Viticulture

Cheers to top drops

By Country News

The gallery at Mitchelton Winery has never seen so many varieties of wine.

The picturesque setting was the venue for this year’s Victorian Wine Show, which saw 770 wines being tasted across three days (October 31 to November 2) by four panels of judges.

An event spokesperson said judges were expected to taste up to 120 wines each day, beginning at 9.30am and finishing at 5pm.

‘‘It’s the 36th year of the show; it’s the largest gathering of Victorian wines at any wine show in the state,’’ the spokesperson said.

Shiraz was the most represented out of the 33 categories with 104 different Shiraz wines being tasted across the event.

‘‘We are really proud to showcase the talents of winemakers from 22 distinct wine-growing districts,’’ show director Robert Paul said.

‘‘Each wine is scored out of 100; they’re judged on colour, smell and palate,’’ the spokesperson said.

Each judging panel consists of about five people — a mixture of experienced and less experienced judges.

‘‘We have a couple of international judges,’’ the spokesperson said.

‘‘From New Zealand we’ve got Jim Haare; he’s an extremely experienced judge.

‘‘And we’ve got South African Christian Edes and this is his first time out in Australia judging.’’

The spokesperson said this allowed for benchmarking where Victorian wines sat on an international scale.

‘‘We want to recognise good quality wines but the show is an advocate for the industry itself,’’ Mr Paul said.

‘‘That’s why the 2018 Victorian Wine Show will again feature a travel scholarship to assist anyone who has a role or is involved with wine making and has a passion to learn — or a great idea — to follow their dreams.’’

While the judges busily tackled the hundreds of wines, the staff members at Mitchelton were busy making sure enough glasses were available and were in the correct condition.

‘‘Hundreds of glasses have to be washed each time they do a tasting,’’ the spokesperson said.

From being washed the same way to being cooled to the same temperature, there are strict procedures surrounding the glasses and the storing and opening of wine bottles.

After being introduced to the event last year, the Premiers Trophy will be awarded to the ‘best of the best’ wine, which will be selected from the winners of each regional wine show as well as the winner from the Victorian Wine Show.

‘‘They all go into the running and are judged against each other,’’ the spokesperson said.

The winners of the categories will be announced at a presentation lunch on November 15.

—Tara Whitsed