The BGWA’s “Services to Industry” award was initiated by the Grape Barossa committee nine years ago to annually recognise the outstanding contribution and service of a member of the grape growing community to the region.

Nominations are made by their peers when candidates demonstrate values of dedication, leadership and a sustained period of voluntary service to the Barossa wine industry.

The BGWA is very pleased to extend the award this year to Mike McCarthy, who has served the Barossa grape growing community, in a professional and voluntary capacity, for 40 years.

It has been said by peers that his commitment to the development of a better grape and wine industry through research and development has been “second to none” and “His work has always been relevant to the times, and he has contributed significant value to this (now globally recognised) wine and food region.”

“His work has kept evolving as new ideas for sustainability in vineyards have come forward. He has been there at the forefront,”

“he practices what he preaches on his own vineyard, the fruit from which is always at the high end of the Peter Lehmann wine portfolio. This makes him a very sought-after speaker at our BGWA grower days – and more widely throughout many Australian winegrowing regions.”

Away from his vineyard, he has developed a career as one of the most respected and one of the most treasured viticulturists in Australia.

Since the 1980s, one of Mike’s main focuses has been establishing the SARDI Shiraz Heritage Collection – a collection which is now recognised as one of the most cherished repositories of old vine clonal material in Australia.

He has also been a strong proponent of the concept of “no-till” vineyard management in Barossa – a very important strategy in our mission towards improved soil health in Barossa vineyards. 15 years ago he provided scientific evidence of the need for less saline water for irrigation in the Barossa which, along with water availability, was one of the main drivers behind the establishment of the BIL Scheme … a scheme for which, particularly in years like this, Barossa Valley grape growers are thanking their lucky stars.

Mike was also one of the founding members, in 2002, of the Barossa VitiTech Group (BVTG) which, 17 years on, remains the ‘go to’ group for technical viticulture information.
He has also been a pivotal member of the Barossa Grounds Project. Along with other members of the BVTG, he established criteria for the mapping of temperature, rainfall, elevation, and water-holding capacity of the soils of Barossa. So that we can now clearly demonstrate and articulate the diverse and special range of wine styles of Barossa Shiraz.

Nationally, he has many, many achievements as a viticultural research scientist – far too many to list here. But his most recent focus has been on climate adaptation for viticulture, with one project quantifying the impact of reduced winter-spring rainfall on vine performance and wine quality – the outcomes of which have seen a real and important change in the way growers irrigate before budburst in Barossa.

Congratulations and thank you Mike!