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Fellows of New Zealand Winegrowers announced for 2021

Published:  03 December, 2021

The New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has unveiled the recipients of its Fellows award, which recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the New Zealand wine industry.

NZW said that the 2021 NZW Fellows are a group of “highly respected and influential individuals” who have helped to shape the New Zealand wine industry. 

It said that all the 2021 Fellows have worked over many decades for the “betterment of the wine industry.”

Fellows were given to Steve Smith MW for service to NZW, Wine Institute of New Zealand, and other initiatives; John Clarke for service to NZW and New Zealand Grape Grower’s Council (NZGGC); Andy Frost for service to national research; Rudi Bauer for service to New Zealand Pinot Noir, and Daniel and Adele Le Brun for service to New Zealand bottle fermented sparkling wine.

NZW said that Steve Smith was the first viticulturist in the world to become a Master of Wine, co-founded and steered Craggy Range for 16 years, and launched wine brand Smith & Sheth five years ago. It described him as paying an “influential role” in all facets of the wine industry, from Research Viticulturalist for the Ministry of Agriculture including being a founding chairman of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers, Board Member of NZW and chair of Pinot Noir 2007.

NZW said that Gisborne grape grower and former mayor John Clarke has represented New Zealand’s wine industry through numerous governance roles including Gisborne Winegrowers, NZGGC and NZW Board. 

It described new Fellow Andy Frost as playing an “integral role in many major wine research projects, including the multi-million-dollar Sauvignon Blanc programme that transformed the industry’s understanding of its key export variety”.

While founder of Quartz Reef, Austrian-born Rudi Bauer was described as making an “extraordinary contribution” to his adopted nation, having pioneered the Bendigo subregion, helped forge a reputation for Central Otago wines, and nurtured conversations about Pinot Noir, Central Otago, organic viticulture, and the place of winegrowing in New Zealand culture.

Daniel and Adele Le Brun were described as “pioneers” of Méthode Traditionelle in Marlborough. 

NZW chief executive Philip Gregan said: “The work of these individuals enables a small industry like ours to punch above our weight on the world stage, and we wholeheartedly thank them for their efforts.”