Vanya Cullen and the Cullen family hosted the inaugural Cullen Award For Excellence, an event dedicated to recognising outstanding effort made by an individual, group or organisation to promote or improve wine or winemaking practices in Western Australia, whether they reside in WA, Australia or internationally.
The Award is dedicated to honouring the legacy of Diana Madeline and Kevin John Cullen, who together founded Cullen Wines in 1971 and believed in the potential the fledgling area had to produce world class wines. Their warmth, generosity of spirit and love for others around them was shared with the assembled guests through remembrances from some of their closest friends on the night.
Master of Ceremonies for the evening, local Steve Castan, introduced Ms Libby Mettam MLA and Member for Vasse to open the proceedings, who was there to represent the Premier of WA. Rick Cullen spoke of the legacy of Diana and Kevin and shared with guests handwritten notes from their mother Diana. Vanya Cullen had the honour of introducing and toasting the inaugural winner, James Halliday AM to a standing ovation from the esteemed crowd.
James Halliday began his career as a lawyer, a career in which he excelled, but he also followed his love and passion for winemaking. He earned a stellar reputation as a wine judge and wine writer around the globe and published his first book at the age of 41. Many years, many books and many, many tastings later, James is known as the pre eminent authority on Australian wines and his annual publication, the James Halliday Australian Wine Companion, is considered the ‘bible’ of Australian Wines.
In accepting the Award, James spoke of the ‘perfect’ conditions Margaret River held for winemaking and his ongoing love for the region. He added:
“I am deeply honoured by and appreciative of the award, but am simply a messenger for the winemakers who have so skilfully brought the terroir of their vineyards to life in the glass.”
The Cullen Award for Excellence will be an annual award, culminating in a formal gala dinner to name the recipient. Any enquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.