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Wine and wisdom celebrated at 31st Annual Qantas Wine Show of Western Australia Awards Dinner

It was an all round celebration of wisdom when the 31st Annual Qantas Wine Show of Western Australia announced the Houghton 2007 Wisdom Chardonnay as the winner of the Qantas Award for Best Wine of Show.

Western Australia’s premier wine awards judging exclusively WA wines, the show saw more than 1100 wines assessed by an esteemed panel of judges headed by wine-wise Chairman of Judges, James Halliday in what was his final show judging appearance in Western Australia.

A wine industry luminary, James Halliday has shared his wine knowledge, experience and wise palate with up and coming judges over many decades, and will leave a lasting legacy on the reputation and character of the Qantas Wine Show of Western Australia, now in its 31st year and judged in the south-west town of Mount Barker.

The Houghton Wine Company’s win was its second successive Qantas Best Wine of Show Trophy, after taking the top award last year for the 2004 Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon, which this year won two trophies – Best Older Dry Red and the JS Glastones Trophy for Best and Most Distinctive Regional Character.

The 2007 Wisdom Chardonnay also received the Best Chardonnay and Best White Wine of Show trophies, rounding out a very good night for the Houghton Wine Company with six trophies to follow up on last year’s successful haul of the same number.

The other major winner on the evening was relative newcomer to the Margaret River wine scene, Flametree Wines for its 2007 Cabernet Merlot, which took home the Best Red Wine and Best Red Blend Trophies. Howard Park was given best 2008 Riesling and boutique Great Southern label, Old Kent River was awarded Best Pinot Noir.

Celebrated WA winemaker and Senior Judge of the Show, Vanya Cullen, said the depth of the wines in the show was impressive after a bumper 2008 vintage in WA. Ms Cullen said the 2008 vintage brought a depth of flavour to WA wines that seemed to have been absent in recent years.

“It has been a delightful show to judge because we’ve had a few really good seasons,” she said.

“In general, the reds have been better than the whites, but the rieslings have been fantastic, as have the sauvignon blancs.”

Ms Cullen said ageing vines had given WA wines a depth of flavour, which boded well for the State’s reputation as a maker of premium wines.

“WA produces 4 per cent of the nation’s wine but 20 per cent of its premium wine, that is one of the great things about WA,” she said.

Ms Cullen said the Houghton Wisdom was a clear winner in the 2007 chardonnay class this year.

"The 2007 chardonnay class was very strong," she said. "I think Houghton are doing fantastic things with their white wines, and their chardonnays in particular."

The 2008 Qantas Wine Show of Western Australia saw a total of 1,186 entries assessed from 203 producers around WA. 63 gold medals, 112 silver and 416 bronze were awarded, an increase in all areas on the 2007 show. 17 trophies were handed out in total.

Wine enthusiasts will now have an exclusive opportunity to sip and sample all of the trophy-winning wines from the 2008 show, as well as many other gold medal winners, when the Hyatt Regency Perth holds the annual Qantas Wine Show Top 50 Tasting in its Terrace Ballroom on Wednesday 29 October.

Tickets are $39 which includes canapés, and are still available on 9225 1220 or by emailing ">M. Further details on the 31st Annual Awards Dinner Trophy Winners and the upcoming Top 50 Tasting are available from the website, www.wineshowwa.com.au.

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