The Campbell family and team are absolutely thrilled to share the news that our monarch, Colin Campbell, has been awarded with an Order of Australia Medal. Officially announced today for his outstanding contribution to the winemaking industry. This contribution includes his work with Winemakers Federation of Australia, Australia’s First Families of Wine, the Muscat of Rutherglen network, the Durif of Rutherglen Group and so much more within the industry and community. Today, we take a look at some of the magnanimous achievements that Col has spearheaded over his time, and reflect on this exceptional milestone.
The Story of Colin Campbell
It all began when Col returned home from Roseworthy as a young winemaker in the late 60s. He was a tireless committee member and vice chairman of the Rutherglen Wine Festival Committee. These festivals put Rutherglen on the map and are widely credited with the birth of wine tourism.
From there Colin saw the importance of tourism and threw his energies into tourism for the North East of Victoria via the regional committee. He was a long standing board member of North East Tourism. Over the 1980s Colin was chairman of the North East Winemakers Committee. This group was disbanded to allow focus on the individual wine regions. In Rutherglen, the vital Winemakers of Rutherglen group was formed.
Colin’s lifelong passion has been to see Rutherglen Muscat recognized worldwide as the unique wine of Australia. He led the formation of the ‘Muscat of Rutherglen Network’, a group of the Rutherglen Muscat producers which in1998 developed a classification system for these wines to ensure quality and reliability. Campbells also led the way with repackaging Muscat and Topaque in clear glass.
It is most likely that these bold moves have prevented these Australian treasures and unique wines of Rutherglen from becoming extinct! Colin still chairs this group today which also encompasses Rutherglen Topaque (formally Tokay). The classification system put in place by this tiny group has now been adopted in the Australian fortified wine code of practice.
Colin also led the revitalization of Rutherglen Durif starting with the release of the premium Campbells 1992 Barkly Durif. He formed the ‘Durif of Rutherglen Network’ which is a small group of the durif producers in Rutherglen. They have gained recognition for the uniqueness of the Durif variety to Rutherglen. This move has aided the Rutherglen producers to lift the quality of their Durif to a premium status.
Colin was chairman of the Fortified Sustainability Project which involved the most comprehensive research ever to be undertaken on the Australian Fortified wine industry. The project was responsible for developing new names for Sherry and Tokay as well as a relaunch strategy for Australian fortified wines. Colin seized this as an opportunity to help revitalize this important sector of the Australian wine industry and at the same time demonstrate to the world the depth of commitment and history of the Australian wine industry.
For many years Colin has been a member of the Small Winemakers Committee and a board member of the Winemakers Federation of Australia which is the peak body for the Australian wine industry. Colin is working closely with winegrowers and government for the benefit of the wine industry. Over the years he has been tireless in his efforts on behalf of the wine industry to reach a solution with the government for fair taxation.
Campbells is a founding member of Australia’s First Families of Wine, a group of 12 wineries combining 1200 years of family and intergenerational winemaking; whose mission is to show to the world the “heart and soul” of the Australian Wine Industry.
Colin is a founding member of the Rotary Club of Rutherglen, President in 2000 and in 2011 he was named a Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary’s highest honour.
Colin and his brother Malcolm were honoured in 1995 with the Victorian Wine Industry Association Distinguished Services Award for services to viticulture and the wine industry.
In 2014 Colin was named the inaugural ‘Victorian “Legend of the Vine’ by the Wine Communicators of Australia for his outstanding and lasting contribution to the wine industry and the industry at large.
In 2016 Colin was awarded life membership of the Australian Wine Industry by the Winemakers Federation of Australia, College of Patrons. This coveted Life Member Award recognises outstanding leadership and contribution to the nation’s wine industry over and above an individual’s career achievements.