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Yalumba’s Hill-Smith receives prestigious Maurice O’Shea Award

Published:  23 July, 2019

Robert Hill-Smith, chairman of Australia’s Yalumba winery, has won the Maurice O’Shea Award, given to people or organisations who have made a significant contribution to the Australian wine trade.

The award, which is only given once every three years, was made at a gala dinner at the Adelaide Oval held in conjunction with McWilliam’s Wines and the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference.

Hill-Smith said: “To say that I am humbled by this prestigious award and more than a little embarrassed is an understatement. The great people I have worked alongside at Yalumba have played a huge part in supporting my family and its various endeavours.

“The Maurice O’Shea Award is a generous and respected initiative by the six generation McWilliam family and I thank them genuinely for this recognition.”

Presenting the award, Jeff McWilliam described Hill-Smith’s ”leadership, innovation and ongoing commitment to the betterment of the Australian wine landscape” as “legendary”.

The award cited in particular Hill-Smith’s work fostering the next generation of Australian wine industry through the Working with Wine Fellowship; his commitment to protecting and enhancing the environment; his work on developing wine-export opportunities; and his establishment of the the Yalumba Nursery to support the industry with clonal and varietal diversity.

Wine critic James Halliday has described the Maurice O’Shea award as “the highest honour the Australian wine industry can confer on one of its members”.

The award was established by McWilliam’s Wines in 1990. Previous recipients include Wolf Blass and Ray Beckwith.

Hill Smith was appointed managing director of Yalumba in 1985. He became chairman in 2015.