HIGHLY decorated Relbia winemaker Josef Chromy added another trophy to his cabinet last night, taking out the top Hall of Fame honour at the 2013 Launceston Chamber of Commerce 2013 Business Excellence Awards.
More than 300 Northern business leaders celebrated the region's business successes at Launceston's Hotel Grand Chancellor.
There were 113 award entries this year, the highest in the awards' 10-year history.
Chamber of Commerce executive officer Maree Tetlow said Mr Chromy's "rags to riches" life story was a true inspiration.
"Congratulations to a man who has contributed so much to Tasmania," she said.
Mr Chromy escaped from war- torn Czechoslovakia as a 19-year- old with nothing but the clothes on his back, determined to find a better life for himself after living under both Nazi and Soviet occupation.
He traversed borders guarded by minefields, dogs and soldiers, enduring five months of great hardship before immigrating to Australia.
During the next four decades, he used his skills as a master butcher and smallgoods maker to build his business, Blue Ribbon Meat Products, into one of Tasmania's leading brands.
In 1993, Blue Ribbon was floated on the Australian Stock Exchange and Mr Chromy used the money to invest in Tasmania's emerging wine industry.
Since then, he has owned and developed some of the state's leading wineries, including Rochecombe (now Bay of Fires), Jansz/Heemskerk, Tamar Ridge Wines, and ultimately Josef Chromy Wines.
Josef Chromy Wines has received many awards, the most recent being two trophies at two of the biggest global wine competitions announced at the London International Wine Fair in May.