Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi of Ballandean Estate on Queensland’s Granite Belt has been honoured with the prestigious Samuel Bassett Award at the Queensland Wine Awards. Leeanne is the third Puglisi family member to receive the award, which recognises a major contribution by an individual to the Queensland wine industry.
“I am truly humbled by this. To stand in the company of industry greats such as Terry Morris from Sirromet and my wine pioneer parents is awe-inspiring. Educating national and international consumers about the quality of Queensland wines is what drives me. That and expanding on my family’s legacy to the Granite Belt,’ said Puglisi-Gangemi.
Leanne Puglisi-Gangemi with the Samuel Bassett Award
Her father Angelo Puglisi, Ballandean Estate’s founder and industry pioneer was presented with the inaugural Basset award in 2003. Estate Matriarch Mary Puglisi was the first female to be recognised for her contribution to the Queensland wine industry with this award in 2015. Estate manager and sister Robyn Puglisi-Henderson collected the award on Leeanne’s behalf in Brisbane on Tuesday 4 September.
“We just live and breathe fine wine! It’s great to see Leeanne recognised for her advocacy. She’s worked tirelessly as an industry ambassador for decades.
“I picked up the award on her behalf, as Leeanne was at a board meeting of Australian Grape and Wine in Adelaide. This is yet another place where she is the voice of Queensland wine, making sure we are not forgotten.
“Leeanne loves a chat at the cellar door, as she does the opportunity to talk strategic Australian wine industry direction with politicians and industry heavyweights.”
Ballandean Estate has a rich history of empowered women in wine. Business and Export Manager Robyn Puglisi-Henderson developed the export trade from zero to 20% of business turnover in just five years, and has opened up export trade to China, where there is significant demand for Ballandean’s premium reds.
Leeanne and Robyn’s grandmother Josephine was a true Australian pioneer and business woman. Arriving in Australia from Sicily at just 12 years of age, she went on to build the foundation of Ballandean Estate with her father and husband over four decades. She stared down the Australian army demanding to put her husband and father in internment camps and surrender of farm machinery during World War 2, and instead, she negotiated a deal to supply their crops to feed the Army as an alternative.
At just 19 years of age, estate matriarch and wine pioneer Mary Puglisi visualised opening a cellar door and being the catalyst for Queensland’s Barossa and Hunter Valley on the Granite Belt with husband Angelo Puglisi. She spent 50 years building the Granite’s Belt’s thriving tourism industry.
Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi was recently voted onto the Winemaker’s Federation board, and is Queensland’s first female voice and vote.
The Bassett Award is named after wine industry pioneer Samuel Bassett who established Bassett’s Winery at Roma in 1863 and went on to win many medals for his wines, including 10 of the 11 awarded at the 1901 Royal Brisbane Show.