BRYAN Currie, Hunter-based chief winemaker for the Hungerford Hill, Sweetwater Estate and Dalwood brands, has been selected as one of three finalists in the sixth annual Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) Winemaker of the Year award.
The other 2018 finalists announced by ASVO president Dr Tony Robinson are Corrina Wright, winemaker for McLaren Vale’s Oliver’s Taranga operation, and Coonawarra wine industry stalwart Pete Bissell.
Bryan Currie came to the Hunter in 2016 to join the burgeoning wine arm of hotelier and developer Sam Arnaout’s Iris Capital group. A Charles Sturt University winemaking degree graduate, he spent 18 years at Calabria Wines, during which he was chief winemaker. He then joined McWilliam’s at Griffith as premium labels winemaking manager before taking up his present post.
His selection as an ASVO finalist recognised Mr Currie’s work leading the first plantings of southern Italian grape varieties, such as nero d’Avola, aglianico and montepulciano, in the NSW Riverina – wines which have now gained critical acclaim nationally and internationally. ASVO also noted his promotion of grape varieties suited to their regional climate that require less winemaking intervention and express more clearly their region and personality.
The ASVO Winemaker of the Year and Viticulturist of the Year winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony and dinner on November 13 at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide.
The 2017 Viticulturist of the Year was Liz Riley, the owner and operator of the Hunter Valley-based Vitibit viticultural consultancy.