Diana Madeline Cullen
1923 to 2003
It was once said that Diana Madeline Cullen was “an inspiration in our own time and that of future generations”. She lived every day with a passion to achieve as much as she could and she did so with modesty and style. In the eighty years that Diana graced the world, she pioneered and helped to establish the Margaret River wine industry, played a significant role in the conservation and ecology of the Margaret River region, was a dedicated wife and mother of six and, along with husband Kevin, contributed greatly to medical research in Western Australia.
Di was involved in the first trial vines in Wilyabrup in the Margaret River region in 1966, and established the Cullen Vineyard in 1971. Her wines rapidly attained a reputation for quality around Australia and the world. In 1977 Di won best wine at the Canberra Wine Show, the first trophy to be awarded to a Margaret River winery. Di made history in 1982 being the first woman to win a trophy in the Perth Royal Show and continued to be chief winemaker until 1989 when daughter Vanya took over. In this time she was awarded medals and trophies, and established a tradition of excellence at Cullen Wines.
As a result of her love for the vineyard, constant hard work and dedication to the production of fine wine, Di received various prestigious awards. In 1995, Di and Kevin were jointly awarded the Western Australian Citizen of the Year, in the professional category and their names were engraved onto a plaque in St Georges Terrace in Perth. Three years later Di was awarded the Jack Mann Memorial Medal for services to the Western Australian Wine Industry. In 1999, Di was placed on the Australian Honours listing and became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to Viticulture and Wine. Finally, in 2002 Di was awarded life membership with the Margaret River Wine Industry Association and in 2003 the WA Wine Industry Association introduced the annual Diana Madeline Cullen Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to the WA Wine Industry.
Despite her successes Di remained gracious, generous and elegant, touching the lives and hearts of whomever she met.