New England woolgrowers win first Italian wool award

Sheep Central, December 10, 2014
Hawksford family VBC award Dec 2014

New England woolgrowers Andrew and Katrina Hawksford, left, with Andrew’s father, Reginald Hawksford.

NSW superfine woolgrowing family the Hawksfords of Kentucky has won the inaugural Vitale Barberis Canonico Wool Excellence Award.

The New England area woolgrowing family was given the award by VBC raw material procurement manager Davide Fontaneto at a gala function in Sydney last night.

Vitale Barberis Canonico is an Italian fabric mill established in 1663 and remained a family-owned business for 15 generations. Vitale Barberis Canonico partners with some of the most famous fashion brands in the world, including Brooks Brothers, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Moncler, Armani, Ferragamo, Canali, Corneliani, M.J. Bale, Paul Smith UK, Louis Vuitton, Berluti and Hermès.

Award supports sound, stylish fine wool

Mr Fontaneto said the award was designed to support and encourage professional and serious superfine wool growers who endeavour to produce sound, stylish, fine crimping wool which is paramount for VBC to produce a good fabric. It aims to reward producers of wool clips that exhibit excellence in line with the fibre and preparation standards set by the Vitale Barberis Canonico woollen mill.

The award is managed by Vitale Barberis Canonico with the support of its procurement agent in Australia, New England Wool Pty Ltd, and promotes sustainable production of superfine Saxon wool with a particular emphasis on wool produced under natural pastoral and grazing conditions, and with the highest regard for the environment and the animal.

Mr Fontaneto said unfortunately, there is an oversupply of poor quality superfine wool.

“Our strength comes from aspiring to the highest quality in all that we do and we wish to acknowledge and collaborate with those Australian wool growers who do the same.

“This award is a tangible demonstration of our profound appreciation for this select group of Australian wool growers’ valuable work,” he said.

Three properties were selected as finalists for the inaugural wool excellence award and judged under strict criteria, including wool quality and sustainable wool production objectives. These properties were selected from the wool produced in the 2013/14 wool selling season.

Second place went to Kenneth (Fred) and Tracey Cameron, of Walcha with their clip brand, RON/NEW ENGLAND/WALCHA.

Third place was awarded to the KINGSTON clip in Tasmania. Owners Simon and Ann Louise Cameron and manager Lyndel Poole were on-hand to collect their award.

Glenburnie brand synonymous with quality

Mr Fontaneto said the Hawksford’s TPC/GLENBURNIE wool brand was synonymous with quality.

“At VBC, we keep a record of every wool clip purchased for our use; we have been collecting this data for over 20 years.

“The Hawksford’s clip appears time and time again in our data, and a very high proportion of their production is selected in our very best types,” he said.

“I am not talking about a few bales.

“I am talking about commercial quantities of the highest quality wool. This is what the wool excellence award is all about.”

Glenburnie operation is a team effort

The Glenburnie clip was represented by four Hawksford family members in Sydney — Andrew, Katrina, Ronald and Lana Hawksford.

Andrew Hawksford accepted the award, saying his family was thrilled and humbled. He paid tribute to his family and everyone who helped in the day-to-day running of the property, especially his elderly father, Reg, who is still active on the property.

“It is a real team effort.

“I do not do this all by myself,” Andrew said.

“What I can say is that everyone involved at ‘Glenburnie’ has a pride in what they do and the goal is always to achieve the very best.

“I suppose this award is a validation of our hard work and ethic.”

The Hawksfords received a trophy designed by Vitale Barberis Canonico, along with business class return airfares to Italy and a monetary prize equal to the full delivered value of all the wool purchased by Vitale Barberis Canonico in the 2013/14 season.

Award criteria supports pain-relief

All Australian wool growers who have supplied their paddock-grown wool to Vitale Barberis Canonico within the wool selling season (July 1 to June 30) will be eligible for subsequent awards. Clips must be classed to AWEX standards by a registered professional or owner-classer. Only Pain Relief-declared wool from a mulesed flock is eligible and properties must have used a registered pain-relief product for at least three years.

Clips must be accompanied by a completed National Vendor Declaration form and all finalists need to complete a ‘sustainability document’ from New England Wool, covering animal welfare and care for the environment. Winners of the award will be ineligible to receive the prize for five years.

Source: AWI, Vitale Barberis Canonico


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