Penfolds’ Gago recognised in Queen’s birthday honours list

Penfolds’ chief winemaker Peter Gago has been recognised for his contribution to the Australian wine industry in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Gago, who became Penfolds’ chief winemaker in 2002, has been made a Companion of the Order of Australia, one of the highest honours in Australia and the first time a member of the wine industry has been so highly honoured, for service to the wine industry.

The honours list citation recognised his contribution as an internationally renown winemaker, as well as his promotion of excellence in oenology, marketing and research, across the world, and as a mentor.

Gago told Australian website ABC that it was a great honour that demonstrated how far the wine industry has come.

“I think to put wine and the industry alongside theatre and the arts, the judiciary, the military, it really has taken it to another level,” he said.

“Wine, years ago, was really for the chosen few, the cognoscenti, and now it’s part of what people do.”

Gago has been honoured with a string of awards, including the Bragg Membership, an award which recognises scientific excellence and commitment to science communication, and the Winemakers’ Winemaker Award by the Institute of Masters of Wine  recognises outstanding achievement in the field of winemaking and is voted for by MWs and senior figures from across the international wine community.

The British-born winemaker, who moved to Australia as a child, initially trained as a chemistry and maths teacher before following his passion for wine, and retraining at Adelaide’s Roseworth College with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology. He joined Penfolds in 1989 in the sparkling wine department, before taking on the role of Penfolds Red Wine Oenologist. In 2002 he succeeded John Duval as Penfolds Chief Winemaker.

The London Gazette has yet to release the full list of this year’s birthday honours.

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