Vinehealth Australia CEO Inca Lee has been named ‘Researcher/Innovator of the Year’ at the Australian Women in Wine Awards, announced in New York last week.

Other finalists in the category were Joanna Gambetta from Charles Sturt University and Mango Parker from the Australian Wine Research Institute.

Accepting the award via video link from Australia, Inca paid tribute to Prue Henschke who nominated her. “You are an inspiration and a trailblazer. Your generosity of time and ideas to industry matters, including biosecurity, is boundless,” Inca said.

Inca also thanked Angove Family Winemakers for sponsoring her award. “At Vinehealth Australia we’ve worked closely for many years with Angoves. They are true biosecurity champions,” Inca said following the awards ceremony.

Inca said she shared the award with the talented people she has been fortunate to work with during her career at Pernod Ricard Winemakers and Vinehealth Australia.

“My sole focus now is to provide growers and winemakers with new ways to protect their vines and their brands from the devastating impacts of a biosecurity shock. It’s a huge challenge, but I think with greater awareness we are making progress,” she said.

The 2019 awards were judged by panels made up of Australian Women in Wine Awards Advisory Board members and previous winners.

Other 2019 winners include:

  • Winemaker of the Year – Vanya Cullen (Cullen Wines)
  • Champion of Diversity & Equality – John Davis (Pepper Tree Wines)
  • Marketer of the Year – Imogen Hayes (Handpicked Wines)
  • Cellar Door Person of the Year – Ulrika Larsson (Clairault Streicker)
  • Viticulturist of the Year – Sheridan Alm (Starrs Reach Vineyard)
  • Owner/Operator of the Year – Sarah McDougall (Lake George Winery)
  • Woman of Inspiration – Angie Bradbury (Dig+Fish)
  • Honorary Australian Women in Wine Award USA – Christina Pickard