AGL Energy Limited (AGL) announced today that wine maker Daniel Binet of Ballabourneen Wine Co. has won the inaugural AGL Hunter Wine Excellence Scholarship sponsored by the company.

The scholarship was developed to support Hunter Valley winemakers. It offers the winning winemaker, who created the most awarded wines made from Semillon and Chardonnay grapes from AGL's Spring Mountain and Yellow Rock Estate vineyards, an educational tour of European or United States wine growing regions.

The five participating winemakers were each allotted a chosen parcel of grapes from AGL's exceptional vineyards. From these allocations each winmaker developed the finest wines possible for bottling and entry into wine shows. One Semillon and one Chardonnay from four winemakers was submitted to four well-known wine shows - the Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show, NSW Small Winemakers Show, Citibank NSW Wine Awards and the Royal Adelaide Wine Show.

AGL's General Manager Upstream Gas, Mike Moraza said: "The outstanding results of this competition underscores AGL's ability to grow high quality grapes that have produced award winning wines, while at the same time AGL explores for natural gas on these fine vineyards. This is what coexistence is all about."

AGL has awarded Mr Binet a five-week trip to visit prominent wine makers in wine regions across Europe or the United States of America.

Mr Binet, thanking AGL said:"The AGL scholarship gives winemakers the chance to show off their talents and highlight their creative differences using the same fruit, creating a level playing field.

"Receiving this award has provided the opportunity to promote sustainable environmentally friendly viticulture practices, allowing AGL to produce award winning wines from vineyards with great history. I look forward to venturing off to France to learn the secrets of the regions of Burgundy and the Rhone that arguably produce the world's best Chardonnay and Shiraz."

Participants accumulated points based on the numbers of gold, silver and bronze medals awarded by independent judges at each of the wine shows. Overall, the eight AGL wines received a total of 17 medals including three gold medals. Of the wines made by Mr Binet, the highest number of points was awarded for his AGL 175th Anniversary Special Reserve Chardonnay.

Mr Binet's wines won the following awards:

  • Two bronze medals at the 2012 Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show in August
  • One gold medal at the 2012 NSW Small Wine Makers Show in August
  • One silver medal at the 2012 Citibank NSW wine Awards in September
  • One gold and one silver medal at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show in October.

AGL intends to continue the Wine Excellence Scholarship during the 2013 vintage year and will be seeking expressions of interest from Hunter Valley winemakers for the 2013 competition shortly.

About AGL

AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers. Drawing on 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is Australia's largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.