President's Medal judges - and television personality Ed Halmagyi - tour Denman winery for highly-prestigious award

JUDGEMENT JOY: Linda and Brett Keeping were looking to impress judge Ed Halmagyi on Monday.
JUDGEMENT JOY: Linda and Brett Keeping were looking to impress judge Ed Halmagyi on Monday.

AT this stage, the team at Two Rivers Wines would be starting to wish 2018 never ends, after recently being nominated for yet another award.

The Denman-based winery is in the final six for the President’s Medal – and had its facilities toured on Monday by judge and television personality Ed Halmagyi.

With more than 5000 entrants for the award, Mr Halmagyi gave the Chronicle an insight as to why Two Rivers has made it this far.

“You don’t get invited to the President’s Medal unless you’re literally already at the very top of your pile in terms of what you make,” he said.

“The President’s Medal is not designed to award people off the basis of their wine or their cheese or what they make.

“What we’re trying to find is those food, drink and agricultural businesses that help define success and greatness for Australian producers into the future.”

He also touched on the winery’s innovation and its ability to uphold aspects of the native environment that would otherwise be lost in bigger businesses.

Co-owner Brett Keeping said the fact they had reached that stage was a feather in their cap.

“It’s such a great honour, we didn’t have any expectations of this at all and this has just been the icing on the cake,” he admitted.

“It [2018] has certainly been a highlight in our careers.

“We did a bit of tally up the other day of the awards and it’s totally exceeded our expectations, we realise this doesn’t happen every year but while it’s happening we’ll take it.”

Forever modest, he wanted to assure the entire Two Rivers family received their due respects, and touched on the importance of keeping the property in shape for years to come.

“The important thing for us is that it’s a great recognition for the team,” Mr Keeping said.

“It’s been 30 years, so we’ve had some tough times and seen plenty of ups and downs.

“It’s nice and really satisfying when a year comes together like this.

“If we’re going to have a long future in this industry then we need to be implementing sustainable practices.

“And, like any farm, we want to be able to hand this property over to the next generation in a better condition than what we’ve taken it on.”

With a brain-trust ready to take risks and keep innovating, the Denman landmark is sure to have captured the attention of judge Halmagyi, and will hopefully bring home another award when the results are announced during the Sydney Royal Easter show in April next year.

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