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With more than 150 wineries and cellar doors, 65 restaurants and 180 comfy accommodation places to stay, where do you start?

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Hunter Valley Legend Award winners 2018

It was another triumphant evening for the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism world last night when its industry greats came together to celebrate the 12th annual Hunter Valley Legends & Wine Industry Awards.

Held at newly renovated Ben Ean, Lindeman's Estate, the evening paid homage to those who have contributed significantly to the Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Industries. This year's highest honour was presented to a wine luminary who has reached 'Living Legend' status through more than 30 years' continuous involvement and two hospitality greats that have made a significant contribution to wine and tourism in our region.

This year, the highly-anticipated Wine Legend award was presented to Greg Walls, who has been a stalwart of the industry for almost 40 years; taking Hunter Valley wines to every region in Australia by providing a central location for local producers to sell their wines. He did this through his establishment of the Hunter Valley Wine Society in 1975, later evolving the business to Wine Selectors, which now delivers Hunter wines to a nationwide membership of more than 200,000.

This year, for the very first time, the Tourism Legend Award was presented to two icons of the Hunter Valley, Robert and Sally Molines. Robert and Sally have been delighting diners in the Hunter Valley for over 45 years, proudly supporting the wine and tourism industries with their culinary expertise and most recently at their one-hatted restaurant Bistro Molines nestled in the vines at Tallavera Grove in Mount View.

Greg, Robert & Sally's new status as Living Legends puts them in the company of well-known names such as Jay Tulloch, Brian McGuigan, Ian Scarborough, Fay McGuigan, Max Drayton and last year's winner, Ian Tinkler.

Hosted by Sally Evans, the daughter of the late Len Evans, the night was once again a whirl of delicious cuisine, fine wine and bubbling personalities as the industry honoured the passionate contributors who make Australia's oldest wine region the very special place it is today.

Other award winners on the night were:

Winemaker of the Year - Stuart Hordern, Brokenwood Wines
Viticulturist of the Year - Neil Stevens, Glen Oak Wines
Rising Star of the Year - Aaron Mercer, Tamburlaine Wines
Cellar Door of the Year - Margan Wines
Hunter Valley Wine Industry 2018 Heritage Award - Drayton's Bellevue Wine Label

Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association Vice President, Brian McGuigan congratulated all the winners, noting their contributions to an industry which had reaped international recognition as a premier wine and food destination because of the hard work of its many passionate custodians.

'The Hunter Valley is the oldest and most visited wine region in Australia by overseas tourists and its incredible wines have found their way into the homes of many others, thanks to the hard work and vision of all our winners,' Mr McGuigan said.

'We all thank him for that.'

Winners pictured above front row left to right: Robert & Sally Molines, Lisa Margan, Stuart Hordern, Aaron Mercer. Back row left to right: Andrew Margan, John Drayton, Neil Stevens, Greg Walls.

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