Winemaker of the Year and Viticulturist of the Year announced

Image: 2022 Winemaker of the Year Adam Wadewitz. Photo by Chris Crerar

Adelaide Hills-based winemaker Adam Wadewitz has been named Winemaker of the Year (WOTY) for 2022 by the Wine Magazine, formally Gourmet Traveller WINE, while the Hunter Valley’s Liz Riley has been awarded 2022 Viticulturist of the Year.

Wadewitz has spent the last 10 vintages as chief winemaker at Shaw + Smith in the Adelaide Hills and Tolpuddle Vineyard in the Coal River Valley in Tasmania. More recently, he has also made the newly released MMAD Vineyard wines from Blewitt Springs.

Wadewitz’s first job was at Wirra Wirra before working vintages in the Napa Valley and then in the Jura in eastern France.

Back home, he spent time at Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley before completing his winemaking degree at Adelaide University.

Adam worked in Great Western from vintages 2006 to 2012, making the 2012 Jimmy Watson winning Best’s Bin 1 Shiraz 2011 before moving back to his home state to work with Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith MW at Shaw + Smith in 2013. He was dux of the Len Evan’s Tutorial in 2009 and judges widely.

Wadewitz is now chief winemaker and joint-CEO of Shaw + Smith. He aims to make “wines of beauty” that reflect both site and season. Not only have Shaw + Smith classics such as M3 Chardonnay continued to evolve on his watch, but he has also introduced exciting single site Shaw + Smith wines, notably from the Balhannah Vineyard for Shiraz and the Lenswood Vineyard for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

He has also overseen significant changes in farming practices including the move to more organic practices and certification.

In May this year, Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2020 won Best Australian White wine at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) and just last month the 2021 vintage scored a perfect 100 points in the Wine Magazine.

“Adam is a natural leader and deep thinker – a once in a generation winemaker at the height of his powers,” Michael Hill Smith MW said.

Peter Forrestal, Chairman of Judges of the Wine Magazine WOTY said: “Adam Wadewitz is collaborative, charismatic, supremely talented and at the top of his game. He has led a strong team at Shaw + Smith to undreamt of heights with the Adelaide Hills collection and revitalised an ancient Blewitt Springs vineyard with unique Chenin, Shiraz and Grenache under the MMAD label”.

“Ten vintages of the Tolpuddle wines has been enough to earn them a place in the top echelons of Australian wine, making them essential elements of any great Aussie wine list: iconic status awaits,” said Forrestal.

Viticulturist of the Year

Meantime, Scarborough Wine Co. said it was delighted to announce that viticulturist and family member Liz Riley has been named as the Wine Magazine’s Viticulturist of the Year.

A trailblazer in her field, Riley is a renowned viticulturist with over 30 years in the industry. As well as her long-term commitment to Scarborough Wine Co., she also consults for multiple wineries across the Hunter Valley and New South Wales regions via her business Vitibit.

Image: Liz Riley, Viticulturist of the Year for 2022. Photo by Chris Elles


Riley has been recognised several times for her expertise and pioneering innovation in the vineyard, including the mainstream use of sunscreen application on vines to preserve fruit quality in drought and heatwaves. Her dedication to finding solutions, often under difficult circumstances, is unwavering and has led to her being relied upon across Australia to guide and advise on viticultural best practices.

 “Liz Riley’s most important work has been done close to her home with Jerome Scarborough in the Hunter Valley. Her areas of influence, however, have spread to other NSW regions, the Granite Belt and Tasmania as well as through her role as a director of the AWRI for more than ten years,” Forrestal said.

“Her hands-on work as a consultant, focusing on sustainable viticulture, has been widely influential and has resulted in Liz becoming our tenth Viticulturist of the Year.

Riley said that she was delighted with her award.

“The wine industry is so collegial and it’s a proud moment to be recognised for the role I play in it. For me, it’s about being nimble and open to trying new things, while respecting the land that is under my stewardship. I am all for evolving viticulture practices in the vineyard when needed, and more than ever I’m looking to innovation and sustainability to build the resilience we need in the vineyard, to help us survive and thrive in unpredictable climates.”

In 2021, Riley was awarded the prestigious 2020 Graham Gregory Award, recognising her contribution to the NSW wine industry. She is the first woman to win the award.

Riley was also acknowledged by Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism with the Award for Excellence following her response to the bushfire challenges of 2020.

In 2017, Riley was named Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) Viticulturist of the Year. 

This year, Riley, her husband Jerome Scarborough and sister in-law Sally Scarborough collaborated on a special new range of Scarborough wine, Keepers of the Flame. Produced from small parcels of fruit from their Hunter Valley vineyards, this is a premium wine release launching with three vintages of Chardonnay, 2019, 2020 and 2021.  

Riley studied viticulture at Roseworthy Agricultural College where she met husband and winemaker, Jerome. They have two children, Callum and Hannah.  


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