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A new first for Canberra International Riesling Challenge

In another first for an Australian wine show, the 2008 Canberra International Riesling Challenge in October will judge wines based on regions.

CIRC Chair Ken Helm said that the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation's recent decision to promote 'Regional Hero' wines on the world export market supports the innovative approach that the Riesling Challenge organisers are taking this year.

'After eight years, the Challenge is determined to continue to lead the way by refining the judging process,' Mr Helm said.

'In a way it is almost impossible, and certainly unfair, to try to compare a Clare or Eden Valley Riesling with a wine from Tasmania or the Canberra region. Or in the Northern Hemisphere, to attempt to judge the Mosel against the Rhinehessan wines in Germany.

'Due to climate, geography, soil types and vine history and management the wines are just too different and deserve to be grouped separately based on regionality.'

Under the new judging system the unique qualities of the wines from each region in the world will be assessed 'regionally'.

The gold medal winning wines will then go to judging by country and gold medals there will progress to the final judge off for the ultimate trophy for 'Best in World Riesling'.

All wines will be masked and the expert judging panel, headed by Yalumba's Louisa Rose will jot be aware of the regions during the judging.

'Ultimately we believe most of the major wine shows will eventually adopt this regional approach to judging,' Mr Helm said. 'Certainly there has been an overwhelmingly positive response to this new approach from winemakers.'

'It should go a long way towards increasing the profile of Riesling internationally, nationally and importantly within each wine region.'

Entries for the 2008 Canberra International Riesling Challenge will open on 1 June and close on 18 July. On-line entry and other details will be available on www.rieslingchallenge.com next month.

The event will again be hosted at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra from October 14–18, 2008.

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