Iain Riggs, the driving force behind Brokenwood Wines and one of the industry’s most passionate advocates, has been named the 2016 NSW Legend of the Vine by Wine Communicators of Australia.

The award was appropriately presented at WCA’s annual KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show Trophy Winners Lunch on 29 July. Iain has been involved with the Show for more than a quarter of a century and was Chairman of Judges for six years.

“Legend is a frequently overused word these days but Iain really ticks all the boxes,” said WCA National Chair, Angus Barnes. “He is a winemaker, a wine judge, a wine educator and a true believer in our industry and its people. When he talks, others listen.

“The Legend of the Vine award was created in 2014 to acknowledge individuals who have not only made an outstanding contribution to the Australian wine industry but who have also helped chart its course and take its message to the world.”

Iain has been Brokenwood’s Chief Winemaker and Managing Director for more than 30 years and is Chairman of Trustees of the Len Evans Foundation, which conducts the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial. He also succeeded Len as Chairman of the Hunter Valley Wine Show in 2002 and has since had the Iain Riggs Wine of Provenance Trophy named in his honour.

Born in Burra, just a few kilometres from the vineyards of the Clare Valley, Iain studied winemaking at Roseworthy College, graduating with honours in 1975, then worked at Bleasedale and Hazelmere in McLaren Vale, where he helped pioneer the concept of blending Sauvignon Blanc with Semillon and was crowned McLaren Vale Bushing King in 1982.

He then moved to the Hunter Valley to join Brokenwood and continue to get involved with things he believed in. He was an inaugural Board member of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, chaired the Australian Winemakers Forum and began his formal involvement with the KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show in 1990.

Among other honours Iain was awarded the Graham Gregory Trophy for outstanding service to the NSW wine industry in 2003, received the Len Evans Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Wine Industry at the 2013 Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine Winemaker of the Year Awards, and was presented with the 2014 Contributors Award for services to the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW.

Iain is the fifth person to be awarded Legend of the Vine status in NSW. Previous recipients were Chris Anstee (2012), Philip Lafffer (2013), David Lowe (2014) and Rob Hirst last year. Read about all inductees here.

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