IN A win for women in wine, Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig has presented South Australia’s Mary Retallack with the prestigious national 2012 Rural Woman’s Award in Canberra.
Mary, from SA’s Adelaide Hills, was one of seven state winners at the gala ceremony and presentation of the 2012 Rural Industries R&D Corporation’s (RIRDC) Rural Woman’s Award.
Each of the state winners were recognised for their contribution to primary industries and rural communities, and their role as advocates for rural, regional and remote Australia.
Mary, a third generation viticulturist and managing director of Retallack Viticulture, consulting to the Australian wine industry, was presented with the Award by Mr Ludwig in front of more than 200 politicians, industry leaders and special guests.
RIRDC managing director Craig Burns said the award was very highly regarded by industry groups, the government and rural communities, and it was encouraging to see such a broad range of ideas, actions and individuals driving the future of Australian agriculture.
“I’m extremely proud of all our finalists,” he said.
“Their innovation and determination is an inspiration to all Australians, whether they work in primary industries, or simply consume our outstanding local produce.
“Mary has already made an outstanding contribution to the viticulture industry over the course of her career and her project has the potential to revolutionise the Australian wine industry and furthermore, change the way women network in the bush.”
For the past 17 years, Mary has worked in vineyard management, technical, research, consultancy, training and extension roles in Australia and overseas.
Mary’s award-winning project involves establishing a website for ‘Women in Wine’ to provide support and skills development opportunities for women in the viticulture sector.
“Winning this award has spurred me on even more and I’m honoured to work with women in the industry to help them to meet their full potential,” Mary said.
“As primary producers, and women, we have so much to offer and it’s vital to support one another, stay connected and empower other women, as some great people have done for me.
“This is my way of giving back.”
Mary will use her additional $10,000 bursary received as winner of the Award to expand her ‘Women in Wine’ website, which will serve as a central meeting place and comprehensive information sharing hub for women in the wine industry.
Catherine Marriott of Kununurra in WA was announced runner-up for her work in the beef industry and live export awareness activities.
Catherine consults to a select group of companies and private clients involved in the live cattle export industry, pastoral training and leadership capacity building. In August she travelled the live export journey to Indonesia with a group of women from Australia.
2012 Rural Women of the Year Award finalists
- Mary Retallack – viticulture consultant, SA
- Catherine Marriott – Beef industry consultant, WA
- Annette Smith – natural resource management advocator, Qld
- Fiona Ewing – salmon industry community engagement officer, Tas
- Danica Leys – lawyer and AgChatOZ co-founder, NSW
- Tania Chapman – citrus industry leader, VIC
- Barbara Koennecke – aquarium industry pioneer, NT
The RIRDC Rural Women’s Award is an initiative of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in partnership with the state and territory agencies and is proudly supported by the Award’s Platinum Sponsor, Westpac Agribusiness, national partner, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the Award’s media partners, RM Williams OUTBACK Magazine, ABC Radio and Rural Press Ltd.