Peter Dry, the viticulturist, teacher, researcher, editor and writer has been announced as the winner of the 2014 Maurice O’Shea Award.

Dry was announced as the winner of the 2014 Award on Wednesday at the Adelaide Convention Centre. 

Held every two years, the Maurice O’Shea Award recognises an individual or group for their outstanding contribution to the wine industry. 

McWilliam’s CEO Rob Blackwell said the award was fitting recognition for Dry’s long and illustrious career.

“Peter’s contribution to the wine industry, through his research, teaching positions and industry roles, has been significant. There are few winemakers and viticulturists who have not been touched in some way by his work. I congratulate Peter on receiving this award and thank him on behalf of the industry for his substantial contribution to the Australian wine industry.”

Dry began his career in 1970 when he took up a research officer position in Loxton with the South Australian Department of Agriculture. After five years, he moved to Roseworthy College as a lecturer, not just in viticulture, but in biology, plant pathology, microbiology and sensory evaluation.

It was at Roseworthy, in the early 1980s, that Peter and Richard Smart developed the first climatic classification for Australian viticultural regions. They also recommended a widening of the range of varieties being planted in Australia across the various regions. 

When Roseworthy College merged with the University of Adelaide in 1990, Peter’s work began to focus more on research.

It was during the 1990s that Peter worked with Dr Brian Loveys from CSIRO, conducting the research that led to the development of partial rootzone drying. This revolutionary irrigation technique allowed grapes, as well as other crops, to be grown using half the amount of water previously required.

Dry was awarded a PhD from the University of Adelaide for this research, and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering recognised this development as one of the 100 most important technological innovations of the 20th Century in Australia.

He retired from the University of Adelaide in 2008, but has continued to work as a viticultural consultant with the Australian Wine Research Institute, presenting at countless seminars, workshops, and continuing to produce publications.

Dry has authored more than 270 publications, as well editing some of the most well-known books on viticulture in Australia.

In 2012, he was inducted as only the sixth Fellow of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology, recognising his long career in teaching and research.

McWilliam’s chairman Jeff McWilliam said the award could not have gone to a more fitting recipient.

“Peter’s impact on the Australian wine industry has been monumental. This award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to the wine industry and Peter has done just that, helping to shape the face of how viticulture is practiced in Australia.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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