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Saturday 1 October 2016

Leading winemaker awarded for services to science

I bumped into Peter Gago in London last week. We were both staying at the rather excellent Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge, a firm favourite with visiting Australian winemakers.

The Penfolds chief winemaker had just been told he had been recognised as a leader in science for his contributions to oenology and he was clearly chuffed by the award, saying it was both unexpected and humbling.

Gago was honoured by the Royal Institution of Australia, which awarded him a prestigious Bragg Membership for his contributions to the science of winemaking.

The organisation  is a national scientific not-for-profit organisation with a mission to '"bring science to people and people to science".

The award is named after the South Australian scientists Sir William Henry Bragg and Sir William Lawrence Bragg, a father and son team who won the Nobel Prize in 1915 for establishing X-ray crystallography, a scientific technique still widely used today.

Gago said he was “shocked, delighted and humbled” to be made an Honorary Bragg Member, the highest category of membership awarded by The Royal Institution of Australia.

“I am delighted as I am honoured to represent the pursuits of the many practitioners of the ancient discipline of oenology, humbled at joining eminent and world-renowned scientists and shocked to have been chosen on the right side of 60,” he said.

Gago joins just 31 other scientists as a member and was inducted along with paleontologist Professor Michael Archer AM, marine biologist Professor Terry Hughes and biochemist Adjunct Professor Zee Upton.

The Royal Institution of Australia chairman Peter Yates AM said celebrating the achievements of great scientists was an important part of Australia’s development as an innovative nation.

“By acknowledging and honouring our industry leaders we hope to inspire the next generation of scientists and STEM graduates who will play a critical role in building Australia’s future,” he said.

Gago has been chief winemaker at Penfolds since 2002 and is repsonible for the globall-known Penfolds Grange and other iconic wines. He is only the fourth chief winemaker since Max Schubert was first appointed in 1948.

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