Crowd joins to witness blessing and declaration of 2019 Barossa grapes

The wine fraternity Barons of Barossa on Sunday morning named the 2019 Barossa Winemaker of the Year and the Barossa Vigneron of the Year at the traditional Declaration of Vintage held in Tanunda.

The annual event also included the announcement of Barossa Grape, Wine and Association’s Services to Industry award which went to Mike McCarthy.

These awards reflect the respect each men are held in by their peers.

Winemaker of the Year was awarded to Tim Smith.

“I’m humbled to be chosen to be part of this lineage of truly great winemakers,” he said.

“I’m not a fourth or fifth generation Barossa winemaker, in fact, I’m only here because I fortuitously landed a vintage job at Yalumba 33-years-ago, leading me on a completely unexpected and exciting path.”

Earning his Barossa pedigree over years of working alongside some of the region’s finest winemakers, he acknowledges their influence on his approach to winemaking; accessing great vineyards, timely picking, a light hand in the winery and a sensibility for tradition.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the greatest winemakers in the world here, all of who have been generous with their time and their knowledge.”

According to Mr Smith, being part of the ‘handing down’ of experience, both locally and through his extensive travel, is all part of the continuum that is the unique Barossa culture.

Vigneron of the Year was awarded to Ben Zander, Eden Valley.

Mr Zander is a fourth generation Eden Valley grape grower managing the family mixed vineyard and grazing property as well as a contracting enterprise.

With a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture from Roseworthy and a stint as SA Viticulturist for Pernod Ricard, he has first hand knowledge of what it takes to achieve best practice viticulture across all aspects of vineyard management.

“There are numerous issues facing grape growers,” he said.

“It’s important for us to communicate with each other as we strive to understand and adapt to the current grape growing environment and adopt new principles for future sustainability.”