The 2020 Barossa Winemaker of The Year has been announced as Stuart Bourne from Soul Growers, at the annual Declaration of Vintage held in Tanunda on Sunday 16 February.
Presented by The Wine Fraternity, Barons of Barossa, this award recognizes a winemaker who has made a significant contribution to the industry, producing wines that exhibit the regionality of Barossa grapes, and generously shares their knowledge with others.
The Barons of Barossa was founded in 1975 by a group of influential Barossa wine industry personalities. Membership is by invitation only, offered only to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the Barossa region.
Every year on the third Sunday of February, the Barons gather for the Declaration of Vintage, heralding the official start to the Barossa grape harvest. The unique event begins with the blessing of the first picked grapes, continues with a colourful pageant procession, and with grapes hand-cranked in a 100- year-old press, the juice distributed among the crowd in joyful celebration of the arrival of vintage.
Former winemaker of the year and the Barons’ newly elected Grand Master, Louisa Rose, said “Stuart Bourne is one of the great characters of the Barossa. He is a long-term thinker, always putting the region front and centre. Since he arrived, he has embraced everything Barossa, with strong, positive contributions to the wine industry and to the greater Barossa community.”
Hailing from a grape growing family in the Clare Valley, Stuart has a long history associated with wine and vines, but his passion for winemaking was sparked working part-time hospitality jobs, while studying medical sciences at Adelaide University. After earning a BSc in Pharmacology, Anatomy and Histology, he stayed on to complete an additional degree in Agricultural Science in Oenology.
After gaining extensive experience in wine regions across Australia, Stuart returned to the Barossa Valley in 2001, lured by generational grape growers, the old vines and the history of the region. Accepting his award, Stuart said “Some people say that gold medals make a winemaker, but to be recognised by your peers as Barossa Winemaker of the Year in Australia’s best wine region is truly the greatest accolade a Barossa winemaker can achieve.”
Managing Director of Soul Growers, Paul Heinicke was delighted to hear his colleague and friend had received such a prestigious honour. “Stuart is a true, genuine ambassador for the Barossa,” he said. “He works tirelessly to promote the region, and his passion is infectious. He is a very worthy recipient of this award.”
To read more information about Soul Growers or to purchase their wine online, visit www.soulgrowers.com.