THE Hundy family has added to its astonishing swag of Ermenegildo Zegna wool awards by taking out not only the Wool Trophy, but also the prestigious Vellus Aureum Trophy at a huge celebration in Sydney on Tuesday night.
The occasion - held to honour the 50th anniversary since the first wool trophies were first held in Australia - was attended by more than 1000 people at the historic Royal Hall of Industries in Sydney.
Journalists and media representatives from 31 countries travelled to Australia to tour New England superfine woolgrowing operations and attend the gala event, which was hosted by model and actor Megan Gale.
The Hundy family of Ed and Jill, their son Andrew and his wife Penny, have entered wool from their 1200-hectare Central West property "Windradeen", Sallys Flat, since 1985, when Andrew's grandparents Gus and Pearl first submitted fleeces.
They are the most successful family in the history of the competition.
Ermenegildo Zegna chairman Count Paolo Zegna presented the family with their trophies at an intimate ceremony earlier on Tuesday at the annual Australian Superfine Wool Growers Association seminar, before Count Paolo and company chief executive Gildo Zegna made the official presentation in front of the huge crowd that night.
Andrew said the win was special, particularly for his father.
"Dad has put his entire life into growing superfine wool and the Zegna competition is the pinnacle of showing superfine and ultrafine wool," he said.
"It means a lot to us, we enter to try and win and we do put a lot of time into trying to put our best in."
The family won the prestigious Vellus Aureum Trophy with an 11.5 micron fleece, which is broader than previous winners.
"We weren't as confident knowing that in previous years the competition was won with finer fleeces and the places were won with finer fleeces," Andrew said.
Andrew said despite the challenges currently facing the super and ultrafine wool industries, his family was determined to remain in the sector.
"It's what our farm is good at producing, even though ultrafine wool has always been a bit of a boom-bust enterprise," he said.
"At the moment we're in a bit of a bust but I'd like to think that it will return... I'd like to think that it will come back to a sustainable level.
"Our family has had a great association with this competition and we would definitely like to continue it.
"It's a real passion for us. We're going to continue."
Announcing the winner on Tuesday night, Count Paolo said the winning fleece was "more beautiful than fleeces from past editions, if less fine".
"Fineness indeed is not the only criteria of evaluation for the Zegna wool trophy, as demonstrated by the fact that the second and third place holders are finer than the winner," he said.
"The jury considers other factors in addition to fineness such as the length of the fibre, its strength, uniformity, colour and character.
"All important features that compose the quality of Merino wool."
The Australian Wool Innovation partnered with Ermenegildo Zegna in organising the event through its subsidiary The Woolmark Company.
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