Prue with pride, relaxing within the Grandfather Vines In Hill of Grace Vineyard
Prue’s RECOMMENDATION IS THE LOW-YIELDING, OLD, GNARLED, DRY-GROWN BUSH VINE GRENACHE,
Prue began her career by studying botany and zoology at Adelaide University, graduating in 1973. On completing her degree, when she and Stephen spent two years in Germany, she become involved in viticulture and plant physiology. During this time she worked in the Geisenheim Institute vineyards, as well as becoming involved in grafting and breeding. Since it was hard to get a job at the time, she worked without pay in the Botanic Institute at Geisenheim on a project to isolate root inhibitors in rootstocks.
After studying Wine Science with Stephen at Riverina College of Advanced Education in Wagga Wagga, Prue worked in 1978 at the Roseworthy Agricultural College (now Roseworthy campus of the University of Adelaide) as a technical research assistant under Peter Dry, running trials on top-grafting grape vines at the time of the Vine Pull scheme.
In 1980 Prue became a viticultural consultant and began working with Stephen in order to further develop their own research ideas and theories on cool-climate viticulture, site selection and canopy management. In 1981 Prue and Stephen purchased an apple orchard at Lenswood, in the Adelaide Hills, with the aim of eventually converting it to vineyard and establishing the site as a research tool to apply their learnings from Geisenheim. The use of VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioned canopies) and permanent swards was then extended to their Eden Valley vineyards.
In 1986 Prue began a project in the old Mount Edelstone and Hill of Grace shiraz vineyards, with the assistance of a fellow Geisenheim graduate Uschi Linssen, to select the best genetic material for vineyard replanting. This long-term project was aimed at selecting the vines that produce the most intense colour and flavour in the grapes, through a process of mass selection. With assistance from Patrick Iland from the University of Adelaide, Prue initiated trials on varying trellis styles looking at grape colour in relation to crop load and leaf area to fruit weight ratio. The results led to the development of Scott Henry trellis on the old shiraz vines to enhance the unique flavours of each of these old vines.
Travels to many different wine regions around the world has inspired Prue to trial new grape varieties and clones in the three different vineyard regions: grenache, mataro and counoise in the Barossa Valley; tempranillo, barbera, nebbiolo and various clones of shiraz and riesling in the Eden Valley; and grüner veltliner and clones of pinot noir, chardonnay and merlot in the Adelaide Hills.
2016 – Australian Women in Wine Awards Viticulturist of the Year
2015 – Wine Spectator’s Critics’ Choice Award – New York Wine Experience
2015 – South Australian Regional Awards – Premium Food and Wine from our Clean Environment – Wine Award
2014 – Henschke Hill of Grace awarded an inaugural Barossa Trust Mark
2014 – Induction into South Australia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Business SA) Hall of Fame
2012 – South Australian Wine Industry Association Environmental Excellence Award – Small-Medium Business
2011 – Induction into Family Business Australia (SA) Hall of Fame
2011 – InStyle and Audi Women in Style Awards – ‘Environment’ category award
2011 – The Age/Sydney Morning Herald Good Wine Guide Winery of the Year
2010 – Advantage SA Regional Awards – Sustainability award
2006 – Gourmet Traveller WINE Magazine Winemaker of the Year
2005 – Induction into the USA Wine & Spirit Magazine Hall of Fame
2002 – Selection for the Australian Rural Leadership Program Course 7
1998 – Volvo/WINEMagazine Winemaker of the Year nominee
1997 – Barons of Barossa Viticulturist of the Year
1995 – Advance Australia Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Wine Industry
1995 – Regional finalist in SA Rural Women of the Year
1994/95 – Joint International Red Winemaker of the Year