The 2019 Hunter Valley Legends & Wine Industry Awards have taken place and honoured the year’s best people in the region’s wine industry.
The awards, which are now in their 13th year, saw more than 300 people gather at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley to pay homage to the industry stalwarts who have contributed significantly to the Hunter Valley wine and tourism industries.
This year’s award winners included:
- RSN Australia Hunter Valley 2019 Rising Star of the Year
- Angus Vinden – Vinden Estate Wines
- Laffort Australia Hunter Valley 2019 Viticulturist of the Year
- Brett Keeping – Two Rivers Wines
- Australian Wine Selectors Hunter Valley 2019 Cellar Door of the Year
- Brokenwood Wines
- First Creek Winemaking Services Hunter Valley 2019 Winemaker of the Year
- Adrian Sparks – Mount Pleasant Wines
- Hunter Valley Wine Industry 2019 Heritage Award
- Pokolbin Memorial Gates
- Hunter Valley 2019 Award for Excellence
- Brian McGuigan (AM)
Sparks is just the fifth person to hold the post of Chief Winemaker at Mount Pleasant and was understandably delighted with the win.
“I’m honoured and humbled to be named Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year,” Sparks said. “The Hunter Valley is such a remarkable place and at Mount Pleasant I have the privilege of working with exceptional vineyards that produce amazing wines that speak to their unique origins.”
“There is a lot of creativity happening in the Hunter region which is really exciting to explore from both the perspective of a winemaker and wine lover. As one of the Hunter Valley’s pioneering wineries, Mount Pleasant has an incredible story and one that is best shared by enjoying our range of wines that capture O’Shea’s spirit of innovation.”
The highest honour in the awards is presented to wine and tourism luminaries who have reached ‘Living Legend’ status through more than 30 years’ continuous involvement in the industry.
This year, the Wine Legend award was presented to Greg Silkman, owner of First Creek Winemaking Services and highly-regarded industry leader. Having first arrived in the Hunter in 1985 to establish Tamburlaine Wines and has made his mark as a winemaker at various iconic wineries in the region.
The winners of the Tourism Legend Award were Bill Roche (AM) and Imelda Roche (AO), who were honoured for their establishment of the much-loved Hunter Valley Gardens.
Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association Vice President, Brian McGuigan said he was honoured to be among the winners, and congratulated and noted the many contributions to an industry which had reaped international recognition as a premier wine and food destination because of the hard work of its many passionate custodians.
“It’s no easy feat to make such an indelible mark on an industry that is so widely revered. The Hunter Valley is the oldest and most visited wine region in Australia by overseas tourists, thanks to the hard work, caretaking and vision of all our winners,” McGuigan said.