Rollo Crittenden of Crittenden Estate has been awarded the Dr Allan Antcliff Vineyard of the Year Award for 2023.
The award – presented by Mornington Peninsula Wine – acknowledges the work of exceptional viticulturists and their commitment to environmental excellence.
It is in recognition of principal research scientist in vine physiology and ampelography, Dr Allan Antcliff AM, whose work was pivotal to the development of the Australian wine industry.
The judging panel led by Dr Samantha Scarratt praised Crittenden for his approach to soil ecology through extensive compost research and development and to provide the balance and biodiversity necessary for a thriving ecosystem.
Crittenden focuses heavily on the bacteria and fungi present in compost to support the health in the soil and root systems, putting nutrients back into soil that is depleted during the growing and ripening phase.
“What set Crittenden apart in a very close competition, was its extensive research into, and application of, different practices in the vineyard. It is something the team there have been doing for quite a while now with excellent results,” Scarratt says.
“Overall, I was extremely impressed with the level of the submissions and excited for the future in the Mornington Peninsula.
“Through my work, I have travelled to many wine regions and looking through the lens of the six vineyards judged, it feels there is a young vibrant wine community that is taking a very mindful approach to viticulture.”
Rollo says, “Going through the submission process was immensely beneficial to Crittenden as it gave us the opportunity to pause and reflect on every aspect of our viticultural process.
“The interaction with the three judges, given their wealth of collective experience, has brought great value to our business, and resulted in further consideration and evolution of our processes.
“To be recognised through the Dr Allan Antcliff award was unexpected but very much appreciated and we look forward to sharing our learnings to the greater benefit of all Mornington Peninsula grapegrowers.”
Other finalists were Quealy Winemakers and Portsea Estate.
Mornington Peninsula Wine CEO Olivia Barrie says the region has a dedicated focus on sustainability and on growing for the future.
“We want to ensure we are at the forefront of sustainable winegrowing and caring for our local environment,” she says.
“By rewarding and naming those that are doing a great job out there in the vineyards, planning for future generations, it creates a buzz among the community and allows knowledge and initiatives to be shared amongst peers, which can only result in an overall improvement in the region.”
The award is supported by benefactors and founders of the wine industry on the Mornington Peninsula, Sarah and the late Bails Myer.