Username:    Password:
Thanks for stopping by...
Absolutely Nails this Variety in the Australian Context
























Good Enough for Blockies
Good Enough for Us
























On Tasting
Further Thoughts on the Australian Wine Show System
Thursday, 3rd September, 2009  - David Farmer

Brian Walsh

"The wine show system in Australia is the finest in the world: best organized, best judged and best internally tested. There are, of course, ways it may be improved, some that sound attractive but founder when the details are considered and reality bites. The most common refrain from those who seek to denigrate the system is that shows are losing their relevance. The Macquarie Group Sydney Royal Wine Show last month put paid to that. There were 101 first-time exhibitors and 20 per cent more entries than in 2008. In the final analysis, the most important test is the integrity of the results." James Halliday, the Weekend Australian, March 7-8, 2009.

Anyone who has been in the wine business for a fair time asks questions about the 'how, what, why' of the local show system. Some thoughts were offered at The Future of Capital City Wine Shows.

On the 27th January, 2009, I travelled out to Yalumba to get the views of Brian Walsh, the sage one, about our show system. I think I have captured the main points below.

Brian started by reminding me that senior judges and other specialists have conducted many workshops on the show system in a constant endeavour to improve it. For example issues such as; are the shows unfairly dominated by big company judges have been openly debated. Price pointed classes that are perhaps more relevant to consumers have been tried - as in Adelaide. Groups such as the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology are concerned with rigorous judging standards and are active in having guidelines as to how show medals are used commercially so as not to devalue the medal worth. And aspects such as specialist judges are being reviewed.

The bottom line is that the shows must be doing something right as entries keep growing so presumably entrants are getting something out of it - a market need is being fulfilled.

Brian saw the following as the substantive issues.

Shows have a great educational role. Not only to help younger winemakers learn but a bigger role in 'improving the breed' which is the wines we drink. There are always wine making faults so we must stay alert-we can go off the rails-so shows act as an audit system. Shows will continue to serve the same age old process (partly referring to the first Adelaide show which was in 1845)-to stop crappy wine being made.

Shows keep us constantly vigilante and is the best audit system for wines devised.

They stop us developing cellar palates. All wine makers need auditing.

Seeing wine away from your own winery, on neutral ground is very valuable. At exhibitor tastings going back and forth along a class of wines is invaluable. While he did not think Yalumba had ever changed its approach to winemaking because of shows they have gained inspiration from them.

Yalumba would enter shows even if they had no commercial value because they bring out the competitive nature of wine makers. Yes we would like to win a Jimmy Watson - many of us like competing. It makes us push harder.

History will repeat itself and we must never assume a high standard is now a given. The issue of the yeast contamination by Brettanomyces as we lowered sulphur content was detected at shows. Perhaps the use of indigenous or wild yeasts (for fermentation) will lead to similar problems. We also moved on from the green fruit wines of Coonawarra in the 1980's. Over time we also changed the style of chardonnay.

The bold wines outperform the subtle wines and this is very hard to correct.

As for judging standards Australia does very well at International Shows so our assessments are most valid and the Trophies and medals do equate. We cannot create in isolation an idea of the best wine. Cellar palate Australia cannot happen.

When judging you can spend too much time on faults and not enough on positives. We are rewarding and encouraging changing styles. There is no 'one right answer' so differences are encouraged. Alternative varieties-I brought up judging pinot gris-are assessed in the same way as judging fundamentals such as balance and fruit remain. When New Zealand sauvignon blancs are entered this lifts the expectations.

Shows though are naturally conservative.

Regional shows (as distinct from the capital city shows) are judged to the same standards. They are not lesser though the judges may be lesser names.

Shows have a strong commercial aspect and the wine making team like to win. It reinforces our skills to consumers but is only part of the matrix of marketing and selling. Some wines Yalumba chose not to enter as we feel the shows are not ready for them and an example is Heggies Chardonnay.

I will return to this theme at another time.

For the Record - I had a bit to do with the Canberra National Show in the late 1970's, or more specifically, thinking up ways to make it more appealing and relevant to consumers and wine makers. This was done mostly over long drinking sessions with Dr Edgar Riek who had founded the show.

So we started a class for aged chardonnays and seeded the line-up with the best of France to see how the judges would respond. Whether this class had much influence I some-how doubt but the Trophy winners received a vintage decanter, which I used to source in London. This was appreciated though as the years went by I found too many of these sitting in locked cabinets rather than on the table.

A more lasting idea, and this may have included Chris Shanahan, wine-writer and retailer, was to invite overseas judges to spice up the local panel. This idea was then promoted by Dr. Riek to Len Evans who at the time was Chairman. Len had invaluable skills, such as convincing Qantas to pay for the plane ticket, plus he knew who to invite. A few years ago James Halliday wrote an article saying that this was an initiative of Len's. It wasn't though he made it happen. And we were well aware at the time that these judges, even if dud's, and a few were, would take back to Europe and America favourable opinions about Australian wine, and the rigour of the show system.

2
0
1
4
2
0
1
3
2
0
1
2
2
0
1
1
2
0
1
0
2
0
0
9
2
0
0
8
2
0
0
7
2
0
0
6
2
0
0
5
2
0
0
4
ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2014
Tastings Wine Scores and Shapley Values

Thursday, 27th March, 2014

Views on Tasting with Penfolds Notes for the Record

Thursday, 27th February, 2014

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2013
Broken Glasses, Tasting Cups, Chinese Misadventures and Tailgating

Thursday, 8th August, 2013

A Wine for Richard

Monday, 5th August, 2013

Morrisons - Never Fail Method for Buying Wine

Tuesday, 9th July, 2013

Writing Tasting Notes about Great Wine

Wednesday, 2nd May, 2013

Is a Tasting Note Helpful when Shopping?

Wednesday, 24th April, 2013

Do Tasting Notes Have any Value?

Friday, 22nd March, 2013

The Five Secrets of Stylish Women Applied to Drinking Wine

Tuesday, 12th February, 2013

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2011
Steps in Becoming a Wine Snob

Saturday, 10th December, 2011

A Morning at the Mount Barker WA Wine Show

Sunday, 20th November, 2011

Natural Flavours from Wine and Beer Yeasts

Friday, 26th August, 2011

Status in St Emilion Raises Issues

Sunday, 24th July, 2011

What Should You Pay for Great Wine?

Sunday, 15th May, 2011

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2009
The Power of Gold

Wednesday, 25th November, 2009

First Write the Review then Taste the Wine

Wednesday, 25th November, 2009

The Artisans of the Barossa 12th September
Part 2 of the Barossa Tastings

Friday, 30th October, 2009

The Whites do go Better With Fish

Friday, 30th October, 2009

A Parker Tasting Should Make Us Pause

Tuesday, 13th October, 2009

Why You Drink Champagne by the Sea

Thursday, 8th October, 2009

Tasting at Three Barossa Wine Shows
Part 1 - The Small Winemakers Show

Sunday, 4th October, 2009

It's In The Bubbles, Stupid

Friday, 2nd October, 2009

How Good is Your Palate?

Monday, 21st September, 2009

Another Know All Wine Wanker

Monday, 21st September, 2009

Further Thoughts on the Australian Wine Show System

Thursday, 3rd September, 2009

Wine Advice from Craigslist

Thursday, 3rd September, 2009

Comparing Wine Types and Dog Breeds

Saturday, 1st August, 2009

Electronic Experts Give Wine Advice

Monday, 15th June, 2009

In Search of a Holy Grail

Monday, 5th May, 2009

The Gimblett Gravels Travelling Road Show Surprises London

Monday, 20th April, 2009

The Beauty of the Five Point Judging System

Thursday, 26th March, 2009

Ideas for a New Wine Judging Scale

Thursday, 12th March, 2009

The First Growth Gimbletts

Monday, 26th January, 2009

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2008
The Story of One Lonely Bottle

Friday, 26th December, 2008

The Future of Capital City Wine Shows

Friday, 5th December, 2008

The More You Spend the Better the Taste

Friday, 2nd May, 2008

The Key to Tasting Wines

Friday, 11th April, 2008

Buying Wines That Have a Sense of Place

Friday, 11th April, 2008

What Are We to Make Of Wine Tasting Notes

Monday, 4th February, 2007

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2007
Study of the Label Alters Our Tastes

Sunday, 9th December, 2007

One in Five Cannot Smell Alpha-ylangene

Monday, 24th September, 2007

Charles Must Love It

Friday, 24th August, 2007

Liking Rough Red

Thursday, 28th June, 2007

The Ultimate Masked Bottle

Firday, 24th May, 2007

Create the Atmosphere for the Tasting Result You Want

Monday, 19th March, 2007

Confessions of Wine Deceit, Other Deceptions and Fooling Yourself

Monday, 29th January, 2007

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2006
Two Sides of the Wine Coin

Sunday, 12th November, 2006

Wine Labels, Ranking, Ratings, Experts and Wine Prices

Friday, 27th October, 2006

A Story About Verdelho

Wednesday, 4th October, 2006

The Magnetic Appeal of Wine

Sunday, 24th September, 2006

Geology Cannot be Found In Wine

Thursday, 18th September, 2006

More on the Impact of Scoring Wines Out of 100

Thursday, 14th September, 2006

How a Three Star Wine Became a 90 Point Wine

Saturday, 9th September, 2006

High Alcohol - The Debate Rolls On

Tuesday, 5th September, 2006

So You Suffer from Anosmia

Monday, 7th August, 2006

Canít Tell Your Brett from Oak Flavours

Tuesday, 18th July, 2006

Terroir - Can It Possible Shine Through the Background Noise

Tuesday, 4th July, 2006

A Little Spat Over Chateau Pavie

Thursday, 15th June, 2006

After All This Time - Now They Tell Us

Tuesday, 13th June, 2006

Winemaking and the French Touch

Friday, 9th June, 2006

The Judgement of Paris Part II

Monday, 29th May, 2006

Why Do Chardonnays Seldom Win Trophies?

Friday, 5th May, 2006

The Other French Paradox

Tuesday, 2nd May, 2006

Show Me the Chardonnay Tasting

Sunday, 30th April, 2006

Judging Wine and the View of the American 'Wine Spectator'

Thursday, 6th April, 2006

The World Versus Robert M. Parker, Part Three

Saturday, 18th March, 2006

Halliday v Parker Continues to Attract International Attention

Thursday, 5th January, 2005

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2005
"Thank You Mr. Evans and Sorry Mr. Parker"

Thursday, 8th December, 2005

The Differences of Opinion Continue: Mount Mary Quintets vs. Robert M. Parker Jr. Part 2

Monday, 5th December, 2005

Sharp Differences of Opinion Over Mount Mary

Monday, 14th November, 2005

The Views of the Economists With a Sense of Humour

Friday, 14th October, 2005

Wine Quality: Does Terroir Matter?

Friday, 14th October, 2005

Thoughts on Wine Judging

Thursday, 13th October, 2005

What You See Affects What You Smell and Taste

Tuesday, 13th September, 2005

The New Taste of Wine

Friday, 2nd September, 2005

Consumers Disagree with Wine Experts

Saturday, 27th August, 2005

Drinking From Special Wine Glasses

Thursday, 4th August, 2005

Now, This Wine Drinks Well, Night After Night

Monday, 18th April, 2005

Corks, Stelvin Caps and Oxygen

Wednesday, 6th April 2005

A Peep Behind the Wine Show Door

Thursday, 17 March 2005

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2004
Going To Your Second Wine Tasting

Saturday, 11th December, 2004

What You Bring to Your First Wine Tasting

Saturday, 4th December, 2004

What Do Show Medals Mean - Part 2

Tuesday, 7th December, 2004

What Do Show Medals Mean - Part 1

Friday, 3rd September, 2004



©2014 Glug  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |   RSS Feed
Liquor Licensing Act 1997: It is an offence to sell or supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years, or to obtain liquor on behalf of a person under the age of 18 years.
All transactions in $AUD. This web site is operated by Glug ABN: 39 733 636 700 Licence No: 51401128