2018 Viticulturist of the Year

The Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2018 ASVO viticulturist of the year award.

The ASVO Awards for excellence are now in their 6th year and continue to grow. ASVO President Dr Tony Robinson said the awards recognise the achievements of some of the most dedicated and professional individuals in the wine industry.

Liz Riley 2017 viticulturist of the year and now chair of the selection committee, comprising industry body, research community and state representatives, said “the 2018 ASVO awards saw the entire industry be asked to submit nominations across all categories. It was pleasing to see a diverse field of viticulturist nominated from across the country, it included small and large business, corporates and independents, male and female candidates. It took some effort for the panel to select a short list and the further selection of finalists was very difficult. All the finalists should be very proud to have reached this stage of the process. The challenge in making the selections was very heartening, as it reflects the depth of talent in the viticultural sector of the Australian Wine Industry as well as the next generation who are following behind.”

“As an industry, we are fortunate to have many very skilled and professional people who are contributing significantly to the wine community, inspiring those around them to seek out and adopt innovative practices. The quality of this year’s finalists is absolutely outstanding, and I congratulate each of them on their achievements to date,” Dr Robinson said.

Winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony and dinner on November 13th at the Adelaide Wine Centre.


Colin Bell – Colin is a Viticulturist and Director of AHA Viticulture in Western Australia. Colin completed the Future Leader program in 2010 and is now Deputy Chair of Wines of Western Australia and a Director of Australian Vignerons. Colin said “It’s easy to imagine innovators as minds working on complex projects like genetic clone identification and dynamics of anthocyanin and flavonol profiles but viticultural practises are also complex; there is no standard that if applied in all situations will achieve the same results. Practises need to be challenged, results need to be reviewed, learnings must be communal, innovation is a way of life.” Colin generously shares his knowledge in every interaction with the wine industry.”Western Australia is remote and I have made an effort to connect our community to the wider wine industry” said Colin “It’s important the shared learning goes both ways across the Nullarbor.”
Kerry DeGaris – Kerry is chair of the Technical Sub Committee of the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council Inc. and has been instrumental in getting a better understanding of challenges such as eutypa, Iron bacteria & Cabernet Berry Shrivel in the region. Kerry’s passion for locally targeted research has resulted in the Best Practice manual and fact sheets that have been distributed locally to grapegrowers and irrigators and featured nation wide on ABC rural hourwith calls received from interested researchers across Australia. Kerry supports and promotes the dissemination of research inviting PhD students from Adelaide University to present to growers in the region. “This was an innovative formula” said Kerry “students could develop potential research topics and growers could form relationships with up coming researchers”.
Nick Dry – Nick is the Nursery Manager and Viticulturist at Yalumba Nursery, Barossa, South Australia. Nick joined the Yalumba Nursery team in 2008 and during this time has honed his skills to ensure that customers have access to the best quality scion and rootstock material for their vineyards as well as the best quality information from which to make decisions. Nick strives to continuously improve practices across both the production and customer service aspects of the business with the knowledge that high quality planting material and high quality information on the performance of clones and rootstocks has a direct benefit to the competitiveness of the Australian Wine industry. Nick is a member of the Vine Industry Nursery Association.