The winning woolgrower congratulated by The Woolmark Company and Loro Piana during the award ceremony in Hong Kong.
After 14 Australian wins, affirming the leadership of the Australian wool industry and the commitment of Australian woolgrowers throughout the 16 editions of the cup, the award for 2012 has been presented to ‘Lindis Ridges’, a New Zealand farm owned by Anna Emmerson, taking out the prize with a bale of 10.6 micron.
‘Pyrenees Park’ owners Pamela and Robert Sandlant equalled the record for the finest wool bale to have been produced in Australia, with the Victorian woolgrowers producing a bale of 11.1 micron. Every year Loro Piana engages Australian and New Zealand wool producers in the challenge, involving a jury formed by the presidents of the Australian Superfine Wool Growers’ Association and the director of the New Zealand Stud Merino Breeders Society. The panel is called upon to judge certified bales of wool which must comply with specific weight, length and strength standards, to be allowed into the competition.
The Woolmark Company, the world’s leading authority of Merino wool and symbol of Australia’s wool quality, has partnered with Loro Piana since 2011 in the award event, as a way to celebrate the commitment of Australian woolgrowers. Indeed, thanks to their passion and to constant improvement of breeding techniques, Australian Merino wool has achieved an extremely high standard of fineness and quality.
The award ceremony took place yesterday in Hong Kong, where Loro Piana hosted an exclusive event to honour the commitment and professionalism of Australian and New Zealand woolgrowers, who constantly work to improve Merino wool. The Woolmark Company took part in the award ceremony, representing the engagement of all Australian woolgrowers to produce this precious natural fibre to the highest levels of excellence.
“Woolmark thanks Loro Piana for the establishment of the Challenge Cup, a concrete support and a stimulus to the breeders to achieve the highest levels of quality, and congratulates ‘Pyrenees Park’ for representing the country in the 2012 Record Bale,” commented Australian Wool Innovation and The Woolmark Company CEO, Stuart McCullough, before the ceremony.
Loro Piana Group CEO, Pier Luigi Loro Piana, said: “This award celebrates the professionalism, the skills and the passion so typical of these farms. Thanks to their constant efforts, the wool industry can count on quality and fineness, which was unconceivable more than 10 years ago. It is indeed about 2.5 microns lower compared to those days.”
In 2000, Loro Piana instituted this annual Challenge to obtain an increasingly higher wool quality and to support the breeders in their constant research of the best raw materials. Every year, the best Australian bale and the best New Zealander bale, produced in the previous solar year, are selected. An authoritative jury that includes the presidents of the Superfine Wool Growers’ Association and by the director of the New Zealand Stud Merino Breeders Society certifies that each one respects specific characteristics of weight, length and tenacity. The Challenge Cup is thus assigned to the finest between the two. When the fibre is the finest ever produced, it earns the title of World Wool Record Bale.
Loro Piana has always purchased this bale, treasuring it as an icon, also in view of the fact that until a finer wool bale is purchased, the previous one cannot be transformed into fabric. Rare and precious as fine gemstones, the Record Bale fabrics represent the pinnacle of the production of fine wools. They boast exclusive designs and are distinguished by a special label that documents the year of shearing, its provenience and the fibre’s finesse. Only about 40 suits, dedicated to true connoisseurs are obtained from the 150 meters of the Record Bale. The buyers of the Record Bale fabrics benefit from a pre-emption right on future allotments so as to collect, year after year, the entire gamut.
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