Wine stalwart wins grape growers’ top gong

10 Dec 2021

Winner Liz Riley proudly holds her award

Almost thirty years of service to the NSW wine industry has today been recognised, with Hunter Valley viticulturist Liz Riley awarded the prestigious 2020 Graham Gregory Award, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall has announced.

Mr Marshall said Ms Riley received the award in recognition of her major contributions through research and development to improve vineyard sustainability and productivity.

“Congratulations to Liz, whose passion to improve research and development, vineyard sustainability, climate change adaption and fruit quality for growers makes her a worthy recipient of the Graham Gregory Award,” Mr Marshall said.

“A National Nuffield Farming Scholar in 1997, this adds to a long list of well-deserved achievements for Liz, who started in the NSW wine and viticulture industry after graduating from the University of Adelaide in 1992.

“Liz owns and operates Vitbit, a viticulture consultancy that provides expert technical and practical advice to vineyard owners across NSW, Australia and the globe.”

The 2020 Graham Gregory Award recognises areas such as leadership, research and development, winemaking, education and market development.

NSW Wine Industry Association President Mark Bourne said Ms Riley’s significant contribution to the NSW wine industry is unlike any other.

“Her advocacy for the NSW wine industry on research, development, extension and precision viticulture has been a major driver in keeping NSW grape growers and winemakers at the forefront of quality and sustainability,” Mr Bourne said.

Ms Riley has been recognised nationally and locally by industry. Most recently, she received the Award for Excellence from the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association for helping co-ordinate the response to the emerging smoke taint challenges of Vintage 2020.

The Graham Gregory Award is presented retrospectively from the contributions to the NSW wine industry in the previous year.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries is a sponsor of the award, which was named after former NSW Agriculture Deputy Director General Graham Gregory, who was instrumental in the development of the NSW wine industry.

Media contact: Luke O’Donnell | 0427 837 497