Barossa Grape & Wine Association Services to the Industry Award 2016

Congratulations to Margaret Ahrens, who was awarded the 2016 Barossa Grape & Wine Association Services to Industry Award. The speech below was delivered by James March, CEO of the BGWA at the annual Barossa Declaration of Vintage Ceremony on February 21, 2016.


Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Barossa Grape & Wine Association… thank you to the Barons, as always, for your warm welcome to be a part of today’s event.

The BGWA’s “Services to Industry” award was initiated by the Grape Barossa committee six years ago to annually recognise the outstanding contribution and service of a member of the grape growing community to the Barossa.

Nominations are made by their peers when candidates demonstrate values of dedication, leadership and a sustained period of voluntary service to the Barossa wine industry.

The BGWA is very pleased to extend the award this year to a person who has served the Barossa grape growing community, in a voluntary capacity, for more than 30 years.

• The recipient has been co-owner of the family’s Vine Vale property from 1965, and managed the business’ finances until 1999.

• The property is a mixed farm, comprising sheep and vineyard. At age 73, she still works on the family property today, which is now run by one of her sons and his family.

• Alongside her late husband, she was active in the Barossa Grapegrowers Vine Selection Society (now Barossa Vine Improvement) from 1978.

• She was elected a member of Barossa Vine Improvement in her own right in 1983, and served as Treasurer for 32 years until 2015.

• She also, with assistance from other committee members, organised many study tours for the Barossa Vine Improvement group, both in Australia and overseas, including tours to South Africa, France, Italy, New Zealand, Margaret River, Tasmania, Hunter Valley and the Yarra Valley.

• She was, along with her late husband, a well-respected member of the Light Pass Ag Bureau, serving as Treasurer from 1987 to 1990; and auditing the Bureau’s books in the 21 years from 1992 to 2013.

• In 2007, the Light Pass Ag Bureau awarded her the 20 Year Service Award…

• When asked to comment on the outstanding personal qualities of this person recently, Graham Lyman, a former chair of the Barossa Grapegrowers Vine Selection Society, replied: “She’s pure gold. Absolute integrity.”

• “She was very protective of the finances, and keeping the organisation solvent.”

• “She is very astute, forthright. She stands up to people. Her fiscal integrity and her capacity to understand finance and investment is outstanding. She kept our society solvent, and in the good position it remains today.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think you will agree this is a very worthy recipient of an award that recognises voluntary service to the Barossa community and its grape growers.

It is with great pleasure that I ask, Margaret Ahrens, to join me on the stage to accept the Barossa Grape & Wine Association’s “Services to the Industry” award.

Congratulations Margaret.

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