Legends of the Hunter Valley celebrates operators and producers

Legends 2022 Winners Photo by Elfes Images

Now in its 15th year, the 2022 Hunter Valley Legends & Wine Industry Awards saw a record number of Hunter Valley wine and tourism businesses recognised for excellence, commitment and quality.

The gala dinner saw the introduction of four new awards, acknowledging the contribution of leading individuals and leading operators within both the wine and tourism industries.

The public perception and profile of the Hunter Valley is highly influenced by the quality of the experiences visitors to the Hunter Valley enjoy.

Reflecting the important of the overall visitor experience, the judging committee this year added two new awards to recognise excellence in businesses within the wider tourism industry.

Liz Silkman was named First Creek Winemaking Services 2022 Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year.

Liz previously won the prestigious title in 2011 and 2016 and becomes the first Winemaker to win this award three times. As custodian of both the Silkman and First Creek wine brands and a number of other wine companies, Liz has shown great commitment to flexibly delivering multiple award-winning wines.

The Jurds 2022 Viticulturist of the Year was awarded to Jerome Scarborough of Scarborough Wine Co. Jerome’s innovation, sustainable vineyard practices and commitment to industry development were praised by the judges.

Previously the Award for Excellence, this year’s 2022 Outstanding Contribution by an Individual was awarded to Christina Tulloch, CEO, Tulloch Wines.

During her nine years as CEO of Tulloch Wines and two years as President of the Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association, Tulloch’s commitment to the Hunter Valley Wine Industry, the community and personalities within it, and its promotion and protection was described as exemplary.

Briar Ridge Vineyard winemaker, Alex Beckett, took out the title of Riedel 2022 Hunter Valley Young Achiever of the Year.

This award recognises an individual, less than 35 years of age, working in the Hunter Valley and their contribution to the development of a vibrant and professional wine and tourism industry. In his 13 years in the industry, Alex has risen quickly, acting as a strong advocate for the Hunter Valley within the media, and was recently accepted into the Institute of Masters of Wine Study.

Young talent in the Hunter Valley takes its inspiration from those who have succeeded before. Inducting this year’s 28th and 29th Living Legends, Master of Ceremonies and 2021 Living Legend Iain Riggs AM thanked Neil McGuigan, 2022 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Living Legend and Philip Hele OAM, 2022 Hunter Valley Tourism Industry Living Legend for their significant contributions over a combined 60 years plus.

The McGuigan and Hele families are names synonymous with the Hunter Valley. Neil’s passion for delivering innovative, quality wine to the world is evident in the entire Australian Vintage portfolio and was paramount during his role as Chief Winemaker for the McGuigan brand.

For the past three decades, Philip, owner and General Manager of Hunter Valley Resort, has been at the forefront of shaping the Hunter wine and tourism industries and promoting them to an international audience.

After close to 50 years of active service to the industry, Brian McGuigan AM was announced as Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association Honorary Patron. Guests acknowledged and celebrated Brian’s incredibly valuable contribution and long-term dedication to the Association and wider industry.


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