Cullen Wines celebrates 50 years and awards John Jens for excellence

Cullen Wines celebrated their 50th anniversary and presented John Jens with the 2021 Cullen Award for Excellence at a dinner on June 5, 2021.

More than 100 guests turned out in black tie and evening wear to honour the legacy of Diana Madeline and Dr Kevin John Cullen, co-founders of Cullen Wines.

The highlight of the evening was the announcement of this year's Cullen Award for Excellence recipient, John Jens, who accepted the honour to a standing ovation and gave an entertaining and theatrical speech.

His brothers Damian, Neil and Paul Jens congratulated John via video link up, as their travel plans from Melbourne were dashed due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

John Henry Jens has long nurtured a love of fine wine; he had collected 180 bottles of Penfolds Grange by the tender age of 24.

He started his first wine wholesale operation in 1981 representing Margaret River's most prominent names including Ashbrook Estate, Pierro, Moss Wood and Cullen.

Mr Jens setup liquor stores under the John Jens Fine Wine banner and in 1990 was a founding partner in Devil's Lair Wines.

Since 2007 Mr Jens has worked during the day in wine importing and retailing and at night as a sommelier for his wife Kate Lamont in the Lamonts restaurants.

Simone Furlong of Leeuwin Estate delivered the award speech on behalf of her family, the Horgans, who won the 2019 award. She acknowledged John Jens' steadfast commitment to Margaret River wine and praised the warmth and charisma that make him such an engaging spokesperson.

Wine writer Erin Larkin spoke of Mr Jen's great enthusiasm in a personal speech, detailing his generosity and mentorship as they work together promoting Western Australian wines.