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Hunter Valley Wine Industry Awards - finalists announced for 2009
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The Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association is proud to announce the finalists in this year’s much anticipated Hunter Valley Wine Industry Awards. Now in its third year, the awards recognise and honour those who have made major contributions and excelled within the Hunter Valley Winemaking Industry.
Winners in each coveted category including the ‘Rising Star of the Year', ‘Winemaker of the Year', ‘Viticulturist of the Year’, and ‘Cellar Door of the Year’, will be awarded at the Hunter Valley Legends and Wine Awards Dinner to be held on Thursday, 28 May at Wyndham Estate. The gala event will also see a living Hunter Valley Wine Industry Legend inducted into this select and prestigious group, joining previously applauded Australian wine greats such as Brian McGuigan, Max Drayton, John Tulloch, Karl Stockhausen, Perc McGuigan, Max Lake, and Brian Walsh.
Iain Riggs, chairman, Hunter Valley Wine Industry and Legend Award Committee said "the high caliber of the nominations that the Hunter Valley Wine Industry has put forward reflects not only a pride in our viticulture and winemaking, but recognizes the depth of talent, with older wise heads up against youthful enthusiasm, male and female, large producer and small all featuring."
"Grapes and ferments are oblivious to world financial turmoil and the finalists have been selected in these awards because they continue to focus on the pursuit of excellence of Hunter Valley wines. The wine community will also honour an outstanding individual (or individuals) for their long term vision and commitment to the betterment of the Hunter Wine industry. They will be inducted as Hunter Valley Legend.
“To further enhance these awards, the Committee will approach an Australian wine media identity each year to have input into the selection of the Wine Industry Awards. We are grateful to Huon Hooke who has assisted over the previous two years and welcome for 2009, noted journalist and author, Campbell Mattinson," he said.
2009 also sees the introduction of an exciting new award, ‘The Heritage Award’ which will acknowledge landmarks or items of historical importance that have influenced the course of or made a significant contribution to the Hunter Valley Wine Industry. One Heritage Award per year will be bestowed upon a heritage or cultural icon of the Hunter Valley, which has been selected by the Legends Committee in consultation with previous Legend inductees.
The 2009 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Award finalists are:
WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR
This award recognises an outstanding Hunter Valley winemaker, who is a leader in their profession. It is judged based on a number of factors including experience, qualifications, winemaking techniques, experimentation or individual style resulting in unique wine styles produced. Quality judging skills, awards won, and ambassadorial work performed on behalf of the industry, also plays important roles within the criteria.
PJ Charteris — Brokenwood Wines Jim Chatto — Pepper Tree Wines Usher Tinkler — Pooles Rock
RISING STAR OF THE YEAR
This award recognises an aspiring star of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry. They can be involved in winemaking, vineyard management, marketing or sales and have made an outstanding contribution over the preceding twelve months, showing vast results and achievements.
Matt Burton — Wandin Valley Estate Sarah Crowe — Brokenwood Wines Nick Patterson — Chateau Pato/Mistletoe Wines
VITICULTURIST OF THE YEAR
This category awards an outstanding Viticulturist involved in the management of Hunter Valley vineyards. The criteria includes demonstration of vineyards that have achieved iconic status under the care of the nominee, any research and development undertaken to improve quality, and work that has resulted in better practice for the Hunter Valley as a whole.
Ian Tinkler — Tinklers Vineyard Rod Windrim — Krinklewood Vineyard Liz Riley — Vitibit
CELLAR DOOR OF THE YEAR
This award recognises excellence at the cellar door which largely influences over all public perception and image of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry. The criteria looks at customer service, internal facilities, and external presentation amongst number of other standards.
Brokenwood Wines Scarborough Wine co. Pepper Tree Wines
In 2009, a new format for nominating and voting was introduced to the Awards. For the Rising Star of the Year, Winemaker of the Year and Viticulturist of the Year Awards, nominations were invited from members of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association, with one nomination per member, per category. Candidates who satisfied the entire nomination criteria and received the most nominations made the finalist short list. Individual Award Selection panels then decide on a winner in each category.
Finalists selected by the Cellar Door Selection Panel, post nomination, are visited anonymously by external and independent judges and the Cellar Door exhibiting the best of the criteria will be selected for this award.
Following a nomination process for the Legend Inductee, a Legends Awards Committee ensures that all the criteria within the category have been satisfied. Previous Legend Inductees then vote on an Inductee and a winner is selected based on a point system.
The judging process for all award categories has now commenced.
Today, the Hunter Valley Wine Industry boasts in excess of 140 wine companies, producing approximately 39m litres of wine annually, which is worth more than A$270m. In addition, the area attracts over 2.5m visitors per year, both of which significantly underpin the region's economy.
The Hunter Valley Legends and Wine Industry Awards give Hunter Valley winemakers the opportunity to acknowledge and thank their peers for playing a significant role in the growth and development of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry. The area is Australia’s oldest winemaking region made up of many families, both old and new all working together to ensure the Hunter vineyards and their iconic wines can be enjoyed today and by future generations.