Ahead of the announcement of the winners of the 2016 Australian Women in Wine Awards on Tuesday November 15 (find a celebration event near you) we take a closer look at our fabulous finalists in the Viticulturist of the Year category, so you can get to know your #winechicks!
This year our finalists for Viticulturist of the Year are (in alphabetical order):
Sponsored by Wine Australia
- Jennifer Doyle, Tasmania
- Prue Henschke, Eden Valley SA
- Kate Strachan, Riverland SA
Jennifer Doyle, Tasmania
In wine, Tasmania is my first love. Ice chilled bubbles amidst rugged natural beauty, an empty beach, Smithfield collies!
My viticultural journey began 24 years ago in my home state of NSW. However, my wine compass has been resolutely fixed on a southerly bearing. Whilst my career has seen me traversing cool climate regions of Orange, NSW, Pemberton and Margaret River, WA, the most recent 8 years have found me firmly planted in (and planting!) the Jansz Parish Vineyard, Tasmania.
In work and in life, sustainability and treading lightly on our earth are close to my heart. I began researching alternative methods of managing pests and diseases early in my career, realising the multi-faceted value of protecting and enhancing biological diversity. My 2012 Dr Don Martin Sustainable Viticulture Fellowship study tour further inspired this pathway.
Moving to Tasmania was pivotal, for me representing the ultimate in Australian cool climate viticulture. Here, sparkling wine varieties excel in their expression and my most recently appointed role, Jansz Vigneron, broadens my scope to include winemaking alongside viticulture for Jansz Tasmania sparkling.
Prue Henschke, Eden Valley SA
Prue Henschke is the viticulturist of the 148 year old family winery in Keyneton, in the Barossa’s Eden Valley wine region. She manages 105ha of vineyard, extending from Eden Valley to Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region.
Always an innovator, she has taken on better trellis and soil management in the vineyards using composts and mulches leading to the adoption of organic and biodynamic practices. Prue has used her botanical expertise by establishing native grass swards and nectar-providing native plants for beneficial insects.
Prue has been very involved in developing better access and procedures for vine propagation material for the industry through setting up a National High Health Status Collection and the Australian Standard for Vine Propagation Material.
Prue has been active on a number of industry groups such as the Adelaide Hills Vine Improvement as Chair, the Adelaide Hills Viticulture Committee, and the Barossa Water Allocation Planning Advisory Committee and is a strong campaigner for environmental issues.
Kate Strachan, Riverland SA
Kate is a third generation wine grape and fig producer from Renmark, South Australia. She has been actively involved in the Australian Wine Industry for over 25 years, holding many key industry positions; Technical Viticulturist with Penfolds, Propagation Manager at Southcorp, Viticulturist at Taylors and Vineyard Manager for Knappstein and Petaluma Vineyards. In 2013, she purchased the family property in Renmark.
Kate has also held executive positions with many industry and community groups throughout her career and is a current board member of the Renmark Irrigation Trust. She is committed to promoting sustainable agricultural production systems, improving our natural resource management and supporting the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Kate is also an Agricultural Educator and believes that education at all levels, is the key to long term social, economic and environmental sustainability of our agricultural sector.
Kate holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Diploma in Education and is a single mum to her 16 yr. old son, Dominic.
The announcement of the winners of all six categories of the 2016 Australian Women in Wine Awards will be streamed via live broadcast at 7:30pm AEDST on Tuesday 15 November. Watch live from home or better yet – join a celebration near you or register your own!