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6/11/2014

More than just a wine show

Mildura is hosting this year’s Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show (AAVWS) which kicks off today and welcomes two international guests, a first AAVWS fellowship recipient and a record-breaking number of entrants.

Wine writer Walter Speller says he is “hugely excited” to judge at this year’s AAVWS and experience first-hand how Italy’s varieties express themselves in unique Australian terroirs.

“A couple of years ago an Italian wine producer lamented that Italy lacks great indigenous grape varieties, because they wouldn’t travel as well as France’s Cabernet and Merlot," he says.

"I think the AAVWS will put that misconception straight."

Speller will be a speaker at Talk and Taste tomorrow (Friday 7th November) and will be joined by Georgian winemaker Lado Uzunashvili, as well as Australian winemakers Glenn James, Corrina Wright and Bart Van Olphen to taste and talk the “ancient in modernity” over two sessions.

“The first session will be an exploration of Georgian wines and native varieties such as Kakhuri Mtsvane, Saperavi and Rkatsiteli led by Lado and the second sessions are geared for anyone who wants to explore non-conventional winemaking,” Jane Faulkner, chief judge of the show said.

“Also this year, we received 32 applications spanning winemakers, sommeliers and vignerons to journalists and students across a large range of ages and experience for the first ever AAVWS Fellowship.

“The competition was quite tough, but the selection panel eventually chose Sarah Limacher from Keystone Wine Group as the inaugural recipient.

"A VIP media pass was also given to Nathan Gogoll who is the editor of Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine."

Limacher says she entered the AAVWS fellowship because she is “super passionate about encouraging diversity, pushing the boundaries and getting wine drinkers excited about the amazing array of alternative varieties being grown and produced here in Australia”.

“I’m excited to pass on and share the work and potential of the wonderful producers, viticulturists and winemakers who are thinking and making wines outside the box," she says.

Kim Chalmers, AAVWS committee member and winegrower, says there has been an 18.5 per cent increase in entries to this year’s AAVWS — from 600 last year to 716 for 2014.

“The AAVWS entries represent the most comprehensive collection of data on alternative varieties in Australia," she says.

"Entrants must specify everything from vineyard elevation, rainfall and irrigation to fermentation process and vessels.

“All this data is accessible at the AAVWS website (aavws.com) which anyone can use to find a particular wine by variety, medal or any other of the parameters listed.

"It's an excellent resource and something we are very proud to spearhead.”

Gogoll is heading to Mildura today and will be tweeting throughout his trip on the Grapegrower & Winemaker Twitter handle: @Grape_and_Wine

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