New Zealand's 'first lady' of wine honoured for contribution to Marlborough wine industry

Hunter's Wines managing director Jane Hunter is the most decorated woman in the New Zealand wine industry.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Hunter's Wines managing director Jane Hunter is the most decorated woman in the New Zealand wine industry.

The 'first lady' of New Zealand wine has picked up another prestigious award for her longstanding contribution to the Marlborough wine industry.

Hunter's Wines managing director Jane Hunter was presented with the Wine Marlborough Lifetime Achievement Award at the Marlborough Wine Show awards dinner on Thursday.

The industry body award, which is given out every two years, recognises those who have made significant contributions to the development of the Marlborough wine industry.

"This award is quite overwhelming. It is always humbling to be singled out to receive such an award and is a great honour," Hunter said.

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"Marlborough and Hunter's wines have been a major part of my life for over thirty years. 

"It has been a very rewarding journey and to have been part of Marlborough wine's success story has been a privilege."

Hunter, originally from South Australia, moved to the region in 1983 to take up a job as the national viticulturist for Montana Wines, the first company to plant sauvignon blanc in the area.

When she arrived there was only 30 acres, which in the 33 years since had expanded exponentially due to the worldwide demand for Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

Hunter's Wines, started by her husband Ernie Hunter, was instrumental in creating this demand, introducing international drinkers to the variety when it scooped the top prize at the 1986 Sunday Times Wine Festival in London.

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During her acceptance speech, Hunter paid tribute to her late husband, who died in a car crash in 1987, former chief winemaker Gary Duke, who left the company last year, and her brother-in-law Peter Macdonald.

The managing director of the Marlborough wine company was the most decorated woman in the New Zealand wine industry.

In 1993 Hunter received an O.B.E for her services to viticulture and in 2009 she was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Other winners of the Wine Marlborough Lifetime Achievement Award included Gerry Gregg, Ross Lawson, Phil Rose and Ivan Sutherland.

 - The Marlborough Express

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