By Amelia Ball

The second annual Hunter Valley Legends Dinner was held last night, with more than 200 members of the wine community gathering at Wyndham Estate for the big event.

Created to celebrate the local industry, the evening bestowed a number of honours on key community figures while also providing the opportunity to reflect on colleagues lost over the past 12 months. Guests watched an emotional montage that paid respect to the two late winemakers, Alasdair Sutherland of Capercaillie Wines and Trevor Drayton of Drayton’s Family Wines.

Winemaker of the Year went to Andrew Thomas of Thomas Wines, who dedicated his award to the late Sutherland. Thomas won the award against stiff competition including Jim Chatto from Pepper Tree Wines and Phil Ryan of McWilliam’s.

Ken Bray from Hunter Vineyard Management Services was awarded Viticulturist of the Year against Keith Barry, Cliff Currie and Brett Keeping.

The Rising Star of the Year award went to Poole’s Rock winemaker Usher Tinkler, who nudged ahead of fellow finalists Daniel Binet from Capercaillie Wines and Will Rickard Bell from Drayton Family Wines.

McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant was awarded Cellar Door of the Year against Margan Family Wines, Audrey Wilkinson and Brokenwood.

Following the tradition initiated at last year’s inaugural event, the evening also inducted another industry veteran into the Hunter Valley Living Legends, presented to Brian McGuigan by father and fellow Living Legend, Perc McGuigan.

Brian McGuigan spoke passionately about the Hunter and the need for the region to keep communicating the Hunter messages to the masses.

McGuigan joins Karl Stockhausen, Max Lake, Brian Walsh, John Tulloch and Max Drayton as Living Legends of our time.

The Shout Team

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