Hunter Valley awards its legends

L-R: Mark Richardson, Andrew Pengilly, Bruce Tyrrell (Photo: Chris Elfes)

It was a massive night for Tyrrell’s Wines at the 11th annual Hunter Valley Legends Awards last Thursday. Chief red winemaker Mark Richardson was named winemaker of the year; vineyard manager Andrew Pengilly was named viticulturist of the year, and proprietor Bruce Tyrrell received the Hunter Valley Award for Excellence.

The main award of the night, the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Living Legend Award, went to Ian Tinkler, proprietor of Tinkler’s Wines. Tinkler has been growing grapes and producing top-quality wine on the family’s Pokolbin properties for more than 35 years. He is the uncle of the winemaker Usher Tinkler and is no stranger to these awards, having won viticulturist of the year in 2009. In his acceptance speech, at Cypress Lakes Resort on Thursday night, Tinkler paid homage to three men no longer alive who were pivotal in his career. They were Sydney restaurateur and Hunter vineyard owner Peter Doyle, of Doyle’s Watson’s Bay; NSW state viticulturist Graham Gregory and Hunter winemaker Trevor Drayton.

It was a night for acknowledging the pioneers and important people who have passed on: the Rothbury Cemetery was also named as a Hunter Valley heritage site and is to have a cairn and plaque honouring the many pioneers who are interred there.

Ian Tinkler is in esteemed company. Other Living Legends present at Thursday’s ceremony were Karl Stockhausen, Brian and Fay McGuigan, Jay Tulloch, Kevin Sobels, Ian Scarborough, Bruce Tyrrell, Chris Barnes, Phil Ryan and Alain Le Prince.

The other Hunter Legends are Max Drayton, John Tulloch, Perc McGuigan, Max Lake, Brian Walsh, Don McWilliam, Patrick Auld and Ken Bray.

Other awards presented on Thursday: cellar door of the year – Thomas Wines. Rising star of the year – Rauri Donkin of Bimbadgen Estate.

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