BRIT’s President and Executive Director Dr Ed Schneider praised the efforts of Crittenden Estate and the winning Cri de Coeur Pinot Noir, stating “the combination of sustainable programs with the family’s love of the land has produced a wine that is truly outstanding”.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on December 3, 2019

An Australian wine by Crittenden Estate has won the 2020 International Sustainable Winegrowing Competition run by The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) in partnership with FIVS, a Paris-based international federation of sustainability-minded wine organisations.

Crittenden Estate, a family-owned winery from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, was judged the overall “platinum” winner based on the winery’s on-going programs addressing the three elements of sustainability – environmental, economic, and social – and the wine’s flavour.

Crittenden Estate submitted its highly acclaimed 2017 Cri de Coeur Pinot Noir to the sustainable winegrowing judging panel to illustrate the results of their commitment to, and innovation in, sustainable wine growing practices.

Crittenden Estate

BRIT’s President and Executive Director Dr Ed Schneider praised the efforts of Crittenden Estate and the winning Cri de Coeur Pinot Noir, stating “the combination of sustainable programs with the family’s love of the land has produced a wine that is truly outstanding”.

Nine international finalists vied for the top award, with runners up including South Australia’s Henschke Wines, Santa Rosa California’s Jackson Family Wines and Portugal’s Herdade dos Grous.

“To win such a prestigious international award, particularly given the calibre of our fellow entrants is very humbling for us,” said Rollo Crittenden, second generation winemaker at Crittenden Estate. “We’re passionate about our sustainability and regenerative programmes and delighted that they have been recognised in this way by BRIT/FIVS. There is no doubt these efforts contribute directly to an increase in the quality of wine we produce, and we will continue to strive further on both our land care and wine advances over the generations to come”.

Founded in 1982 by Garry Crittenden, Crittenden Estate farms 27 acres in Dromana, Victoria, and has abandoned the use of chemicals in the vineyard for an innovative program of inter-row cover crops and soil cultivation; a twelve-month composting program to maintain soil health; introducing bees to the property to fertilise desirable fruit trees and supporting a diverse agricultural population of plants and insects while combating wasp species; reducing energy costs by sixty percent cost with the installation of solar panels; and reclaiming and reusing water through Crittenden’s water treatment plant.

The competition recognises wine producers taking a leading role in developing and implementing sustainable practices, while building strong connections with their communities and sharing their learnings across the wider wine sector. Entries are submitted annually from many wine producing countries in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Nine international finalists vied for the top award, with runners up including South Australia’s Henschke Wines, Santa Rosa California’s Jackson Family Wines and Portugal’s Herdade dos Grous.

Since first planting vines at Dromana in 1982, the Crittendens have seldom been far from the forefront of Australian wine, helping to pioneer the Mornington Peninsula wine industry and later introducing new varieties of Italian and Spanish origin to Australian palates.

The past decade have seen Crittenden Estate embrace new ways of caring for their soil, including the abandonment of all chemicals in favour of an innovative program of inter row cropping of peas and oats and a 12-month composting regime that has led to significant improvements in soil health.

Other recent projects include the introduction of bees for the pollination of desirable fruiting trees, reducing greenhouse emissions as well as energy costs by 60 percent with the installation of solar panels, and water reclamation reuse through the property’s water treatment plant.

A member of the Crittenden family will travel to Fort Worth, Texas in January for the BRIT/FIVS award ceremony and to bring the prestigious glass trophy home to the family estate in Dromana.