2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards | Vanya Cullen named winemaker of the year

Cullen Wines winemaker Vanya Cullen has been named Winemaker of the Year at the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards.
Cullen Wines winemaker Vanya Cullen has been named Winemaker of the Year at the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards.

Vanya Cullen has been named Winemaker of the Year at the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion Awards.

Respected wine writer James Halliday and his tasting panel find Australia's best wines and winemakers every year to be featured in his Halliday Wine Companion guide.

The Cullen Wines winemaker, who is based in Wilyabrup in the heart of Margaret River's wine region, said she was honoured to receive the award and was so happy when she found out.

"It ties in with my 30th year as a senior wine grower at Cullen Wines, I feel really happy and really happy for the team here as well," she said.

"I am the face, if you like, but it is a whole team of people including the vineyard guys Matt Dermody, Andy Barrett-Lennard and everyone.

"I am really happy for all of Cullen Wines."

Ms Cullen said she was surprised when James Halliday phoned her because it was not often she got to speak with him.

"I thought, what is James calling me for," she said.

"It was so incredible - it was the best call I had all week - it was completely out of the blue, the surprise of it was really great.

"I just feel so honoured because from James, he just knows so much about the industry, it is such a privilege I am really grateful."

Ms Cullen said Mr Halliday was the most recognised wine writer in Australia who gave up so much of his time to the Australian wine industry.

"He is so generous and his depth of knowledge about wine is extraordinary."

Ms Cullen said the award was an acknowledgement of the quality of wines they made sustainably, which was great because they were a bio-dynamic winery.

"There has always been a bit of a tagline that you have to be organic except the spots on the apple, but this is acknowledgement of that belief you actually make better quality wines," she said.

"That comes from having better balanced soils, balanced wines and balanced roots where you do not have to add anything to it."

Cullen Wines has transformed into a completely biodynamic winery by adopting programs to eliminate chemical use on their property.

Requiring financial investment and hard work, the program has saved the equivalent of 9042 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Cullen Wines started implementing programs six years and now the quality of their fruit an soil has improved so much they no longer add anything to manipulate the wines.

Ms Cullen said their wines were completely natural without chemicals.

"I do not think there is anything made quite like it anywhere. They taste of the land and they are energetically of the land," she said.

"They talk about vibration of the land and wine, because there is nothing added or taken away from them they are very much as natural as they get - made by nature - literally."

Related content

This story Vanya Cullen named Winemaker of the Year at the Halliday Wine Companion Awards first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.