A bright future for women in wine at the Hunter Valley Legends Awards

June 13, 2023
By Rachel White

At last week’s 16th annual Hunter Valley Legends Awards, three outstanding female winners walked away with prizes, highlighting a bright future for women in the wine industry.

Adding to her list of recent accolades, Liz Riley, owner and operator of Vitibit, was awarded the 2023 Outstanding Contribution by Individual Award for her work supporting the local industry after major flooding in 2022.

Riley worked with growers, industry bodies, government departments, technical experts and local stakeholders to coordinate and deploy aerial applications of early-season fungicides to protect emerging growth and crops.

“It’s wonderful to use my viticultural knowledge, apply new techniques and technology to make a difference in challenging times. Many were involved in the coordination and deployment of the program, particularly my husband Jerome Scarborough. Without their support, this work would not have happened. I’m really proud of the outcome,” she said.

A pillar of the local community, Riley is a renowned viticulturist, consultant and advisor overseeing the family vineyards at Scarborough Wine Co. while providing consultancy to several wineries across the Hunter Valley and New South Wales via her business Vitibit.

In 2022 Riley was awarded Viticulturist of the Year by WINE magazine and in 2021 she won the prestigious Graham Gregory Award recognising her contribution to the NSW wine industry, the first woman to receive the honour. She was also named ASVO Viticulturist of the Year in 2017.

Recognising the emerging leaders as well as the established stars, two young guns from De Iuliis Wines were also honoured at the Hunter Valley Legends Awards gala dinner.

Jenna Vaughan, Marketing Manager at De Iuliis Wines, was awarded The Riedel Young Achiever of the Year award, which highlights an individual under 35 for their contribution to developing a vibrant and professional Hunter Valley wine and tourism industry.

Vaughan’s passion for innovation and hard work showcasing the De Iuliis brand and the Hunter Valley region in the digital marketing space caught the judges’ attention.

“I am so proud to be recognised for my contribution in showcasing the unique stories of the Hunter and leading the way as a young female wine marketer. It is an honour to be recognised amongst such a strong selection of candidates and highlights just how bright the future of the Hunter Valley is,” said Vaughan.

The inaugural Brokenwood Wines Advanced Wine Technical Scholarship was awarded to Emily Glover, a young winemaker at De Iuliis. The scholarship will take Glover to the Australia Wine Research Institute in South Australia for an intensive four-day course presenting the latest techniques and technologies in winemaking and wine production.

“This scholarship is a great opportunity to learn about the innovations in the wine industry and then come back to the Hunter and share my learnings with other young winemakers,” said Glover.

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