Focus on Australian Women in Wine Awards

2017 AWIWA winners: From left, Virginia Willcock, Sue Hodder, Jennifer Doyle, Ebony Tinkler, Sarah Ahmed of The Wine Detective (honorary Australian woman in wine) and Sarah Collingwood.
2017 AWIWA winners: From left, Virginia Willcock, Sue Hodder, Jennifer Doyle, Ebony Tinkler, Sarah Ahmed of The Wine Detective (honorary Australian woman in wine) and Sarah Collingwood.

WOMEN, like Hunter winemakers Liz Jackson and Gwyn Olsen, viticulturist Liz Riley, Tulloch CEO Christina Tulloch, marketing dynamo Lisa McGuigan and numerous others throughout Australia, are wine industry high achievers.

The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society, however, is not satisfied and believes female participation in the industry is way too low. Spurred by figures showing that in some areas, notably winemaking and viticulture, the number of women was as small as 8 to 10 per cent, the society in 2015 established the Australian Women in Wine Awards (AWIWA).

Aimed at increasing gender diversity and providing female role models, the awards are in their fourth year and nominations are open for the 2018 Winemaker of the Year, Viticulturist of the Year, Owner/Operator of the Year, Marketer of the Year, Workplace Champion of Change, Researcher of the Year, Cellar Door Person and Woman of Inspiration titles. Last year’s awards were presented at a ceremony attended by 60 Australian Women in Wine members at Australia House in London.

As marketer of the year Ebony Tinkler, owner and manager of the Usher Tinkler Wines tasting rooms, cellar door and salumi and cheese bar in Pokolbin was among the eight winners. This year, winners will be announced in Sydney on November 16 at the Quay Restaurant. In conjunction will be an inaugural Women in Wine Symposium featuring leading speakers and discussion panels.

The wine reviewed below all come from women winemakers who have won plaudits for the major brand wines they produce. The Accolade group’s Tasmanian Bay of Fires wines are made by Hobart-born Penny Jones, who graduated as dux from the University of Adelaide winemaking course in 2004. A 2016 Len Evans Tutorial scholar, she worked at Petaluma in the Adelaide Hills for 10 years and did a US vintage in Oregon before returning to Tasmania in 2013 and subsequently becoming Bay of Fires winemaker-manager.

The Orange-based Cumulus company’s wines are made by senior winemaker Debbie Lauritz, an Adelaide University oenology graduate and self-confessed “cool-climate junkie”, having made wine in Alsace in France, Marlborough in NZ, Niagara in Canada and Sonoma in California and in Orange for the past 10 years. Rebecca Willson is winemaker at the Bremerton venture founded in 1988 by her parents. She gained a Roseworthy marketing degree in 1991-92 and a winemaking degree in 2001. She was a 2001 and 2003 Wine Society Young Winemaker award finalist and a 2004 Evans Tutorial scholar.



WITH 13.5% alcohol, the Climbing 2015 Orange Cabernet Sauvignon, has purple-tinted crimson hues, ju jube and tobacco leaf scents and ripe blackberry front-palate flavour. The middle palate has rhubarb, licorice, mint and mocha oak characters and the finish displays ferric tannins. Get it at and bottle shops. PRICE: $25. DRINK WITH: chicken cacciatore. AGEING: five years.

RATING: 4 stars


THIS big 15%-alcohol Bremerton 2014 Old Adam Shiraz is inky purple and has fruitcake aromas and rich, ripe plum front-palate flavour. Cassis, dark chocolate, cloves and nutty oak meld on the middle palate and spearminty tannins play at the finish. Get it at, wine shops and the Strathalbyn Rd, Langhorne Creek, cellar door PRICE: $56. DRINK WITH: osso bucco. AGEING: 12 years.

 RATING: 5 stars


WITH lovely balance, the Bay of Fires 2016 Tasmania Chardonnay is green-tinted straw and has scents of lemon curd and vanilla and elegant white peach front-palate flavour. Dragon fruit, cumquat, shortbread and creamy oak show on the middle palate and the finish has mineral-edged acid. It’s at and in wine shops. PRICE: $45. DRINK WITH: scallops. AGEING: 10 years.

RATING: 5 stars