The Executive Office of Riverland Wine, Chris Byrne, Master of Ceremonies at this year’s Riverland Wine Show gala dinner, held on September 17, nearly fell off his chair when it was announced he was this year’s recipient of the 2014 JMA Engineering Riverland Wine Award.
Chris has been a tireless ambassador of the Riverland for many years. His drive and passion representing Riverland winemakers and grape growers’ interests at regional, state and national levels has been typical of his ‘quiet achiever’ approach. Chris has been a unifying force in the regional wine industry; realising that a strong, unified wine industry offers the best hope for all players for the future. He was pivotal in unifying the local grower and winemaker bodies into a single group now referred to as Riverland Wine, which now has a level of strategic professionalism that is widely known and respected in the industry.
The Riverland Wine Show gala dinner is one of the highlight events of the year for the region’s winemakers, viticulturists and growers. It is an opportunity to sample the best wines the Riverland produces and spend a night with industry colleagues and friends. The major award of the night is the JMA Engineering Riverland Wine Award. This award is judged by past recipients of the silverware, who unanimously supported the winner of this year’s award. The recipient must have contributed to the Riverland wine industry well beyond normal expectations and their actions lead to lasting change. There is no question that Chris Byrne, this year’s recipient has not only met, but surpassed the criteria.
Under Chris’s leadership the Riverland wine industry has taken its rightful place, as producer of more than 20 per cent of the national grape crop. At the forefront of Australian wine industry representative organisations Riverland Wine, the joint winemaker and grape grower organisation, is now acknowledged as the best led and funded organisation with high credibility and effectiveness.
“There is no avoiding the fact that like most of the industry, the Riverland region faces very tough times at present. While there are challenges for all involved in the wine industry across the nation, Chris Byrne is optimistic about the long term future for the Riverland, and continues to dedicate his drive and passion to achieve the future that he believes this region so richly deserves,” said Riverland Wine chairman, Brian Walsh.
“There is no doubt that with a servant like Chris at the helm, the region is in the best possible hands during such times. As the saying goes, adversity does not build character. It reveals it,” said Mr Walsh.