Hunter Valley Legends Announced

Andrew Thomas of Thomas Wines has won the Hunter Valley’s Winemaker of the Year Award for the second time. And Tulloch Wines has won Cellar Door of the Year, also for the second time.

Thomas has achieved great critical and market success with his semillon dry whites and his shiraz dry reds (tastings) since setting up his own winemaking business in Pokolbin in 1997. Andrew previously worked for Tyrrell’s (tastings) for 13 years. He had come to the Hunter from McLaren Vale, where his father Wayne was a winemaker of note. ‘Thommo’ has won an impressive 49 show trophies and 155 gold medals with his own wines.

A new Living Legend of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry was inducted: Kevin Sobels of Kevin Sobels Wines in Pokolbin. Living Legends are individuals who have shown long-term vision and commitment to the betterment of the Hunter Valley wine industry. Sobels comes from a long line of winemakers which began in 1847 in South Australia, where Carl Sobels was a co-owner of Quelltaler winery in the Clare Valley.

Kevin’s career began in the Riverland at Hardy’s winery at Waikerie, and in 1967 he was appointed winemaker/manager at Seppelt’s Chateau Tanunda (tastings) in the Barossa Valley. He moved to the Upper Hunter Valley in 1972, to the then new Denman Estates.

He and his wife Margaret had their own winery called Queldinburg. Kevin helped establish the Upper Hunter Vineyard Association in 1976 and the Upper Hunter Wine Festival in 1977. The couple moved to Pokolbin in 1986 and established the Kevin Sobels winery, which is still on the same site on the corner of Broke and Halls Roads. Today Kevin is assisted by his son Jason as winemaker, continuing an unbroken line of 167 vintages, which they claim is an Australian record.

Other awards:

Viticulturist of the Year: Louise Eather of Orlando Wyndham.

Rising Star of the Year: Belinda Stapleton of Spicers Vineyard Estate

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