Medal awarded by the Department of Agriculture at the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, Champion Prize of Australia for dry wine, to Hans W.H. Irvine in 1900.
Hans William Henry Irvine, born in Melbourne in 1856, was a successful vigneron and politician, and was known as the 'wine king of Australia'. His largest holding was the Great Western winery, which he owned from 1888-1918. In the early 1890s Irvine purchased two-thirds of the produce of local vignerons, much of which was distilled into his brandy. He also became known for his claret, hock, chablis, burgundy, hermitage, sparkling hock and sparking burgandy. He was an effective self-promoter, and in 1982 entertained the Victorian governor in lavish style. He also pioneered wine advertising. Irvine was particularly interested in the science of wine-making, and used the latest technologies in his cellars. These contributed to his success at a time when so many other Victorian wine-makers were struggling.
In 1892 he was commissioned by the Victorian minister of agriculture to write a report on the Australian wine trade. Two years later he suggested a conference of vignerons to discuss problems facing the industry, and supported the proposal for a college of viticulture and the introduction of phylloxera-resistant American root stocks. He encouraged industry self-regulation through an elected board, the establishment of regional wineries and cheaper finance for investors in the wine industry. He travelled to Europe several times to learn wine-making techniques and arrange sales.
Five years after this medal was awarded he became the first president of the Viticultural Society of Victoria.
"The Irvine Wine Collection was acquired by Museum Victoria in 1989. It represents the history of the Great Western Vineyard and the achievements of Hans William Henry Irvine, vigneron and politician, from 1888 until 1922. It comprises 130 items ranging from publications, marketing items, packaging materials, wine labels, award medals, ceramics, illuminated address, commemorative trowel, trophy plaques, wine makers tools, and silverware."
A gold prize medal (15 ct., 31 mm diameter with loop and ring) with the obverse of the Department of Agriculture of Victoria featuring a rural scene with horse, sheep, cow and pig in the foreground and farmer reaping wheat in the background; combined with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Champion Prize of Australia reverse.
At centre surmounted by crown an agricultural scene; around, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE VICTORIA
At centre, CHAMPION PRIZE / OF / AUSTRALIA / AWARDED BY DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE / TO HANS W.H. IRVINE / FOR DRY WINE; around, .1900 . THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA
Obverse: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE VICTORIA At centre, CHAMPION PRIZE OF AUSTRALIA AWARDED BY DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE TO HANS W.H. IRVINE FOR DRY WINE . 1900 . THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA
Type of item
15.01 g (Weight)
Height with loop extended 40 mm
Round with loop