Judging of the annual Hunter Valley Wine Show has kicked off

The annual Hunter Valley Wine Show is off to a cracking start this week, with a diverse team of judging panels from near and far sniffing, spitting and examining up to 130 entries each day.

The Hunter Valley Wine Show is considered one of Australia’s oldest wine shows and has been held continuously since 1974.

The annual regional wine show aims to assess and showcase the quality of wines being produced by the Hunter Valley, with medalists selected through a rigorous testing process. 

This year’s international judge is Asia Wine Service and Education Centre and Senior Wine Educator Corrine Mui. Based in Hong Kong, Corinne’s expertise in judging spans over ten years in international wine shows across the globe.

Corinne is the ‘Wine Ambassador’ for Wine Australia in Asia and an appointed panel speaker for the James Halliday China roadshows. She was also recently awarded the ‘2017 Best Educator’ by Wines of Germany and the ‘2018 Sake Ambassador’ by the Sake Sommelier Association.

Corrine will join one of three judging panels, each consisting of one panel chair, two senior judges and one trainee judge. During the three-day event, each panel can sample up to 130 wines per day.

For Corrine, this is not her first time in the Hunter Valley, but the first time her expertise is needed to determine the best of the best in the area alongside her helpful panel. 

The 2018 international judge is Asia Wine Service and Education Centre (AWSEC) COO and Senior Wine Educator Corrine Mui.

The 2018 international judge is Asia Wine Service and Education Centre (AWSEC) COO and Senior Wine Educator Corrine Mui.

‘The local judges opinions are very interesting as a lot of them are familiar to these styles of wines such as older semillons, which have such a unique flavour which is not so common for me’ explains Corrine.

The awards will once again be judged by a fully integrated software system specifically designed to facilitate all functions of the show from online entry, electronic judging and scoring through to result collation.

This means that the judges’ scores come through live to the heads of the panel, making results instant and indisputable.

‘It is not tough but it is interesting for me to familiarize myself with these specific styles of wines only found in the Hunter region’. Corrine tells us. 

Judging alongside Corrine is one of the wine making industry’s most respected stalwarts and the James Halliday 2017 Australian Winemaker of the year, Sarah Crowe.

Yarra Yering winemaker Sarah is taking the reins of the prestigious panel from one of her first mentors, PJ Charteris, who has been in the role since 2015. 

Yerra Yering Winemaker and the James Halliday 2017
Australian Winemaker of the Year Sarah Crowe is the first female to ever Chair the judging panel of the Hunter Valley Wine Show.

Yerra Yering Winemaker and the James Halliday 2017 Australian Winemaker of the Year Sarah Crowe is the first female to ever Chair the judging panel of the Hunter Valley Wine Show.

Sarah, who credits PJ as her biggest influence after he took her under his wing in the role of his Assistant Winemaker at Brokenwood in 2004, will head up the panel and face the task of presiding over the judging the region’s incredible wines.

‘Everything has gone really well, we had a fabulous day one of judging the 17’ and 18’ Semillon’s, and the 17’ Shiraz’s were definitely peak point of fun for everyone. It has been very hard separating the top wines has been really difficult’ explains Sarah. 

Lines of varying chardonnays aligned for tasting at the 2018 Hunter Valley Wine Show.

Lines of varying chardonnays aligned for tasting at the 2018 Hunter Valley Wine Show.

‘The team of judges we have put together are very thoughtful and have a very diverse palate, the conversations we have been having around the wines have been great learning discussions...’ 

‘The quality is so high, some of the judging on certain wines such as the named vineyard 17’ Shiraz has been so difficult that we are still teasing out the conversations the panel has had on them...’

Hunter Valley Wine Show President David Flynn said the show was always an outstanding showcase of the quality wines being produced in the region and he expected this year to be no different.

‘As Australia’s oldest continuous grape growing region, the Hunter Valley is globally renowned for our wines and the Hunter Valley Wine Show is the perfect vehicle for highlighting the incredible wines being made in the region.’ He said it was a highlight to have Sarah in the role of Chair of Judges.

‘Sarah will bring a wonderful dynamic and balanced approach which will be amply supported by her in-depth knowledge of the Hunter’s wines. Not only is she the 2017 Halliday Wine Maker of the Year, but perhaps more importantly, a person of great character and standing within the industry and we are thrilled to have her’. explains David.  

Judging of the exhibits takes place from 20 –22 August. Winners will be announced at the Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association Celebrations luncheon on Friday, August 24 at Oaks Cypress Lakes. 

The expert judging panel are put to the test, tasting up to 130 wines per day.

The expert judging panel are put to the test, tasting up to 130 wines per day.