The 2023 Sydney Royal Wine Show Trophy Winners Lunch, held on 18th of August, saw the announcement that Liz Riley had been honoured for her years of contribution to the Australian wine industry.

Liz said that she was “honoured and humbled” by the recognition. Liz has contributed to the industry both as a leading viticulturist but also as a hard-working and pragmatic member of several industry boards, such as the AWRI, Freshcare, and Landcare NSW.  Most recently, Liz has added another string to her bow, by becoming an educator through Tocal College in NSW, passing on her skills in Pest & Diseases, Pruning and Biosecurity.

WCA Executive Chair, Angus Barnes said of the announcement, “WCA is delighted to be able to honour Liz’s many contributions to the wine industry. Liz often works quietly behind the scenes, but her contribution is long and lasting. During the terrible bushfires and smoke events of the 2020 vintage, Liz worked tirelessly to ensure that NSW producers and growers could get their grapes and wine tested for smoke damage. This led to businesses being able to make much better decisions about how to treat that particularly difficult season. For this work, she was given the 2021 Award for Excellence by the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association.

Liz has been further recognised for her outstanding contribution to the NSW Wine industry by being the first ever female recipient of the NSW DPI Graham Gregory Award 2020, as well as being name the viticulturist of the year by the Wine Magazine 2022, the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) in 2017 and the Hunter Valley Wine Tourism Association in 2011.

Liz is a Roseworthy graduate, where she won the Grant Hardy Smith Award in 1992 for ‘the graduating student showing the best all round character and ability’. She went on to win an Australian Nuffield Farming Scholarship in 1997. Liz has held a number of positions in the wine industry, but is best known in her viticultural consultant business, Vitibit, which has been in operation since 2000. Liz is proudly based in the Hunter Valley.

Liz is the eleventh person to be awarded Legend of the Vine status in NSW, and joins a prestigious national list that includes Andrew Caillard MW, Sandra Przibilla, Lyndey Milan, Huon Hooke, Clive Hartley, Iain Riggs, Rob Hirst and David Lowe.