Vanya Cullen has been winemaking at her family’s Wilyabrup estate since 1983.
She was appointed to Chief Winemaker in 1989 and Managing Director in 1999. During that time she rigorously experimented in the vineyard (especially with soil and trellis management) and in the winery all the while looking to give her wines greater complexity. Her palate has been honed by judging throughout Australia and overseas, and by her continuous pursuit of a thorough knowledge of the wines of the world.
“Winemaking is now in the hands of Vanya Cullen, daughter of the founders; she is possessed of an extraordinarily good palate. It is impossible to single out any particular wine from the top echelon; all are superb.” – James Halliday
Over the past decades, Vanya has transformed her family firm from one of Margaret River’s best into one of the country’s premium boutique wineries. Cullen Wines while remaining family owned has since evolved making quality wine from a certified Biodynamic, Carbon Positive and naturally powered estate. Exemplary viticulture lies at the heart of her success but so too, do care and thorough attention to detail in the winery.
Vanya Cullen was the winner of the 2000 Qantas/The Wine Magazine Winemaker of the year. She was the third recipient of this prize, the first Western Australian and the first woman to win the award. Vanya has judged at wine shows in every major city in Australia. In 2008, she was awarded the UK Drinks Business Magazine “Woman of the Year 2008” and in 2011 the “Green Personality of the Year” for her commitment to the wine industry and for demonstrating that you can operate a successful business while looking after the environment.
In 2015 Vanya was inducted into the Australian Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame which honours and celebrates Australian female business owners who have been exemplary in their industries, are trailblazers and demonstrate inspiring and aspiring business journeys. 2018 marked Vanya’s 35th year of winemaking at Cullen Wines, and 2019 was Vanya’s 30th anniversary of becoming Chief Winemaker at Cullen Wines. During 2019 Vanya was named the Australian Women in Wine Winemaker of the Year, received the ACO Chairman’s Award for her contribution towards organics in Australia, and in Halliday’s 2020 Wine Companion she was awarded for the best wine in the Cabernet and Family category with the 2017 Diana Madeline, as well as being named Halliday’s Winemaker of the Year; Australia’s most prestigious wine award.
In 2021 Vanya was honoured to be the recipient of Halliday’s 2022 Wine Companion Inaugural Viticulturist of the Year Award, as well as receiving the ‘Outstanding Viticulturist’ award in the 2021 Delicious Magazine/ Harvey Norman Produce Awards.