Corks out for Clayfield – Coonawarra Patron Inducted

The Coonawarra Vignerons announced the induction of the Coonawarra’s newest Patron at the Coonawarra Vignerons Cup Day held last month.

Greg Clayfield has joined an exclusive club, inducted as a Coonawarra Vignerons patron at the esteemed Coonawarra Vignerons Cup on Thursday 12 January. It is an honour handed out to a select few based on sustained commitment to developing the iconic wine region and promoting it at every opportunity.

Greg joins patrons Bruce Redman, Wendy Hollick, Michelle Stebhens (absent) Doug Balnaves and Doug Bowen, bringing with him a resume that is the equal of his fellow patrons

Long-time Coonawarra Winemaker and community member, Greg Clayfield, was awarded the honour in front of an audience of 600 people, acknowledging his years of service and outstanding contributions to the organisation, his promotion of Cabernet and the Coonawarra Wine Region.

Outgoing Coonawarra Vignerons President (2016- 2022), Peter Balnaves highlighted the criteria that qualified Greg for this prestigious accolade, including giving a considerable amount of time, effort and energy into the Coonawarra Region over a long period of time, and going above and beyond the requirements of their own job or business.

“Greg is truly worthy of this accolade, he epitomizes a “can do” attitude with little fuss and fanfare, demonstrating plenty of professionalism and an enthusiasm for the Coonawarra Wine Region” Mr Balnaves said.

“Greg’s involvement in Coonawarra started in 1970 at Lindeman’s. He has held many positions within the Coonawarra Vignerons Association over the years including Chairman of the association” Balnaves added.

Joining a decorated line up of patrons, Greg was humbled to be inducted in such esteemed company, acknowledging the patrons which have come before him, Eric Brand(dec) , Ken Ward (dec), Colin Ross-Smith (dec) , Colin Kidd (Dec), and current patrons Doug Balnaves, Doug Bowen, Wendy Hollick, Bruce Redman and Michelle Stehbens.

President Dan Redman presented the honour to Clayfield who then took to the stage to share some of his career highlights which included winning the highly revered Jimmy Watson Trophy, an award given for the best one or two year old wine in Australia, on two occasions 1981 and 1986, a Gold Medal at the Bordeaux Vinexpo, as well as being hailed as the International Wine and Spirit Competition Winemaker of the year in 1988.

In the mid 2000’s, Greg joined Zema Estate in the Chief Winemaker role. Long time colleague Nick Zema was thrilled the born and bred Coonawarra winemaking icon had been honoured, reflecting on the time Greg spent at Zema Estate as Chief Winemaker.

“Greg’s was the best Coonawarra winemaker of our time as the accolades and recognition he received certainly prove,’ Nick said. “Greg was well known internationally and his ability to market Coonawarra and its wines was well recognised.”
“Greg grew up in Coonawarra and we saw this as a great opportunity to not only allow Greg to get back to what he did so well, but also gave Zema Estate the opportunity to have a winemaker with the experience and knowledge of Coonawarra and its wines like no other,” Nick said

Detailing why Greg was the perfect choice to be the next patron added to the Coonawarra Vignerons

“Greg’s wines were awarded the highest accolades nationally and internationally and as a skilful speaker he was a great ambassador for the Coonawarra region.

“Greg was also extremely active in marketing and promoting Coonawarra through a long association with the Coonawarra Vignerons Association as well as a great contributor to the community having been involved in the racing club, pony club and school boards.”

The Coonawarra Vignerons executive and its members took the opportunity at the Coonawarra Vigneron’s Cup day event to extend its sincere congratulations to Greg on this accolade and welcome him into the ranks as Patron of the Association and the Coonawarra Wine Region.

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