By Andy Young
The winners of the 2015 Hunter Valley Legends Awards were named at the region's night of nights on Thursday, which was held at Brokenwood Wines.
Five category winners were named before the induction of a new Hunter Valley wine industry legend.
Ken Bray, the owner of Braemore vineyard, who has contributed over 40 years to the Hunter Valley wine industry was named as this year's living legend.
In accepting his award Bray told the 250 people in attendance that it was a "great privilege to receive this recognition", adding that he was "humbled" to be named a Hunter Valley Legend.
Bray, who has contributed to the region through his own vineyard management business and the region's viticultural sub-committee, added: "We do what we do because we love this industry."
The evening also saw other awards presented, including Michael De Iuiis named as the region's 2015 winemaker of the year. De Iuiis, who has completed the Future Leaders Program was recognised not only for his winemaking skills but also "his tireless contribution to the Hunter Valley community."
The Rising Star of the Year award went to Troy and Megan Rhoades-Brown, who own and run Muse Restaurant and who cited "hard work, sacrifice, passion and determination" as the keys to their success.
The Cellar Door of the Year award was presented to Tyrrell's Wines, which was recognised for its broad range on offer at the cellar, "catering to the budget of a wide range of wine enthusiasts."
Michael Paterson, the cellar door manager, said that "every cellar door needs a story and we have the right people to tell that story."
Andrew Margan of Margan Family Wines was named the Viticulturist of the Year, Margan, who was an apprentice to Murray Tyrrell, told the crowd, "if you can't find a good answer to why you are doing what you do, you should question what you are doing."
The evening's other award was the Hunter Valley Award for Excellence, which went to Melissa Romeyn who has worked for various associations that have been representing the Hunter Valley's wine and tourism industries for many years.
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