"The Marlborough wine industry has been extremely kind to me," says James Healy, 32 years after he pulled up in an iridescent green Holden Premier packed with his family and belongings.
Murray Gibbons, Tessa Anderson, James Healy and Dave Pearce were recognised at The Marlborough Wine Celebration Evening, which also celebrated 50 years since the beginning of the modern Marlborough wine industry.
"These are people who have dedicated much of their lives to championing the Marlborough wine industry and the wonderful wines we're capable of delivering," Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens says. "To be able to recognise them at this special event was a real honour."
James Healy has been in the wine industry for more than 40 years, starting at Corbans Wines in Auckland, before moving to Marlborough in 1991 to become a winemaker at Cloudy Bay. Later, alongside viticulturist Ivan Sutherland, he started Dog Point Vineyard.
Dave Pearce also began his career at Corbans Wines, and was part of a group of enthusiasts who started Grove Mill in 1988. He went on to drive carbon neutrality at Grove Mill, years ahead of others in the industry. In recent years, Dave's extensive experience helped design client-focused winery VinLink.
Tessa Anderson has been writing about Marlborough wine since 1996, as the wine reporter at The Marlborough Express, Editor of Winepress Magazine, Editor for New Zealand Winegrower magazine, and author of a biography of Jane Hunter. Last year, Tessa launched her new book 50 years, 50 Stories, Marlborough the region that turned the wine world upside down, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Marlborough's first modern plantings.
Murray Gibbons, described as an "industry treasure", is the owner of Bulk Wine Distribution, and has spent 40 years driving trucks and servicing the wine industry.