Published on 07 July 2024

Awarding-winning Onkaparinga

A grocer, a baker, a local winemaker. Meet the region’s latest award winners in this edition of Award-winning Onkaparinga.

Big day for biodiversity

Biodiversity McLaren Vale has taken out the Australian Community Partnerships Landcare Award at the 2024 SA Landcare Awards for collaboration between the community, industry and government.

The group’s more than 500 volunteers – over the life of the group – have contributed in excess of 11,000 hours to re-establish native biodiversity in the McLaren Vale region. They’ve removed invasive weeds and reintroduced more than 55,000 native plants across 52 sites.

A high note

The 40-piece Onkaparinga City Concert Band is striking up high notes, taking out third place at the 2024 National Band Championships in the B-grade Concert Band category.

“We practised for six months to perfect the four pieces we had to play – a hymn, a march, a tune of our own choice, and a set piece all bands had to play,” says Terry Bickley, the band’s musical director.

“It meant a lot to play in front of a large audience and do so well. Our success has helped raised the band’s profile.”

Rising to the top

Christies Beach baker CJ’s Bakery has chalked up more national wins. Their victories are sweet – and savoury.

CJ’s has come home with silver ribbons for a traditional jam donut in the class 1 category of the National Donut Competition and for a ciabatta loaf in the class 3 category of the National Artisan Baking Competition.

Pick of the bunch

For the third year in a row, Adelaide Fresh Fruiterers has won the title of National and South Australian Retailer of the Year from the 2024 ‘A Better Choice’ People’s Choice Awards.

Owner of the Morphett Vale shop, Dino Labbozzetta, puts the win down to old-fashioned customer service and quality produce.

“Our customers feel like family. They know our top-quality fruit and veg will last longer once in their fridge at home,” he says. “I love the people I work with and the fruit and veg industry itself. I love seeing the customers’ satisfaction when they have come in-store and leave happy.”

Australian honours

Sandra and Trevor Sharp have each received a Medal of the Order of Australia in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours.

They’ve been volunteering since 1979, supporting bodies such as the Rotary Club, the McLaren Vale Business & Tourism Association, and the annual McLaren Vale Vintage & Classic car event.

Sandra served as a City of Onkaparinga councillor for six years from 1997 to 2003.

Top marks

Woodcroft College has been recognised as a 5-Star Employer of Choice by The Educator – the only school in the state to receive the award.

Woodcroft received its outstanding rating for creating an exceptional workplace, under the leadership of principal Shannon Warren.

Crushing victories

Lloyd Brothers 2022 McLaren Vale Estate Blend GSM won the Grenache Blends trophy at the 2024 National Wine Show, while Chalk Hill Wines’ 2022 Alpha Crucis Old Vine Grenache took out the Grenache trophy.

Penny’s Hill’s 2023 Yeenunga Single Vineyard McLaren Vale Grenache won Best Grenache in Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards, the world’s biggest wine awards.

D’Arenberg’s The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 was listed in The Real Review as one of Australia’s top 10 wines that connoisseurs must try.

McLaren Vale winemaker Andre Bondar of Bondar Wines features in the 2025 Halliday Wine Companion Shortlist for best winemaker of the year. He’s accompanied by Samson Tall, also in McLaren Vale, which is shortlisted as a dark horse winery.

Vaunted village

Willunga was shortlisted in this year’s SA Top Tourism Town Awards. The awards recognise towns in South Australia that offer amazing visitor experiences and a strong commitment to tourism.

Willunga is a worthy finalist with its farmer’s market, boutique accommodation, heritage main street, and long list of artisans, wine producers and top-class restaurants.

Professional plaudits

City of Onkaparinga staff won two awards at the Local Government Professionals SA Leadership Excellence Awards. Trevor Ashenden, the council’s Coordinator of Community Safety and Fire Prevention Officers, won the Emerging Leader award. The Active Ageing Team won the Excellence in Community Services and Development award for its Living Well Matters program.

And other recent winners…

See Onkaparinga Now’s stories on great recent wins by local lifesavers and members of the LGBTIQA+ community.


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