Provenance awards a welcome addition to wine shows

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Provenance awards are gaining currency in Australian wine competitions, which is a very positive development. The Royal Adelaide Wine Show led the way six years ago with its Gramp, Hardy, Hill Smith Trophy; now the Hunter Valley Wine Show, Canberra Regional Wine Show and Heathcote Wine Show have started something similar and Canberra’s national wine show is about to follow suit.

‘Provenance’ awards are bestowed not on a single vintage of a wine, but three – with a suitable gap between vintages demonstrating a capacity to age well. Leading Canberra District riesling producer Helm Wines (tastings) has won this year’s inaugural award at their local wine show. The trio submitted to the judges were 2013 (tasting), 2008 (tastings) and 2004 vintages of Helm Premium Riesling.

Ken Helm commented: “The provenance class is a new initiative by both the National Wine Show and Canberra Regional Show introduced this year to recognise outstanding Australian wines that have shown consistency of style and quality over many years.

“Helm Premium Riesling has been produced exclusively from the Lustenberger vineyard since 2004 and has attracted wide acclaim and awards.” These include 20 trophies.

The provenance trophy at the recent Hunter Valley Wine Show went to Thomas Wines, for its Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon, vintages 2014 (tasting), 2006 (tasting) and 2004 (tasting).

These are awards that really have meaning. The first provenance award, in 2009 at Royal Adelaide, was the brainchild of Brian Walsh, who was chairing the wine committee at the time, and was instituted with the help of Sue Hodder, then chairman of judges. The citation was for an ‘outstanding wine of provenance’. Walsh said at the time the award was about ‘expression of place and winemaker’s craft’. Cheers to that. 

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