Dr Catherine Kidman named 2023 ASVO Viticulturist of the Year

Known for her unwavering commitment to research and dedication to sustainable practices, all while fostering the next generation of talent, Dr Catherine Kidman is the winner of the 2023 ASVO Viticulturist of the Year, sponsored by Syngenta.

Wynns Coonawarra Viticulturist, Dr Cath Kidman, awarded 2023 Viticulturist of the Year. Photo: John Krüger

The judging panel for Viticulturist of the Year described Cath Kidman as “a champion in her field” as a technical viticulturist who is “respected and recognised nationally”. “She is a fantastic role model and mentor to up and coming viticulturists, supports PhD students as a supervisor, and an active advocate for Women in Wine.

“Applying a science-based yet practical approach, Cath is generous in sharing her expertise and cutting-edge trial work at Wynns Coonawarra (including on epigenetic vine responses, infrared thermal imaging, and virus elimination) to the wider Australian wine growing community to enhance a sustainable future for all vineyard owners,” the panel said.

As someone who is continually motivated by the opportunities each harvest brings, and to further understand the vines under her care, Dr Kidman said she was humbled to receive the award and to be part of the renowned wine making team at Wynns Estates.

“To be the recipient of the ASVO Viticulturist of the Year is quite frankly an incredible feeling!” Kidman said. “I am a proud advocate of the ASVO and, therefore, to be recognised by the society for the work I do in viticulture is a tremendous feeling and I’m very grateful for this award.”

Syngenta Technical Services Lead Dr Brandy Rawnsley presented the award to Dr Kidman at the Australia Society of Viticulture and Oneology at the National Wine Centre, Adelaide, on Wednesday 8 November.

Dr Kidman has been a part of the Viticultural team for Wynns Coonawarra Estate since 2011.

Her primary role is overseeing the viticultural technical program as well as implementing the research and development directions for the Wynns vineyards.

Dr Kidman completed her PhD with the University of Adelaide examining grapevine rootstocks, water stress, flowering and fruitset. This has given her good grounding for her work at Wynns in vine water status and yield forecasting, rootstock choice and heritage clonal material. More recently, her focus has been around better understanding adaptation and mitigation for climate change. Dr Kidman is a keen collaborator, partnering on innovative projects with industry and universities to help bridge the gap between academia and practical grape growing.  Along with her work at Wynns, she also enjoys her supervisory roles with PhD students through the University of Adelaide.

Her receipt of the ASVO Award is the latest in a string of gongs.

In 2020, Dr Kidman was awarded Gourmet Traveler Viticulturist of the year and 2020 Australian Women in Wine Viticulturist of the year. In 2021, she was awarded the International Viticulturist of the Year for Women in Wine and Spirits, and she is a past recipient of Wine Australia Future Leaders program (FL19) as well as a past mentor in Wine Industry Mentor program.

Dr Kidman actively represents Coonawarra as a sub-committee member of the Coonawarra Vignerons as well as a technical representative for the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council, she is a board member for Australian Women in Wine and is an active member of the ASVO.

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