Vale Kym Ludvigsen

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Viticulture isn’t usually thought of as a dangerous occupation, but there are many ways to come unstuck, as my father used to say. Kym Ludvigsen, one of our most inspirational viticultural leaders, was run over and killed by his vehicle while working in his vineyard, on December 3.

Kym was planting tempranillo vines, and the utility was parked on a slope, out of gear. The handbrake proved defective and Kym, 61, died at the scene.

When I was a wine student at Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1980 one of the many interesting people I met was this fellow ‘mature age’ student with a massive moustache and a likeable, knockabout, no-bullshit personality.

After graduating Kym worked for Southcorp, based at Seppelt’s Great Western winery. He was Victorian and Tasmanian vineyard manager for Southcorp from 1994 to 2001. Later, he planted his own vineyard near the well-known Westgate vineyard just outside Great Western. He was deeply involved in viticultural and wine promotion organisations; he was a great communicator and an inspirational speaker, in demand at seminars and workshops; he published a monthly viticultural newsletter and contributed to viticulture journals.

In 2001, Wine Victoria presented him with a Distinguished Service Award. A few years ago he started his own label with his mate, Montara winemaker Leigh Clarnette. The 2010 Clarnette & Ludvigsen Grampians Shiraz (tasting) is a beauty and the 2012 is due for release very soon. But it was probably the legion of vineyard workers that Kym inspired, on whom he left his biggest mark. We need more people like him. He is survived by his wife Donna, son Soren and daughter Anika.

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