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Eric ‘Viv’ Thompson


Eric Vivian Thomson, fondly known as Viv Thomson amongst wine industry peers, has been announced Legend of the Vine Victoria at the annual Wine Communicators of Australia (WCA) Melbourne Wine Show Awards Lunch on October 20.

Thomson comes from a long line of winemakers and received ‘Legend of the Vine’ status as one of Australia’s longest serving winemakers.

“Viv’s list of accolades, including his 2014 Order of Australia Medal, is a true reflection of where his reputation sits within the industry”


“Viv’s list of accolades, including his 2014 Order of Australia Medal, is a true reflection of where his reputation sits within the industry, and why he is recognised as Victorian’s newest Legend of the Vine,” said WCA National Chair Angus Barnes.

Thomson descends from one of Victoria’s most successful wine families dating back five generations. Born and raised in Swan Hill, Thomson moved to Great Western as a six-year-old boy where his grandfather owned Concongella Vineyards.

In 1920 his grandfather purchased Best’s Great Western where Thomson has spent majority of his career managing operations and acting as chief winemaker.

A graduate of the acclaimed Roseworthy College in South Australia, Thomson spent three years studying agriculture before deciding it would be worth taking a crash-course in winery analysis. After returning from two years abroad, he joined his father Eric running the vineyard and making wine at Best’s, and managed two wineries 230 kilometres apart from each other, one at Great Western and one at Lake Boga.

Since entering the winemaking role in 1962, Viv has completed 51 consecutive vintages and was acknowledged for his service to the wine industry, by being awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the General Division as a part of the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Thomson now considers himself the elder statesman of Best’s Great Western since handing over the reins of the business to his son Ben.

Viv has been recognised by the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival as a “legend” for his services to the wine industry and was also President of the Victorian Wine Industry Association for many years.

The Legend of the Vine Award was first introduced in Victoria in 2014, and extends across New South Wales and South Australia with annual awards issued in each state. The nominees from each state are chosen by the WCA Board and State Chapters, with the final winner determined by the WCA National Board.

Viv Thomson is the fourth person to be awarded Legend of the Vine status in VIC, and joins a prestigious national list that includes Colin Campbell, Ross Brown and Kathleen Quealey.