Major changes for Riverina Wine Show

Riverina Wine Show

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The Riverina has gone back to its roots, with major changes to its local wine show. From this year, the show’s 42nd year, it will host the inaugural Australian Italian Wine Awards, an ‘alternative varieties’ competition limited to the Italian grape varieties, which acknowledges the importance of Italian migrants to the development of agriculture in the Riverina region going back to 1916.

The Riverina Wine Show has also been split into two – a show for Riverina wine, and another judging for wines from all other Australian regions. As well, the former international sweet wine challenge will become Australian only.

This is sensible as the sweet wine show never succeeded in attracting a meaningful international entry apart from New Zealand.

As a former judge and chair of judges at Riverina, I welcome these changes but would have made one alteration. I don’t see the need for regional shows to accept entries from every other region. There is a tradition of schizophrenic wine shows in Australia: shows which are national when they should be regional, and this looks like continuing. It would have been a good time to convert the Riverina into a true regional wine show.

I’m reliably told Riverina wineries now produce one in four glasses of Australian wine. Much of that wine involves grapes grown outside the Riverina, which is why they are wedded to the national model.

But increasingly, Riverina wineries are sourcing grapes from Hilltops and Tumbarumba, two NSW regions which don’t have wine shows of their own. Hence, there will also be two separate shows this year for wines made from Hilltops or Tumbarumba grapes, judged concurrently with the Riverina show. It seems a sound idea.

Riverina Wine Show dates

  • Entries close 22 July 2016
  • Judging for both shows 6 – 8 September 2016
  • Results announced 30 September 2016

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