Liz Riley wins NSW Legend of the Vine Award

Winner of the NSW Legend of the Vine Award, Liz Riley. Photo: Nicholas Mamone -The M1 Group.

Viticulturist, board director, and educator Liz Riley has been honoured for her years of contribution to the Australian wine industry with the NSW Legend of the Vine Award at the 2023 Sydney Royal Wine Show trophy winner’s lunch on Friday (18th August).

Based in the Hunter Valley, Riley has held a number of positions in the wine industry, but is best known in her viticultural consultant business, Vitibit, which has been in operation since 2000.

She has contributed to the industry as both a leading viticulturist and as a member of several industry boards such as the AWRI, Freshcare, and Landcare NSW. Most recently, Riley became an educator at Tocal College in NSW, passing on her skills in pest & diseases, pruning and biosecurity.

Riley said she was “honoured and humbled” by the recognition.

Executive chair of Wine Communicators of Australia (WCA), Angus Barnes said of the announcement, “WCA is delighted to be able to honour Liz’s many contributions to the wine industry. Liz often works quietly behind the scenes, but her contribution is long and lasting.

“During the bushfires and smoke events of the 2020 vintage, Riley worked to ensure that NSW producers and growers could get their grapes and wine tested for smoke damage. This led to businesses being able to make much better decisions about how to treat that particularly difficult season. For this work, she was given the 2021 Award for Excellence by the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association.”

Riley is the eleventh person to be awarded the Legend of the Vine status in NSW, and joins a prestigious national list including Andrew Caillard MW, Sandra Przibilla, Lyndey Milan, Huon Hooke, Clive Hartley, Iain Riggs, Rob Hirst and David Lowe.

Riley has been further recognised for her outstanding contribution to the NSW Wine industry by being the first ever female recipient of the NSW DPI Graham Gregory Award 2020, as well as being name the viticulturist of the year by the Wine Magazine 2022, the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) in 2017 and the Hunter Valley Wine Tourism Association in 2011.

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