It is with great excitement that we announce the winner of the 2014 Maurice O’Shea Award, Mr Peter Dry.

Mr Dry was announced as the winner of the 2014 Award on October 1 at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Held every two years, the Maurice O’Shea Award recognises an individual or group for their outstanding contribution to the wine industry.

In receiving the award, Mr Peter Dry joins a select group of some of the most celebrated and respected figures in the Australian wine industry. Peter was overseas at the time of the award ceremony so it was graciously accepted by his son, Nick Dry.


Viticulturist, teacher, researcher, editor and writer. Over more than 40 years, Peter’s career has, and continues to be, a remarkable one.

McWilliam’s CEO Rob Blackwell says that the award is a fitting recognition for a long and illustrious career.

Peter’s contribution to the wine industry, through his research, teaching positions and industry roles, has been significant. There are few winemakers and viticulturists who have not been touched in some way by his work. I congratulate Peter on receiving this award and thank him  on behalf of the industry for his substantial contribution to the Australian wine industry.

McWilliam’s Chairman Jeff McWilliam says that the award could not have gone to a more fitting recipient.

Peter’s impact on the Australian wine industry has been monumental. This award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to the wine industry and Peter has done just that, helping to shape the face of how viticulture is practiced in Australia.

Peter began his career in 1970 when he took up a Research Officer position in Loxton with the South Australian Department of Agriculture. After five years, he moved to Roseworthy College as a lecturer, not just in viticulture, but in biology, plant pathology, microbiology and sensory evaluation.

It was at Roseworthy, in the early 1980s, that Peter and Richard Smart developed the first climatic classification for Australian viticultural regions.  They also recommended a widening of the range of varieties being planted in Australia across the various regions. Indeed, the success of a number of Italian and Spanish grape varietals in Australia can be credited to Peter and Richard’s work in this area.

When Roseworthy College merged with the University of Adelaide in 1990, Peter’s work began to focus more on research.

It was during the 1990’s that Peter worked with Dr Brian Loveys from CSIRO, conducting the research that led to the development of partial rootzone drying. This revolutionary irrigation technique allowed grapes, as well as other crops, to be grown using half the amount of water previously required.

For this work, Peter and Dr Loveys have been recognised with a list of awards and accolades. Indeed Peter was awarded a PhD from the University of Adelaide for this research, and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering recognised this development as one of the 100 most important technological innovations of the 20th Century in Australia.

Peter retired from the University of Adelaide in 2008, but not from his work for the grape and wine industry. He has continued to work as a Viticultural Consultant with the Australian Wine Research Institute, presenting at countless seminars, workshops, and continuing to produce publications.

Peter has authored more than 270 publications, as well editing some of the most well-known books on viticulture in Australia.

In 2012, Peter was inducted as only the sixth Fellow of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology, recognising his long career in teaching and research.

The 2014 Maurice O’Shea award is, fittingly, another feather in his cap.

Truly, the Australian wine industry owes Peter a service, and this award honours his remarkable career and contribution to wine.