Remembering a wine legend

Hazel Murphy AM was one of the greats. She single handily shaped the Australian wine industry in the UK and paved the way for countless wineries to thrive overseas.

Hazel’s passing in early January was greeted with sadness. She was a great friend to the Australian grape and wine sector as a whole and a very dear friend to many.

Her significant contribution to the Australian wine sector was recognised in 1996 when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia and received the Maurice O’Shea Award for outstanding contribution to the Australian wine industry.

Bill Muirhead AM, Agent General for South Australia said, “Hazel was one of those rare people who you always felt better after you’d seen, than you did before.”

“She was a true pioneer – a dynamic trailblazer who transformed the perception of Australian wine in the UK.”

“Her enthusiasm was infectious. We owe her a great deal. She will be greatly missed.”

For over 17 years, from 1985, Hazel was Chief Executive (Europe) of the Australian Wine Bureau, part of the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (now Wine Australia).

With boundless energy and enthusiasm, Hazel’s ‘glass in the hand’ promotion contributed to Australian wine exports growing from $1.4 million in the 12 months to June 1985 to $897.1 million in calendar year 2002.

In A Life in Wine, James Halliday recalls, ‘In less than a decade she poured Australian wine for 250,000 people in venues ranging from food and wine exhibitions to sporting events… Pintsized she may have been, but her energy and commitment were boundless…’

She will be very deeply missed.