ASVO Award recipients are nominated by ASVO-appointed selection committees comprised of individuals who themselves are distinguished in the fields of viticulture and oenology and who demonstrate exceptional leadership ability and vision.

The ASVO Awards for Excellence was supported by Platinum Sponsors AWRI Commercial services & Elders, Gold Sponsors, Braud, CHR Hansen, EcoTrellis, Laffort, Lallemand, & Pellenc. Silver sponsors ABBiotek, BioAG & E.E.Muir & Sons and Partners Australian Grape and Wine Inc, Wine Australia, Winetitles, Wine & Viticulture Journal and Wiley.

The full list of ASVO Award categories and winners are as follows:

ASVO Viticulturist of the yearBen Harris, Wynns Coonawarra Estate
ASVO Winemaker of the YearAlex Cassegrain, Cassegrain Wines
ASVO Viticulture Paper of the YearDr Marcos Bonada, PIRSA-SARDI
ASVO Oenology Paper of the YearDr Martin Moran, Mordrelle Wines
ASVO Dr Peter May Award Dr Meg Whitener, Bell's Brewery, Michigan

2021 Dr Peter May Award

The Dr Peter May Award was introduced in 2018 by the ASVO to honour the late Dr Peter May who was the foundational editor of the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research (AJGWR). The award is presented to the author(s) of the most cited original research paper published in the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research in the previous five years. Dr Meg Whitener, from Bell's Brewery, Michigan, was honoured to receive this award in 2021
Dr Whitener’s paper ‘Effect of non-Saccharomyces yeasts on the volatile chemical profile of Shiraz wine’ , was published in the AJGWR in 2017. The paper reports the results of an investigation into the impact that the non-Saccharomyces yeasts, in sequential inoculation with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, had on the volatile chemical profile of Shiraz wine.

“The Peter May award is wonderfully meaningful recognition of my work in the field of yeast and fermentation and I am incredibly grateful. Knowing my work has attained such a broad reach bring me equal parts joy and humility. Thank you.” Dr Meg Whitener

2021 Viticulture research paper of the Year

The Viticulture and Oenology research papers of the year are conferred annually to authors of exceptional research articles published in the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research. The winners are selected by committees of industry experts based on the potential impact of the research viticultural or oenological practices in Australia. The research paper awards are sponsored by Wiley.

The Viticulture Paper of the Year was awarded to Dr Marcos Bonada, from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australian Research and Development Institute (PIRSA-SARDI), and was titled: ‘Impact of low rainfall during dormancy on vine productivity and development’

The Award Advisory Committee said,

understanding the role of the impact of rainfall has in vine productivity is important. The paper highlighted the importance of soil moisture has in determining the timing of budburst and the vines’ ability to sustain crops. The impact this has for the industry is enormous, as such the paper not only answered some questions viticulturists have but at the same time highlighted what we do not know”.


2021 Oenology research paper of the Year

The Oenology paper of the year was awarded to Dr Martin Moran, from Mordrelle Wines, for the paper “Impact of late pruning and elevated ambient temperature on Shiraz wine chemical and sensory

Dr Moran’s paper was selected by the committee because it demonstrated that late pruning is effective in a warming climate at delaying harvest and reducing vintage compression, while improving wine quality.

"This is the first study of the impact on wine chemical and sensory attributes when using this practice. With climate change and increasing temperature, late pruning may be a good method to adapt in the short-medium term, looking at the impact this will have on the wine is critical. Hopefully this is the first of more studies into the impact on wine of viticultural methods used to adapt to climate change." Award Advisory Committee

2020 ASVO Viticulturist of the year

Ben is the Viticulture Manager at Treasury Wine Estates, based in Coonawarra. This role includes the management of the technical viticulture team for Australia and New Zealand. It also includes overseeing the vineyard operations in Tasmania, Western Australia and New Zealand. Ben has worked in several roles throughout Australia, New Zealand and Bordeaux, which include technical and management roles in McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek, managing the Penfolds vineyard at Robe and managing the Wynns Coonawarra Estate vineyards.

Ben’s vision is to continuously improve vineyard performance and sustainability while protecting the vineyards from biosecurity risks. He wants to leverage the latest R&D, innovation, and technology to create real step change, while also applying the key learnings from the past. Ben is focused on removing one of the biggest challenges which are bridging the gap between R&D and the practical application of the latest knowledge and technology.

“The ASVO plays an important role within the Australian wine community, promoting the best R&D, innovation and assisting the extension of research into practice. Many exceptional viticulturists have won this award in the past and it’s an honour to be nominated as a finalist for the ASVO viticulturist of the year“ Ben Harris


2021 ASVO Winemaker of the year

Alex is the Head Winemaker at Cassegrain Wines in New South Wales. Alex grew up in the vineyard and worked in the Cassegrain family winery, learning hands-on the time-honoured winemaking practices that have been passed down through the generations.
When damage from bush fires threatened the livelihoods of many growers in 2020 Alex stepped up looking for a solution to salvage smoke affected fruit. This involved working with practitioners and researchers trialling various techniques through bucket ferments to enhance the organoleptic properties of wine. The results have led to Alex being part of a million-dollar grant from the Cooperative Research Centres Projects to implement and manage related longer-term projects, which he hopes will add much to the future understanding of the impact of fires in viticultural regions.

“I strongly believe that this award is one for everyone involved in particular to the growers who went through such an ordeal. The idea of leaving grapes on the vine due to something quite unknown wasn’t a solution and that’s where we decided to try anything to see if we could turn a negative into a positive and in some cases we did. I am so proud to be the recipient of this award and it has given me the confidence to always push the boundaries and to continue to be innovative and a big thankyou to the ASVO committee for everything you do for the industry”Alex Cassegrain.