NIAB chief executive Dr Tina Barsby presented the award to Syngenta's onion and leek product specialist Nigel Kingston and product business manager Michel Bremaud at the UK Onion & Carrot Conference gala dinner in Peterborough at the end of last month.
"The NIAB's Variety Cup is awarded to the most promising new variety from the entire spectrum of horticultural, ornamental and agricultural crops," said Barsby.
"It was first awarded in 1986 for the cauliflower White Rock. Since then there has only been one other vegetable winner, again a cauliflower variety, in 1997. Last year, malting barley variety Pearl won."
NIAB vegetable specialist Bruce Napier explained that Vision was an obvious choice because of its storage characteristics. "Vision is an early-maturing onion variety with good skin and bulb quality and a high yield. But the variety's outstanding storage ability singled it out. We believe it demonstrates a significant step forward in breeding compared to its competitors."
Vision recorded the best performance in both ambient and cold storage regime trials in 2008. It was also the top-yielding onion in the NIAB's replicated trials in 2009 at the sites in Essex and Norfolk.
Kingston commented: "I am honoured to collect this award on behalf of our breeder, Thaam Wijnker. This is very special because it's the first time that an onion has won. It highlights the tremendous improvements made in long-term storage characteristics and environmental considerations achieved by Thaam and his team."
He added: "It also reflects recent advances made by the entire sector - seed companies, advisers, growers, packers and supermarkets. Looking back on my 22 years in the seed trade, I believe it is an exciting time to be part of the onion industry."
Bremaud said: "Syngenta Seeds is committed to bringing innovative varieties to market and has an excellent range of onions with promising new numbers coming through. We would like to thank the industry and the NIAB for this recognition."