Mornington Peninsula-based family owned winery Crittenden Estate has received one of the world’s most significant awards recognising outstanding sustainable growing practices and wine quality.
Crittenden Estate was named as the overall “platinum” winner of the 2020 BRIT/FIVS International Sustainable Winegrowing Competition, chosen in first place amongst a high calibre field of sustainability-minded wine producers from around the world.
The BRIT/FIVS International Sustainable Winegrowing Competition recognises wine producers taking a leading role in developing and implementing sustainable practices, while building strong connections with their communities and sharing their learnings across the wider wine sector.
Entries are submitted annually from many wine producing countries in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
As part of the award requirements, Crittenden Estate submitted its highly acclaimed 2017 Cri de Coeur Pinot Noir to the judging panel to illustrate the results of their commitment to, and innovation in, sustainable wine growing practices.
BRIT’s president and executive director, Dr. Ed Schneider praised their efforts and the winning Cri de Coeur, stating, “The combination of sustainable programs with the family’s love of the land has produced a wine that is truly outstanding”.
Nine international finalists vied for the top award, with runners up including South Australia’s Henschke Wines, Santa Rosa California’s Jackson Family Wines and Portugal’s Herdade dos Grous.
Since first planting vines at Dromana in 1982, the Crittendens have seldom been far from the forefront of Australian wine, helping to pioneer the Mornington Peninsula wine industry and later introducing new varieties of Italian and Spanish origin to Australian palates.
The past decade have seen Crittenden Estate embrace new ways of caring for their soil, including the abandonment of all chemicals in favour of an innovative program of inter row cropping of peas and oats and a 12-month composting regime that has led to significant improvements in soil health.
Other recent projects include the introduction of bees for the pollination of desirable fruiting trees, reducing greenhouse emissions as well as energy costs by 60 percent with the installation of solar panels, and water reclamation reuse through the property’s water treatment plant.
“As a family business we are focused on taking positive actions today to create a more sustainable platform for our vines to continue providing the fruit that we, and hopefully future family generations, can turn in to exemplary wine for years to come,” said Rollo Crittenden, the Estate’s winemaker.
“To win such a prestigious international award, particularly given the calibre of our fellow entrants is humbling; we are truly passionate about our sustainability and committed to regenerative programmes.
“There is no doubt these efforts are contributing to an increase in the quality of our wines, which is really rewarding. We will continue to push harder with our land care and wine advances for future generations.”