Vanya Cullen says she is “honoured, humbled and excited” to accept the Order of Australia (OAM) for her services to viticulture and oenology, honouring the legacy of her parents Diana Madeline and Kevin John Cullen.
In 1994 her father, Dr Kevin John Cullen, was awarded the Order of Australia for his services to medicine and wine and in 1999, her mother, Diana Madeline Cullen, was awarded an Order of Australia for her services to viticulture and wine.
Vanya says that being selected on the first King’s Birthday 2023 Honours list is “particularly serendipitous and joyful”, knowing that King Charles III, a green visionary, has supported organics, biodynamics, trees and sustainability in general, against the odds, for decades.
This year is also Diana Madeline’s 100th birthday and she was a great royalist.
“So she would be happy,” Vanya says.
Vanya sees it as being an endorsement for the important issue of climate change and land care and how you can make great wine and look after the land and the planet at the same time and is thrilled by this.
She has worked full time at Cullen Wines since 1983, with her mother Diana Madeline, and took the reins on her passing in 2003.
Vanya has transformed the family business into one of Australia’s most successful and environmentally sustainable wine estates.
Diana used to say “quality not quantity” and Cullen Wines’ philosophy is given meaning by the three words quality, integrity and sustainability.
Cullen Wines have been minimal chemical farmed since beginning in 1971, organic since 1998, certified organic since 2003 and certified biodynamic since 2005 and was the first winery in Australia to be certified 100 percent carbon neutral in 2006, voluntarily offsetting emissions by planting trees in the Yarra Yarra biodiversity corridors at $25,000 per year.
Making great wine sustainably with authentic credentials is what Vanya considers her greatest achievement and it has been a blessing for her to strive to make wine in this way for the past 40 plus years on such beautiful Wadandi country in Wilyabrup, Margaret River wine region.
She is grateful to family, friends and colleagues who have helped her on the way and congratulates other winners of the awards.
Vanya also acknowledges the traditional custodians the Wadandi people with respect on whose land the wines are made elders past, present and emerging.