Wine's best acknowledged at awards

THE Hunter Valley Wine Industry will come together at Lindeman's winery, for the sixth annual Hunter Valley Legends and Wine Industry Awards on Thursday, May 24 to celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals throughout the region. 

The Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association (HVWIA) is proud to announce this year's finalists in the categories of Winemaker of the Year, Rising Star of the Year, Viticulturist of the Year and Cellar Door of the Year.

The Laffort Winemaker of the Year award recognises an outstanding Hunter Valley winemaker who is a leader in their profession.  It is judged based on experience, qualifications, winemaking techniques, experimentation or individual style resulting in unique wine styles produced. 

1. Jim Chatto - Pepper Tree Wines
2. Peter Hall - McGuigan Wines
3. Nick Paterson - Dogliani Winemaking & Consulting
4. Usher Tinkler - Poole's Rock Wines & Tinklers

The Riedel Rising Star of the Year award recognises an aspiring star of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry who has made an outstanding contribution over the preceding 12 months, showing vast results and achievements.

1. Sally Scarborough -Scarborough Wines Co
2. Chris Tyrrell - Tyrrell's Wines
3. Phil LeMessurier - Thomas Wines

The Compost for Soils Viticulturist of the Year awards an outstanding Viticulturist involved in the management of Hunter Valley vineyards. The criteria include demonstration of vineyards that have achieved single vineyard status, and research and development.

1. Carl Davies - Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard
2. Phil Swannell - Pokolbin Estate Vineyard & Belebula Vineyard

The CBA Local Business Banking Cellar Door of the Year award recognises excellence at the cellar door, which largely influences the overall public perception and image of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry.

1. Ballabourneen Wine Company
2. Bimbadgen
3. Hungerford Hill Wines
4. Margan Family Wines

HVWIA president, Andrew Margan said that he was delighted that these well regarded wine industry professionals were nominated for the coveted awards.

"It's important to celebrate the new blood that is running through this well respected wine region, and the excellent work they are doing to help maintain what the Hunter Valley is well known for, great quality wine.

"The caliber of the candidates each year is outstanding, and there could have easily been many finalists in each category. All of them should be congratulated," Mr. Margan said.

Each year the winners of the Rising Star, Viticulturist, and Winemaker of the Year are judged by panels that include past winners, industry leaders and a guest media judge. The 2012 guest judge is the well respected wine industry identity, Nick Ryan.

The Hunter Valley Legends and Wine Industry Awards Dinner will culminate in the induction of a new Living Legend, which is awarded in acknowledgement of a lifetime of service to the Hunter Valley. Previous Legends Inductees include Max Drayton (2007), John Tulloch (2007), Karl Stockhausen (2007), Perc McGuigan (2007), Max Lake (2007), Brian Walsh (2007), Brian McGuigan (2008), Jay Tulloch (2009), Bruce Tyrrell (2009), Fay McGuigan(2009), Phil Ryan (2009), Christopher Barnes AM (2010), and Don McWilliam (2011).

The Heritage Award, which honours the 176 year history of the Hunter Valley as Australia's oldest commercial wine region, will also be presented on the evening.  The recipient of this award is selected by the Living Legends, with previous Heritage Awards going to Uncle Dan's Hut at Tyrrell's Wines, Drayton's Old Winery, Audrey Wilkinson Vineyards 'Old Vats', The Ben Ean Winery 'Old Still House,' and Mount Pleasant Winery 'Maurice O'Shea Mount Pleasant Label.

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