Leading Hunter Valley winemaker Trevor Drayton has been killed in an explosion at his winery at Pokolbin.
Drayton and another person, believed to be a cousin, died this morning (Thursday), reportedly when ethanol was ignited during welding work. A third person was critically injured.
Drayton was a key member of one of Australia’s oldest family-owned winery businesses.
Drayton’s Family Wines was founded in 1853, only four years after Yalumba Wines in the Barossa Valley which is the country’s oldest family-owned winery.
The winery produced about 75,000 cases a year and exported to New Zealand, England, Germany, Ireland, China and several Asian countries.
‘Trevor worked tirelessly for the Australian wine industry and was a good friend o many,’ the deputy chairman of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, John Ellis, said in a tribute.
‘I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of his death.’
Drayton, who was dux of his year at Roseworthy Agricultural College’s oenology degree course in 1978, was at the time of his death a member of WFA’s small winemakers’ membership committee and a permanent alternate member of the Federation’s board.
He was also chairman of the Hunter Valley Vineyard Association.
Written by Chris Snow