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In search of the world’s best Riesling

Shrugging off the effects of the global financial crisis, the 2010 Canberra International Riesling Challenge has attracted a record number of entries drawn from almost every continent of the world.

At yesterday’s launch of the Challenge, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, praised the ambition and ultimate achievements of organisers for taking what started as a small Canberra-based event and turning it into a world-class wine event.

Chair of the Challenge, Ken Helm, says the 10th Riesling Challenge, to be hosted at the Albert Hall and Hyatt Hotel Canberra will run from 12–17 October 2009, and will be by far the biggest and best yet.

“We were worried when we started preparations for this year’s event that the dramatic global economic downturn would impact on our 10th anniversary event,” Helm said.

“I am thrilled to announce that this year’s event has broken all previous records – both in the total number of entries which stand at approximately 550 and 10 countries to be represented this year.

“Thanks largely to the support of Canberra’s embassies and high commissions, this year we have Rieslings entered from 10 countries, including wines for the first time from South America (Argentina and Chile).

“In terms of our international profile, this fantastic result sets us apart from almost every wine competition in the world. We are certainly now the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere by far,” Helm said.

Helm says the growing number of entries reflects the ongoing renaissance of Riesling as one of the world’s great table wines.

“This is most evident with the number of entries from across Australia which are up from 304 last year to 352 this year. That is a remarkable growth in entries in just one year.

“We are thrilled also to see the continuing and growing international interest in the Canberra Riesling Challenge. For the first time, the number of entries from the USA (66) outstrip the traditional home of Riesling, Germany (59 entries) and New Zealand (46),” Helm said.

There are entries also this year from Canada, South Africa, France and the Czech Republic.

For the first time, David O’Leary, chief winemaker from O’Leary Walker Wines will chair the high-profile judging panel.

All gold medal winning wines entered in the Challenge will taste-off for the prestigious ‘Best in World Riesling’ trophy which will be awarded at the presentation dinner on Friday 16 October at the Hyatt. Tickets for the dinner will go on sale shortly.

The public will get a chance to taste the entries at a special public tasting to take place on Saturday 17 October, at the Albert Hall, Canberra.

For more information on the 2009 Canberra International Riesling Challenge visit www.rieslingchallenge.com



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