Iain Riggs AM
Managing Director & Chief Winemaker
Iain Riggs, Managing Director, Chief Winemaker and part owner of Brokenwood Wines, has taken Brokenwood from a small 'hobby' winery to the national and international arena. Iain’s skills in white winemaking revolutionized Brokenwood, which, when he joined, only produced red wines. Brokenwood Wines is in its 35th vintage with Iain at the helm.
Born in Burra, South Australia, Iain took an early interest in winemaking. He studied at Roseworthy College between 1972 and 1975, followed by stints at both Bleasdale and Hazelmere in McLaren Vale. It was here that sparked his interest in varietal blending, soon becoming a pioneer of the now famous combination of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. At Hazelmere, the ambitious winemaker focused on white wines, and was crowned McLaren Vale Bushing King in 1982 with his multi trophy winning Chardonnay.
Iain’s strong interest in ‘improving the breed’ of Australian wine has seen him in many judging and chair roles. Some of his past highlights include Chairman of the Hunter Valley Wine Show, having taken over from Len Evans in 2002. Iain was honoured with the naming of the Iain Riggs Wine of Provenance Trophy. In 1990, starting as an Associate Judge with the Sydney Royal Wine Show, Iain quickly worked his way up to Chairman of Judges, a role that he held for six years. The Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales awarded Iain with their 2014 Contributors Award for Services to the RAS.
Iain was an inaugural Board member of the Winemakers Federation of Australia serving from 1989 to 1995, its Vice President and President of the Australian Winemakers Forum as well as Chair of the Technical Sub-committee for many years. Iain continued as Deputy Chair of the Domestic Wine Promotion of Wine Australia until the early 2000’s. The Hunter Valley Legends and Wine Awards was an initiative of Wine Hunter Marketing chaired by Iain until WHM merged with Hunter Valley Vineyard Association, Iain continued as Chair of the awards until he stepped down in 2016. Iain is also immediate past Chairman of the Wine Show of Western Australia.
In 2003, Iain was awarded the Graham Gregory Award for outstanding service to the NSW wine industry, and at the 2013 Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine Winemaker of the Year Awards honoured Iain with the Len Evans Award for Leadership. In late 2016, the Australian Women in Wine Awards recognised Iain and Brokenwood Wines as the Workplace Champion of Change for a long history of promoting women within the workplace.
Today, Iain is Chairman of Trustees of the Len Evans Foundation that conducts the prestigious week-long Len Evans Tutorial, and current Chairman of the Shanghai International Wine Challenge.
In June of 2018 Iain was named as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of his significant service to oenology as a Winemaker, to the development of the Australian wine industry, and to the promotion of the Hunter Valley region.
Iain is the driving force behind Brokenwood’s flagship wine, the Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz and its promotion as a unique Single Vineyard Shiraz. Rated as Exceptional in the Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine, it is still the only Hunter Valley Shiraz to feature. A number of other premium Brokenwood Shiraz feature in the portfolio including the Mistress Block Vineyard Shiraz, Verona Vineyard Shiraz, Wade Block 2 Vineyard Shiraz and the Indigo Vineyard Shiraz. Iain is also a great promoter of Hunter Valley Semillon with the highly acclaimed ILR (Iain Leslie Riggs) Reserve Semillon as the Brokenwood flagship white.