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Italy dominates Old Vine Hero Awards winners

Published:  26 March, 2024

The co-founders of The Old Vine Conference announced the second Old Vine Hero Awards winners yesterday (25 March) via a virtual results webinar, with Italian individuals and organisations dominating the winners list.

Established to recognise the dedication of those working with old vines, this year’s awards comprised five categories: Viticulture, Winemaking, Research, Communication and Commercial Impact. 

A total of 105 nominations were received from 17 countries and judged by an international panel of 15 old vine specialists. The eventual winners were chosen from a shortlist of 16 finalists. 

The winners:

The Old Vine Hero Award 2024 for Viticulture was awarded to professor Carlo Petrussi (pictured) of Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy for a lifetime of work dedicated to old vine preservation including his project documenting all the historic and autochthonous vineyards of Colli Orientali del Friuli. The award was presented by Rosa Kruger, founder and chairperson of The Old Vine Project in South Africa.           

The Old Vine Hero Award 2024 for Winemaking was awarded to Viviana Malafarina of Basilisco, in Basilicata, Italy for her leadership in the transformation of winemaking and viticultural practice in the Basilicata region. The award was presented by Dr Laura Catena, founder of the Catena Institute of Wine, MD of Catena Zapata and winner of the inaugural Old Vine Hero Award in 2023.           

The Old Vine Hero Award 2024 for Research was awarded to Feudi di San Gregorio of Campania, completing a trio of Italian winners, for their research project that centres on the protection of indigenous varietals entitled ‘The Patriarchs’ – a study and catalogue of century-old Aglianico vines from Taurasi. The award was presented by Umay Çeviker, OVC regional ambassador for Turkey and recipient of the IWSC grant for Old Vine research in 2023.          

The Old Vine Hero Award 2024 for Communication was awarded to Randy Caparoso, journalist and photographer based in California, for his extensive written and photographic documentation of old vines in California. The award was presented by Tamlyn Currin, senior editor at

Lastly, the Old Vine Hero Award 2024 for Commercial Impact was awarded to Joel Peterson of Once and Future Wines in the US for his work crafting hundreds of critically acclaimed, vineyard-designated wines and competitively-priced blends from California's oldest vineyards. The award was presented by Sarah Abbott MW, co-founder of The Old Vine Conference.

A special award was announced at the results webinar in recognition of the outstanding work and overall impact on the old vine movement of Derek Mossmann-Knapp of Garage Wine in Chile and founding member of VIGNO. Mossmann-Knapp was shortlisted in the Old Vine Hero Award categories for Viticulture and Winemaking and the total number of nominations and votes he received across the board prompted the presentation of an award for Overall Impact.

Abbott said of that special award: “Derek Mossman-Knapp has been devoted to the native varieties and old vines of Chile for two decades. Derek has elevated the importance of the historical viticultural value of Chile, helping to revive viticultural heritage, foster a proper economy for old vines and raise the profile of lesser valued varieties like Carignan and Semillon. 

“His tireless work and leadership have led to increased economic value of these wine areas and this type of vineyard, reviving the communities in and around Maule and Itata. His contribution to the old vine movement has been impactful on a global scale, inspiring others to follow his example. Recognition for his influence is long overdue and we are extremely proud to recognise Derek’s work with this unprecedented Old Vine Hero Award for Overall Impact.”  

The winners of each category of The Old Vine Hero Awards 2024 will be invited to speak about their work with old vines on a panel at The Old Vine Conference 2024 taking place virtually on the 17 and 18 October. Wines that express the work of the Old Vine Hero Award 2024 winners will be among those shown at a masterclass hosted by Abbott at the London Wine Fair on 22 May.