Each year the Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism legend award recognises the outstanding contribution by an individual to the Mornington Peninsula tourism industry.
Last night we were honoured to learn it had been awarded to Garry Crittenden.
Announced at Moonah Links golf course by last year’s recipient, Max Paganoni from Max’s at Red Hill Estate, the award was presented to Garry in front of industry colleagues and the State Minister for Tourism, The Hon John Eren MP.
Over the years Garry has served on many industry and tourism bodies at a regional, state and federal level, always taking a broad view of the importance of industry cooperation.
A major driver and strategist for tourism growth for over 25 years, he played a lead role in the very first umbrella-peninsula tourism group when he headed up the Mornington Peninsula Tourism Forum. “It’s fair to say that in the years that MPTF was in place, it catapulted us from a sleepy backwater of holiday homes for the rich, to a must visit year-round destination, helped in no small part by the burgeoning wine industry.” Garry said.
Garry has always recognised the importance of tourism and engaging the customer. It was 1992, when we opened our first official cellar door and with it the first winery café on the Peninsula. It was early days, but Garry and Margaret recognised the importance of pairing a food and wine experience and helping to promote the Peninsula as a food and wine destination.
Garry said, “It’s wonderful to see how the destination has grown and evolved over those years The Mornington Peninsula is now recognised nationally as a premium food and wine destination.”
In his acceptance speech, Garry acknowledged the work and innovation of his wife Margaret in establishing the restaurant and Cellar Door at Crittenden Estate, “While I was at a wine tasting event in London for Australia Day, showcasing Australian wine, unbeknown to me, Margaret was at home working with draftsman and creating the concept for what our food and wine experience was to become. This award is a reflection of Margaret’s contribution, just as much as it is mine.”
In 2012, Garry was inducted as a Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Legend. This was recognising his pioneering work introducing new Italian grape varietals to Victoria, for his commitment to the development of the Mornington Peninsula wine region and inspiring many Australian winemakers.