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Rob Blackwell, McWilliam's CEO, Nick Dry, Peter Dry's son (receiving the award on his behalf) and Jeff McWilliam, McWilliam's chairman

L-R: Rob Blackwell, McWilliam’s CEO, Nick Dry, Peter Dry’s son (receiving the award on his behalf) and Jeff McWilliam, McWilliam’s chairman at the awards dinner last night.

DR PETER Dry was announced as the winner of the 2014 Maurice O’Shea award last night at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Held every two years, the Maurice O’Shea award recognises an individual or group for their outstanding contribution to the wine industry.

On receiving the award, Dry joined a select group of some of the most celebrated and respected figures in the Australian wine industry.

For more than 40 years, Dry’s career has, and continues to be, a remarkable one.

Rob Blackwell, McWilliam’s chief executive officer, said the award was a fitting recognition for a long and illustrious career.

“Peter’s contribution to the wine industry, through his research, teaching positions and industry roles, has been significant,” Blackwell said.

“There are few winemakers and viticulturists who have not been touched in some way by his work.

“I congratulate Peter on receiving this award and thank him on behalf of the industry for his substantial contribution to the Australian wine industry.”

Dry began his career in 1970 when he took up a research officer position in Loxton with the South Australian Department of Agriculture.

After five years, he moved to Roseworthy College as a lecturer, not just in viticulture, but in biology, plant pathology, microbiology and sensory evaluation.

It was at Roseworthy in the early ’80s that Dry and Dr Richard Smart developed the first climatic classification for Australian viticultural regions.

They also recommended a widening of the range of varieties being planted in Australia across the various regions.

The success of a number of Italian and Spanish grape varietals in Australia can be credited to Dry and Smart’s work in this area.

When Roseworthy College merged with the University of Adelaide in 1990, Dry’s work began to focus more on research.

During the ’90s Dry worked with Dr Brian Loveys from CSIRO and conducted the research that led to the development of partial rootzone drying.

This revolutionary irrigation technique allowed grapes, as well as other crops, to be grown using half the amount of water previously required.

For this work, Dry and Loveys have been recognised with a list of awards and accolades.

Dry was awarded a PhD from the University of Adelaide for this research, and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering recognised this development as one of the 100 most important technological innovations of the 20th Century in Australia.

Dry retired from the University of Adelaide in 2008, but not from his work for the grape and wine industry.

He has continued to work as a viticultural consultant with the Australian Wine Research Institute, presenting at countless seminars, workshops, and continuing to produce publications.

He has authored more than 270 publications, as well editing some of the most well-known books on viticulture in Australia. Dry is also a regular contributor to Winetitles publications including Grapegrower & Winemaker and the Wine & Viticulture Journal.

In 2012, he was inducted as the sixth Fellow of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology, recognising his long career in teaching and research.

The 2014 Maurice O’Shea award is, fittingly, another feather in his cap and honours his remarkable career and contribution to wine.

For more information contact Danni Browne at McWilliam’s Wines

P: 0423 693 087

E: dbrowne@mcwilliamswines.com.au