VITALE BARBERIS CANONICO WOOL EXCELLENCE AWARD
27TH NOVEMBER, 2017
The presentation of the annual Vitale Barberis Canonico Wool Excellence Award for 2017 was celebrated in Hobart last night at picturesque Frogmore Creek Winery. The prestigious event was attended by Vitale Barberis Canonico (VBC) representatives, Wool Excellence Club members from NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, industry representatives and media.
The winners of the esteemed Award were New South Wales saxon breeders, the Wood family of “Dog Trap”, Uralla, in the New England region selling under the brand of JW/URALLA. The 4000 acre property is currently operated by two generations of the Wood family, father Geoff and his two sons Simon and Cameron who are the fifth generation to run sheep at Dog Trap. Dedication to breeding, consistent clip preparation along with an innovative and progressive approach to managing their farm has proved them deserving winners.
Mr. Alberto Barberis Canonico and Mr. Davide Fontaneto (Raw Procurement Manager), of Vitale Barberis Canonico presented Geoff and Cameron with the award, which included a cash prize to the value of $50K along with an all-expenses paid trip to Italy to meet with Vitale Barberis Canonico representatives in the Biella region of Italy. The Award provides a memorable experience for the winners who gain the opportunity to observe the transformation of their superior raw product through to luxurious fabrics.
“For many many years my family have been dedicated to wool, in particular saxon wool. It is wonderful to experience recognition for this great product, and it is a great honour and a priviledge to have won this prestigious award. We now have a real incentive to continue on our path. This club and competition gives us a drive and will to continue to produce this type of wool.” Cameron Wood, JW / Uralla.
Davide Fontaneto said of the winning clip, “The 2016/17 winning clip was very stylish saxon wool with a whiteness and resilience that made it a pleasure to behold. Each line was classed-out to be even in the main characteristics of crimp, length and strength. 30% of the clip we classed into our very best spinner lines and we were able to accept over 80% of the entire clip into the WEC contract. A wonderful effort from obviously very passionate wool producers”.
To be eligible for this significant award growers must be members of the VBC Wool Excellence Club. Members are specially selected by VBC using strict criteria, and must demonstrate sustainable wool production and notably the attributes of superfine saxon Merino wool which is most highly regarded by Vitale Barberis Canonico for their high-end fabric production.
The VBC Wool Excellence Award is just one of an array of initiatives created by the company to encourage saxon wool producers. All members of the Vitale Barberis Canonico Wool Excellence Club need to be accredited under the SustainaWOOL™ Integrity Scheme, a scheme sponsored by Vitale Barberis Canonico and managed by New England Wool. This is a scheme promoting ethical, environmental and high-quality wool production. VBC Wool Excellence Club members benefit from special “purchase contracts” at significant premiums to the physical market, and regular Club meetings where information can be shared between members and with Vitale Barberis Canonico.
“A strong relationship between woolgrowers and those at the other end of the supply chain selling wool fabrics to the world, is our most powerful tool in achieving excellence. With the right wool we make the right fabrics, fabrics matching the requirements of our final consumers. It is a virtuous chain where the first important link benefits from the success of the last.” Davide Fontaneto, VBC.
The Wood family, “Dog Trap”, Uralla, NSW (Brand: JW/URALLA)
Located in northern New South Wales in the wool growing region of New England, Dog Trap lies about 4 kilometres east of Uralla. With an extensive farming history the Wood family are long-time producers of quality superfine wool and are dedicated to breeding and wool preparation of the highest standard.
Settled in the late 1800s Dog Trap has been in the Wood family for over a century. The property was originally 300 acres, expanding to 900 acres in 1922, and today has grown to almost 4000 acres running 5,500 breeding ewes and 700 cattle.
Sheep have been part of the property’s history since its inception, but the family was originally known as horse breakers and Geoff’s grandfather was considered a well-known water diviner throughout central and southern Queensland.
Up until the mid-1980s a variety of different bloodlines were used when Geoff decided Dog Trap will become predominantly a superfine saxon wool growing enterprise. This breeding continues today, ultimately producing the type of wool that is sought after by the Vitale Barberis Canonico; traditional superfine saxon wool. “In 2000 we were fortunate enough to visit the Barberis factory in Italy. It was a real motivation for us to keep producing the type of wool we do”, Geoff Wood.
“At Dog Trap we are trying to produce a saxon based clip; 75mm, bright, with the majority based on the Hillcreston bloodline. For the past 50 or so years we’ve been trying to produce really bright, really fine crimping wool perfect for the VBC Wool Excellence Club contracts”, Cameron Wood.
Animal welfare and sustainability are paramount for the Woods, who are SustainaWOOL™ accredited, “Our living is our animals, so we make sure they are well looked after. If we don’t have healthy well-fed animals then we’re not doing our job properly and not being professional in what we do”, Simon Wood.
Geoff, Cameron and Simon work closely together and believe team work is imperative both on the farm and in the shed to achieve the best possible results. They employ thorough classing and preparation processes with systematic communication at each step to ensure consistency and the highest possible standards for their clip.
Geoff plans to hand over the reigns to Cameron and Simon, who in turn plan to carry on the tradition of breeding Saxon superfine wool. As Simon commented, “if we aren’t looking after our stock and environment, we are not thinking about the future of our families. We love this land. We need to be thinking 10, 20, 30 years into future and the decisions we make now are so important”.
Vitale Barberis Canonico Wool Excellence Award – Gallery 2017
Elenora rewarded with the VBC Wool Excellence Award for 2016
Garry and Sharon Meek, Elenora, Mininera, have won the Wool Excellence award from 350 year-old Italian luxury textile maker Vitale Barberis Canonico.
Dedication to the Saxon Merino breed has paid off for the Western District’s Meek family.
Garry and Sharon Meek, Elenora, Mininera, Victoria, have won the Wool Excellence award from 350 year-old Italian luxury textile maker Vitale Barberis Canonico. The Award was presented on 8th November at an exclusive function held at “Vue de Monde” in Melbourne attended by VBC Wool Excellence Club members and invited guests and media.
Mr and Mrs Meek are the third generation of woolgrowers on the property and have continued a 50-year tradition of breeding Saxon sheep based exclusively on Sierra Park bloodlines.
Besides the Saxon bloodline and careful breeding, Mr Meek’s skill in traditional classing and exceptional preparation has propelled the Elenora clip into the winner’s circle.
Vitale Barberis Canonico raw wool buyer Davide Fontaneto said the company was proud to award not only the wool but also the passion and the heritage behind the wool.
“The Meek family is committed to these fundamentals and the result of their hard work is fantastic wool,” Mr Fontaneto said.
“We award people, because only people can build the future. And only people who continue to build can have a bright future.”
All members of the Vitale Barberis Canonico Wool Excellence Club need to be accredited under the SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme, a scheme sponsored by Vitale Barberis Canonico and managed by their agency, New England Wool. This scheme promotes ethical, environmental and high quality wool production and members benefit from “purchase contracts” at significant premiums to the physical market
Vitale Barberis Canonico’s Phoebe Croyle and raw wool buyer Davide Fontaneto with the 2016 winners of the global Wool Excellence Award, Sharon and Garry Meek, Elenora, Mininera. Photo by Annabelle Beale.
The award presentation was attended by Alberto Barberis Canonico, Davide Fontaneto from VBC Italy and Phoebe Croyle, who manages the VBC Wool Excellence Club within Australia.
The Meeks’ prize included a cash prize of $50,000 along with an all-expenses paid trip to Italy to meet with Vitale Barberis Canonico representatives in the Biella region of Italy in mid-2017.
The November Award marks the pinnacle of the 2015/16 wool selling season, with the appraisal and judging of the very best wool suitable for Vitale Barberis Canonico from that wool selling season.
The winning wool clip displayed the unique Saxon style and character with a very traditional fine crimp. The staple was very dense and had a superior elasticity (resistance to compression), which is typical of the Saxon breed and passionately desired by Vitale Barberis Canonico.
Vitale Barberis Canonico employs more than 400 employees, has 40 agents throughout the world, and produces fabrics from two state-of-the-art factories in the Biella region of Italy.
Vitale Barberis Canonico Wool Excellence Award – Gallery 2016
Vitale Barberis Canonico Wool Excellence Award
Daryl & Irene Croake, “Oak Hills”, Pyramul (near Mudgee), NSW;
Everard & Matthew Linke and family, “Glenholme”, Tarrington, Victoria;
Desmond Manning & family, “Miena”, Lemont, Tasmania.
VITALE BARBERIS CANONICO WOOL EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR 2015 (For full story—Click to download PRESS RELEASE 2015 to the right of this page)
1st Place: Desmond Manning & family, “Miena”, Lemont, Tasmania (Pictured: Marie Boadle)
2nd Place : Daryl & Irene Croake, “Oak Hills”, Pyramul (near Mudgee), NSW
3rd Place: Everard & Matthew Linke and family, “Glenholme”, Tarrington, Victoria
The VBC Wool Excellence Award is just one of an array of initiatives created by the company to encourage saxon wool producers. The Vitale Barberis Canonico Wool Excellence Club members benefit from special purchase contracts at significant premiums to the physical market and regular Club meetings where information can be shared between members and with Vitale Barberis Canonico.
Mr Alberto Barberis Canonico explained the reasoning behind the creation of the Wool Excellence Club, and the financial opportunities it afforded to its members. “We do not see it so much as an obligation. It is not a moral thing. It is thinking to the future, for both our company and for those growers who wish to work with us,” he said.
Mr Davide Fontaneto, who is in charge of all raw material purchasing and processing, made a passionate speech outlining his goals for the VBC Wool Excellence Club and its members.
“VBC believes in the wool you produce. We can now give a better service to our customers by providing them the excellence of our fabrics, through the excellence of your wool. We are creating a direct line between the source and the consumer,” Mr Fontaneto said. “We have made a substantial financial commitment that puts the purchase of these wools at 25-30% more than the market.”
Second place was awarded to Daryl and Irene Croake, “Oak Hills”, Pyramul (via Mudgee NSW). The Croakes run 1,200 sheep on 242ha (615ac). The property is 1,000m above sea level and is covered in predominantly native grasses. The Croakes are no strangers to the podium having received numerous awards for fleece, bale and whole-clip competitions over a number of years.
Third place went to the Linke family, “Glenholme”, Tarrington (near Hamilton VIC). Glenholme is a family affair as well with Everard Linke and his son Matthew working closely together on their 220ha (560ac) block and are assisted by Everard’s wife Marilyn and daughter Olivia, especially at shearing time. Everard does all the shearing whilst Matthew oversees the classing and preparation of the clip. “Shearing can go on for weeks, even months,” said Matthew. “Every fleece here is treated with the utmost care and respect.”
All members of the Vitale Barberis Canonico Wool Excellence Club need to be accredited under the SustainaWOOL™ Integrity Scheme, an initiative developed and managed by New England Wool and strongly supported by Vitale Barberis Canonico This is a scheme promoting ethical, environmental and high quality wool production.
Vitale Barberis Canonico Wool Excellence Award – Gallery 2015
Launch and Presentation of Inaugural Award 2014
1st Place Katrina and Andrew Hawksford and Ronald and Lana
Hawksford – Andrew and Reg Hawksford (TPC/GLENBURNIE)
2nd Place “RON/NEW ENGLAND/WALCHA” Tracey Cameron, Davide Fontaneto (VBC), Fred Cameron
3rd Place “KINGSTON” Davide Fontaneto (VBC), Simon & Ann Louise Cameron (Owners), Lyndel Poole (Manager)
Speech made by Sig. Davide Fontaneto – Vitale Barberis Canonico Raw Material Buying Manager. 9th December, 2014 “THE QUAY”, Circular Quay, Sydney NSW.
We are here to celebrate an important history! The history of the “wool grower. This role was born with Australia and is symbolic of the Australian pride.
This is the story of those who spend their lives in the paddock, taking care of their animals, being deeply touched when a lamb is born or when a sheep has gone astray. It is the story of those who muster the mob for shearing and those who carefully prepare and classify the wool that will travel around the world.
This is the story of those who are ready to dedicate an entire year of their life until the last day when, in just a few minutes, at the fall of the hammer, the auctioneer will reveal the results of their hard work.
This is the story of those who have witnessed the changes in the world of wool, of those who rushed to Newcastle stepping onto the wooden show-floors. The story of those who passionately participated in crowded and busy auctions and of those who compare their own wool samples with their neighbour, secretly hoping to whisper “mine is indeed better!”
This is the story of those who are still in the auctions today where the hall is less full, and where there is less personal interaction but more a flood of numbers, created by a market that is less interested in this wonderful fibre.
This is the story of those who will not give up; refusing to produce numbers, but still devoted to tradition, quality, the merino saxon wool and challenging the market. It is the story of those who cherish their land and its heritage.
This is the story of a Company who believes in what these people do and encourages them to persevere. A Company who wants to walk together with the growers and to create a strong partnership. A Company who sees these people as not just suppliers of raw material, but as crucial members of the family.
This is the story of those who are here tonight.
Tonight we’re here to recognize the history, celebrate a successful future and build a wonderful friendship.