Former Qantas air-hostess turned winemaker, wine merchant and wine educator Gill Gordon-Smith has been named as the 2017 Wine Communicator of the Year.

The annual WCA Wine Communicator Awards recognise outstanding contribution to, and excellence in, wine communication in all its forms.

Gordon-Smith was Australia’s first Certified Specialist of Wine and is constantly working on expanding the range of wine qualifications offered in South Australia, building the TAFE SA Wine and Beverage Specialist School into the state’s leading centre for professional certifications in wine, spirits and sommelier skills.

The Award Judges said: “Gill’s extensive experience and reputation in delivering tailored wine education across the industry is remarkable. Her foundation of technical qualifications is underpinned by a continual interest and drive to stay abreast of new and emerging trends and developments in wine.

“Particularly admirable is her ‘growth mindset’ – working on the premise that there are no failures, and openly sharing failures and successes with students.”

In total 10 award winners were named and Chief Executive of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, Tony Battaglene, congratulated all the winners.

“These prestigious awards recognise those who have achieved outstanding success in that important field of communication to the consumer,” he said

“This year’s list of finalists include some of our own members, staff and partners and the showcase of their work clearly demonstrates why these awards have quickly become a highly sought after industry accolade.

“All the winners and finalists have been outstanding in their fields and I congratulate them.

Battaglene added: “To our members St Hugo, who won Best Wine Public Relations Campaign, and Justine Henschke, for Best Wine Website/Wine App – take a bow, well done.

“Congratulations also go to the Federation’s Network Partner and publisher, Grape Grower and Winemaker Magazine – a very worthy winner.

“I am particularly proud that Alison Laslett, Manager of Communications at WFA, has been recognised as Best Digital Wine Communicator.

“WFA has worked hard to improve the way we engage with our members, the broader wine industry and decision-makers over the last 18 months. This includes intensifying our use of various digital platforms and matching our messaging to those formats so we are keeping pace with how the wine community wants to receive information. Alison has been instrumental in managing this new direction.

“WFA is embracing the fast-paced change in digital communications and we’re well-placed to ensure these platforms help us to deliver more value for our members.”

The WCA Award winners are:

  • Wine Communicator of the Year 2017 – Gill Gordon-Smith
  • Best Wine Public Relations Campaign (Individual or Team) – Pernod Ricard Winemakers Brand Communications Team, St Hugo Cellar Door
  • Best Wine Publication (Technical & Trade) – Grape Grower & Winemaker Magazine – Elizabeth Bouzoudis
  • Best Wine Publication (Consumer) – Gourmet Traveller WINE – Judy Sarris
  • Best Wine Book (Consumer) – Australian Wine styles and taste * people and places – Patrick Iland
  • Best Wine Website / Wine App – Henschke Wines – Justine Henschke
  • Best Digital Wine Communicator – Ali Laslett
  • Best Featured Article or Wine Column – Morgan Dunn
  • Best Wine Educator – Gill Gordon-Smith
  • Best New Wine Writer – Pippa Merrett – The Art of Wine Writing

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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