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Hunter Valley Legends Award Winners 2019

​Legends honoured at 2019 Hunter Valley Legends & Wine Industry Awards

It was an evening to remember last night as a record number of guests came together with their contemporaries, friends and colleagues at an incredible gala event to celebrate the highly anticipated 13th annual Hunter Valley Legends & Wine Industry Awards.

More than 300 people gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley to pay homage to the industry stalwarts who have contributed significantly to the Hunter Valley wine and tourism industries. As always, the evening's highest honour was presented to wine and tourism luminaries who have reached 'Living Legend' status through more than 30 years' continuous involvement in the industry.

This year, the Wine Legend award was presented to Greg Silkman, owner of First Creek Winemaking Services and highly-regarded industry leader. Greg came to the Hunter Valley in 1985 to establish Tamburlaine Wines and in the years since, has worked his magic at various iconic wineries in the region, making his mark as a winemaker and businessman of renown. Today he is at the helm of our largest contract winemaking businesses First Creek Winemaking services and state of the art bottling facility. Greg's commitment and contribution to the Hunter Valley wine tourism industry is highly regarded by his peers.

Hunter Valley Legends inductees Greg Silkman, Imelda Roche AO, Bill Roche AM

The winners of the Tourism Legend Award were Bill Roche AM and Imelda Roche AO, who were honoured for their establishment of the much-loved Hunter Valley Gardens, the result of the couple's long-held ambition to build a garden that would be enjoyed by generations to come. The construction of Hunter Valley Gardens, Pokolbin, began in 1999, on what was originally horse paddocks and vineyards. Over a period of five years, under the direct personal management and guidance of Bill and a team of up to 50 landscape gardeners, architects and engineers, the Gardens came to life.

Today, Hunter Valley Gardens includes 25 hectares of multi award-winning international gardens, with ten individually themed gardens created by Bill and his team showcasing the artistry of gardens around the world. Since its opening in October 2003, it has welcomed more than four million guests and is the home of iconic events such as the Christmas Lights Spectacular and Snow Time.

Greg, Bill and Imelda's new status as Hunter Valley Living Legends puts them in the company of wellknown names such as Greg Walls, Robert and Sally Molines, Jay Tulloch, Brian McGuigan (AM), Ian Scarborough, Fay McGuigan, Max Drayton and Ian Tinkler.

​Hosted by NBN television presenter Georgia Maher, the evening was another who's who event of the wine tourism industry, combining local cuisine, fine wine and company as the industry honoured the dedicated personalities who make Australia's oldest continuous wine region the very special place it is today.

Wine Industry Award Winners: Brett Keeping, Angus Vinden, Adrian Sparks

Other award winners on the night were:

Riedel Australia Hunter Valley 2019 Rising Star of the Year
Angus Vinden – Vinden Estate Wines

Laffort Australia Hunter Valley 2019 Viticulturist of the Year
Brett Keeping – Two Rivers Wines

Australian Wine Selectors Hunter Valley 2019 Cellar Door of the Year
Brokenwood Wines

First Creek Winemaking Services Hunter Valley 2019 Winemaker of the Year
Adrian Sparks – Mount Pleasant Wines

Hunter Valley Wine Industry 2019 Heritage Award
Pokolbin Memorial Gates

Hunter Valley 2019 Award for Excellence
Brian McGuigan AM

Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association Vice President, Brian McGuigan congratulated all the winners, noting their contributions to an industry which had reaped international recognition as a premier wine and food destination because of the hard work of its many passionate custodians.

'The Hunter Valley is the oldest and most visited wine region in Australia by overseas tourists and its incredible wines have found their way into the homes of many others, thanks to the hard work and vision of all our winners,' Mr McGuigan said.

'We all thank him for that.'

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