By Amy Looker

It has been a week of big wins for the Australian wine industry, with Neil McGuigan, general manger of production and winemaking for Australian Vintage Limited (AVG), receiving the award for International White Winemaker of the Year at the 2009 International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London.

AVG also took out an award for its Nepenthe Ithaca Chardonnay, which won Best Chardonnay in the World at the 2009 Decanter World Wine Awards.

AVG chief executive officer, Dane Hudson, said the wins were a welcome sign for the Australian wine industry, which has copped flak recently from overseas wine critics for being ‘cheap, cheerful and industrial’.

“This is an enormous boost for Australian wine at a time when some critics have been knocking the quality of what the Australian industry produces," he said. "To win the top award against competition from the best winemakers in France, Italy, the USA and the rest of the world is a remarkable achievement.”

Neil McGuigan said that the award was a huge coup not only for McGuigan Wines but for Australian winemakers as a whole.

“It is a great honour to win this prestigious international accolade. I accept it on behalf of our talented and dedicated winemakers who work tirelessly in producing outstanding wines at all price points,” he said.

“The Australian wine industry must continue to evolve its wines so that they are relevant in taste, style and value to meet expectations of the domestic and international consumer. This great award reaffirms our strategy but it is only the start of things to come.”

Peter Lehman was also recognised at the IWC, receiving a Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution to the wine industry over the past 62 years.

He established his Barossa Valley-based winery in the late 1970s in a bid to protect local growers from financial ruin.

Since then, Peter Lehman Wines has grown to be one of the Barossa’s leading producers, working with over 160 growers to make some of Australia’s best wines.

The Shout Team

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

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