2010 Mcwilliam's Maurice O'shea Award Winner Announced

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20th October 2010, 09:00am - Views: 768
Beacon Of Australian Winemaking Named 2010 Mcwilliam's Maurice O'Shea Award Winner

20 October 2010

Philip Laffer, Group Chief Winemaker for Orlando Wines and leading light of Australian winemaking, research and development, received the wine industry's most prestigious award last night, the 2010 McWilliam's Maurice O'Shea Award.

Mr. Laffer was presented with the award in front of 300 guests at a gala dinner in Melbourne last night. The award recognises a career that has spanned almost fifty years and a life dedicated to developing, improving and perfecting the art of winemaking.

The McWilliams Maurice OShea Award honours the memory of legendary McWilliams Wines winemaker, the late Maurice OShea, and is presented to an individual, institute or corporation who has made a historically significant contribution to the Australian Wine Industry.

McWilliams Wines Chief Executive Officer, George Wahby said Mr. Laffer was recognised for contributions to winemaking that go beyond that of a winemaker.

"Whats remarkable about Philip is that his dedication to winemaking transcends what is expected from a winemaker, for him the wine industry is a lifestyle and he is a tremendous ambassador for that," says Mr. Wahby. "His dedication to his craft and vision for Australian wine has undoubtedly spearheaded the success of Australian wine domestically and abroad."

While studying Agriculture and Oenology, Mr. Laffer worked his inaugural vintage in 1959 and by 1963 had commenced his first winemaking job with Lindemans. Mr. Laffer moved through the ranks to the position of Executive Director Operations and Chief Winemaker at Lindemans before joining Orlando Wines in 1990. Starting as Production Director for Orlando Wines, Mr. Laffer has also held the position of Director of Viticulture and Winemaking before progressing to his current role as Chief Winemaker.

Mr. Laffers interest in research and development began in the 1970s when he joined the Council of the Australian Wine Research Institute. He has remained deeply involved in research management and design as Chairman of the Council (1983 1991), Board Member of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Council (1986 2003), Convener and Board Member of the Cooperative Research Centre of Viticulture (1998 2005), along with numerous advisory positions, most recently the WFA Wine Innovation Policy Committee. In 2002, Mr. Laffer was named Australias Winemaker of the Year.

A winemaker at heart, Mr. Laffers greatest achievement has been in producing exceptional quality, highly appealing and very distinguished large wine brands. To make reliable, well crafted and stylistically attractive wines in quantities that no other country in the world has been able to match requires a particular dedication, discipline and authority.

"I'm especially proud of Jacob's Creek and where we have taken it over the past 20 years," says Mr. Laffer. "And, whilst it's now many years ago, I remain equally proud of what we achieved at Lindemans with, for that time, large volume quality products."

Mr. Laffer owes his introduction to winemaking to his father, Len Laffer, and said he shares the 2010 McWilliam's Maurice O'Shea Award with the many talented winemakers with whom he has had the good fortune to work.

"I have worked for and with many exceptional winemakers, mostly better than myself and from them I've been able to accumulate and absorb a wealth of winemaking knowledge and hopefully applied some of it. It's really with these people that I share any recognition and rewards I have been lucky enough to receive along the way," a humble Mr. Laffer said.

Mr. Philip Laffer lives in Sydney and is as keen as ever to continue his work as guardian of Orlando Wines extensive portfolio and as ,,the face of Orlandos winemaking.

"I remain as enthusiastic, optimistic, encouraged, interested and fascinated as I was 50 years ago; it's a wonderful industry, a wonderful career and a wonderful way to live," adds Mr. Laffer.

For further information or hi-res images please contact:
Katherine Morgan from McWilliams Wines on 0407 708 508 or email [email protected]

SOURCE: McWilliam's Wines

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