Chardon­nays among top wines

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By CORAL COOK­SLEY

FOR­TI­FIED wines thrived in their long stand as the largest range judged any­where in Aus­tralia at last week’s Ruther­glen Wine Show.

The 130 year-old event held at the town’s show­grounds in Hen­der­son Pavil­ion is one of the most highly re­garded and old­est known wine shows around the na­tion.

Held in con­junc­tion with the Aus­tralian For­ti­fied Wine Show, the event at­tracted 1000 en­tries this year with 850 ta­ble wines, and 150 for­ti­fied wines for which Ruther­glen is world-renowned.

Show com­mit­tee and judges’ panel chair and Pfeif­fer Wines man­ag­ing part­ner and se­nior wine­maker Chris Pfeif­fer said a high num­ber of en­tries had been re­ceived from Victoria.

“This year we’ve seen the Chardon­nays do well in the whites hav­ing strong en­tries in their classes and the 2016 red vin­tages be­ing ex­cit­ing wines,” he said.

“The show has also be­come a niche for for­ti­fied wines.”

Mr Pfeif­fer said the show helped ex­hibitors with feed­back and guid­ance on their viti­cul­ture and wine­mak­ing.

With Prosecco wines in­tro­duced to the event last year and judged for the sec­ond time, Mr Pfeif­fer said the show cre­ated an op­por­tu­nity par­tic­u­larly for wine­mak­ers in the King Val­ley re­gion to re­ceive eval­u­a­tions about their wines.

He also said an Aus­tralian fo­cus on high value over­seas mar­kets had led to sig­nif­i­cant growth in China cre­at­ing a $1 bil­lion ex­port mar­ket over the last five years.

“The high­est cost per litre of ex­ported wine is go­ing to China.”

Mr Pfeif­fer said this year’s wine vin­tage had seen grape prices slightly rise as the op­por­tu­nity from the ex­port growth had flowed down the chain to grow­ers.

With eco­nom­ics im­por­tant in vine­yards for busi­ness sus­tain­abil­ity, Mr Pfeif­fer said the Aus­tralian wine in­dus­try faced com­pe­ti­tion against over­seas sub­sidised ones.

“We have the high­est labour costs in the world so our vine­yards and winer­ies have to be ef­fi­cient,” he said.

Mr Pfeif­fer said tourism in Victoria’s North East was sig­nif­i­cant for the wine in­dus­try.

The judg­ing panel – three teams of three wine­mak­ers – came from Queens­land, NSW, Victoria, South Aus­tralia and Western Aus­tralia with as­so­ciate judges in train­ing from Charles Sturt and Ade­laide uni­ver­si­ties, as well as lo­cal wine­mak­ers. Judg­ing took place over four days. Last week’s wine assess­ment is fol­lowed with an award din­ner at the town’s Me­mo­rial Hall tonight and a pub­lic tast­ing to­mor­row evening at the Hen­der­son Pavil­ion where wine en­thu­si­asts have a chance to try the en­tries.

Tick­ets for the 6.30pm Fri­day tast­ing can be booked with Agri­cul­tural Show sec­re­tary Di O’Dwyer on 0409 901 488, or (02) 6032 8044 or at wineagshow@west­net.com.au

The an­nual Septem­ber wine show is a com­bined Ruther­glen Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety and Wine­mak­ers of Ruther­glen event.

TASTE TEST: Show com­mit­tee and judges’ panel chair and Pfeif­fer Wines man­ag­ing part­ner and se­nior wine­maker Chris Pfeif­fer (left) with Mor­ris Wines’ chief wine­maker David Mor­ris judg­ing red wines at the Ruther­glen Wine Show last week.

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