Hunter Valley celebrates an award-winning year

The Hunter Valley is celebrating being recognised as a world-class wine and tourism destination in a bumper year of accolades.

The region scooped up several awards at the NSW Tourism Awards, including the Gold Award for Brand Hunter Valley Strategy under the Marketing category.

The award was presented to Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism (HVWCT) marketing manager Nora McWilliam at the awards in Sydney on November 22. It recognises the quality and professionalism demonstrated in developing and executing a contemporary brand proposition.

The brand strategy set out to re-position the Hunter Valley as a refreshed and contemporary premier wine and tourism region by merging traditional and modern marketing methods.

The strategy has been supported by Australasian creative agency Strategy Design and Advertising and Hardie Grant Publishing.

“It is fantastic that this major marketing campaign has received an award of this calibre. We have worked extremely hard over the last two years to create and market our new brand, that enables the Hunter Valley to compete as a premier destination to visit, and increase consumer preference to purchase Hunter Valley wine,” said HVWCT executive manager Dean Gorddard.

Margan Restaurant at Broke (tourism restaurants and catering services) and Wyndham Estate Winery, Dalwood (tourism wineries, distilleries and breweries) were inducted into the Hall of Fame after taking out their respective categories for the third year in a row.

Other local operators honoured at the NSW Tourism Awards included:

o Boutique Tours Australia (bronze award, tours and/or transport operators) 

o Somewhere Unique, Wollombi (gold, unique accommodation)

o Bimbadgen Estate, Pokolbin (silver, tourism wineries, distilleries and breweries)

o The Vintry, Pokolbin (silver, deluxe accommodation)

o Belinda Stapleton, Spicers Vineyards Estate, Pokolbin (young achiever in tourism)

o Philip Hele, Hunter Resort, Pokolbin (outstanding contribution by an individual).

The region was also recently recognised as the top wine region in the South Pacific as voted by consumers of the leading travel website TripAdvisor.

Hunter Valley Wine Country has been celebrating for much of 2012 as many of its industry partners have also scored a series of individual accolades.

Last month McGuigan Wines was awarded the title of International Winemaker of the Year, for the third time in four years, at the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition in London.

Neil McGuigan from McGuigan Wines was named White Winemaker of the Year 2012 at the International Wine Challenge, also in London, in September.

At the 2012 NSW Wine Awards in October, the Hunter Valley took away half of the 10 trophies awarded, including the 2012 Wine of the Year (which went to the 2007 Hungerford Hill Epic Shiraz).

Another cause for celebration was the announcement that 22 of the region’s wines were selected for the NSW Wine 2012 Top 40.

“These are just some of the amazing wins our members have enjoyed this year. The quality of wine and tourism facilities in the Hunter Valley have reached exceptional heights in 2012 and we are very much looking forward to what 2013 will bring,” Mr. Gorddard said.

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