Hillgrove super-fine wool producers David and Angie Waters, Tarrangower Merinos, east of Armidale, survived a brittle drought to win accolades for the third time running at this week's 56th Ermenegildo Zegna wool awards.
Tuesday night's social occasion, at the Luminaire, in Melbourne, recognised Tasmanian producers Allan and Carolyn Phillips in second place, and who have been among the winners for the last seven judging "editions" along with Ed Hundy, Windraden Mudgee at Pyramul who took third.
Tasmanian producers Rose Villa at Ross, Snowhill at Avoca and Macquarie Hills at Longford were in the final ranking for the first time.
Winners of the Vellus Aureum Trophy were David and Susan Rowbottom "Rowensville" at St. Helens, Vic. Aaron while Rebecca Rowbottom "Myndarra" at Orford, Vic, and Robert McClenaghan from "Rockvale North" at Armidale were second and third in the competition for the first time.
These woolgrowers were awarded by Paolo Zegna during the celebration dinner and in the presence of representatives of the major institutions associated with the world of wool.
More than 55 years ago, Ermenegildo Zegna established its inaugural "Ermenegildo Zegna Wool Trophy" to award and encourage growers to improve the quality of superfine merino and has consistently worked to celebrate the importance of this fibre and support growers in their quest to produce the best in the world. This year, for the 56th edition of the prestigious program, Ermenegildo Zegna has once again honoured Australia's best growers by awarding the "Superfine Wool Trophy" and the "Vellus Aureum Trophy" during an exclusive gala dinner hosted by Paolo Zegna, President of the Group.
The relationship between Ermenegildo Zegna and Australian wool dates back to the early years of 1900 when the company began sourcing this incredible natural fibre. Still today, it's inherent excellence and unique characteristics allows Ermenegildo Zegna to constantly evolve the beauty and performance of its' products. Superfine wool has been, and continues to be, the key to creating many of the company's most precious fabrics and exclusive garments.
Ermenegildo Zegna was the first company to believe in and recognize the importance of supporting the growers and the Australian Superfine Wool Growers Association (ASWGA) in their work, to reach a better and higher recognition in the international arena.
This competition is today the oldest in the world of wool and represents, for Australian and New Zealand growers, the Oscars for the best wool in the world, enthused Ermenegildo Zegna.
The "Vellus Aureum Trophy" competition followed almost 50 years later, in 2002, to recognize the quest and celebrate the incredible advances made by Australian woolgrowers for absolute excellence by benchmarking every year the finest woollen fleeces - measuring 13.9 microns and finer - in the wool production countries. In 2016, the finest and best fleece was recorded at an exceptional 9.9 microns, making it still an un-beaten world record.
Today, both competitions continue to encourage and reward breeders for their commitment to quality, in Australian and New Zealand. The winning fleeces are judged according to a strict set of criteria including fineness, style, strength, colour and evenness.