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Riesling Challenge entries top 500

Organisers of the 2008 Canberra International Riesling Challenge have set another record for the number of entries received, breaking the 500 barrier for the first time.

The ninth annual Riesling Challenge, to be hosted at Canberra's Hyatt Hotel from October 14–18, again brings together many of the world's best Rieslings from throughout the world.

"From such a small start just a few years ago, we are staggered at how this event has evolved and captured the imagination of winemakers from four continents," said chair of the Canberra International Riesling Challenge, Ken Helm.

"It is particularly pleasing that this year's entries boast record numbers from the traditional home of Riesling, Germany (99 entries) and also from Australia (304 entries)."

A total of 506 wines have entered the 2008 Riesling Challenge, up from 482 last year.

Other nations participating in the Challenge this year include New Zealand (46 entries), the USA (45 entries), South Africa (9) and Austria (3).

"For the first time this year our expert judges will look at the wines based on regions. We believe this is the way of the future for judging at leading wine shows," Mr Helm said.

"The response from winemakers to this innovation has been very positive.

"We are confident it will help further increase the profile of Riesling globally, as well as within each wine region.

"Ultimately, all gold medal winning wines will compete for the prestigious 'Best in World Riesling'."

Yalumba's chief winemaker, Louisa Rose, again heads the judging panel in 2008. She will be joined by two international experts, top German wine judge, Alexander Kohnen and John Belsham from New Zealand's Marlborough region.

Also on the panel are Ian Hongell, senior winemaker from Peter Lehmann wines in the Barossa, Sally Parker who is sommelier from Sydney's Bather's Pavilion and leading Australian wine writer, Ken Gargett.

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