who are willing to contribute for the greater good of the community. These professionals inspire others to seek out and adopt innovative practices to ensure the longevity of our businesses and industry. The calibre of finalists this year is outstanding, and I congratulate them all on their achievements”

The winners of the ASVO Awards for excellence will be announced on Tuesday November 17.

2020 ASVO Viticulturist of the Year finalists:

Ben Harris

Ben is the viticulture manager for Treasury Wine Estates. This role includes the management of the technical viticulture team for Australia and New Zealand. It also includes overseeing the vineyard operations in Tasmania, Western Australia and New Zealand.

Ben was born and raised in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, where he commenced his involvement in the wine industry in 1993. With an interest in wine and agriculture Ben went on to complete a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Viticultural Science) at the University of Adelaide.

He has since worked in several roles throughout Australia, New Zealand and Bordeaux, which include technical and management roles in McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek, managing the Penfolds vineyard at Robe and managing the Wynns Coonawarra Estate vineyards

Ben is also a wine show judge. Viticulturists have the potential to educate and influence practices required to achieve desired Australian wine styles and quality. Ben believes wine shows provide a platform for viticulturists to participate in conversations on wine style and the improvement of Australian wine.

“The ASVO plays an important role within the Australian wine community, promoting the best R&D, innovation and assisting the extension of research into practice. Many exceptional viticulturists have won this award in the past and it’s an honour to be nominated as a finalist for the ASVO viticulturist of the year,” said Ben.

Mark Krstic

Mark Krstic is the managing director of the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). Mark has more than 23 years of experience in viticulture research, R&D leadership and executive management.

He holds undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Agricultural Science from the University of Tasmania and an MBA from Mt Eliza/Queensland University.

Mark commenced his career in viticulture R&D at CSIRO, Merbein, where he conducted research on grapevine physiology, crop development and yield estimation. Since that time he has worked in key viticulture roles at the Victorian Government’s Department of Primary Industries, the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (now Wine Australia) and the AWRI, leading a range of R&D initiatives.

Mark currently chairs the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference Inc., is a past president of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) and graduate of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Wine Industry Future Leaders Program (2010). He has played a key role in smoke taint research and emergency response since 2006 and recently co-authored a book on soil health Healthy soils for healthy vines (CSIRO Publishing) with Professor Bob White. He is extremely passionate about the grape and wine sector and the outcomes science can deliver.

“I’ve always been fascinated by all aspects of innovation in the viticulture and how that can influence what we are able to taste in the glass. I am honoured to be nominated by my peers as an ASVO viticulturist of the year finalist” said Mark

Suzanne McLoughlin

Suzanne McLoughlin joined Vinehealth Australia in July 2016 as Technical Manager. In her current role, she is responsible for the provision of technical specialist biosecurity advice to industry and SA government. For industry, this includes the development, analysis and communication of technical knowledge, policies, practices and initiatives relating to biosecurity and general vine health. For SA government, this includes providing technical advice on all wine industry biosecurity-related matters under the SA Plant Quarantine Standard and providing technical expertise into response activities for quarantine-related incidents, incident tracing and vineyard surveillance.

Suzanne brings 20 years of industry experience to Vinehealth Australia, gained across a range of technical viticulture and grower relations roles for commercial winegrowing operations. Her previous role was Viticulturist – Sustainability at Treasury Wine Estates (TWE). In this role, Suzanne’s key responsibilities included managing biosecurity issues across TWE’s supply chain, agrochemical compliance and leadership and mentoring of their Technical Viticulture Team.

Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Agricultural Science (by Research) from the University of Adelaide.

“I’m incredibly honoured to be recognised by my peers for work that they perceive to hold value in contributing to the long term sustainability of our wine industry” said Suzanne.

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