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Canberra wine guru Ken Helm wins prestigious Wolf Blass Award

One of Canberra’s pioneer winemakers, Ken Helm, has been awarded the prestigious Wolf Blass Award at the Hyatt International Riesling Challenge’s gala award dinner in Canberra.

The Wolf Blass Award is presented annually, and sponsored by Wolf Blass Wines, to recognise an individual or organisation that has made a significant contribution to the development and promotion of Riesling.

Previous winners have included Peter Lehmann, Brian Barry, Wendy Stuckey, Guenter Prass and the Clare Valley Winemakers.

Presenting the award to Ken Helm, the Chairman of the International Riesling Challenge, Wolf Blass described the popular Canberra region winemaker as a true leader in a fledgling but growing cool climate wine region.

“Ken Helm is not only fanatical about Riesling, he now consistently produces some of the best examples of Riesling in the nation,” Wolf Blass said.

“His German ancestry certainly comes through in the delicate quality of his white wines, and the Helm Riesling in particular is turning heads at wine shows both here and overseas.

”Ken’s influence is far greater than his skills in the vineyard. For two decades or more he has led the promotion of the Canberra region wines and perhaps his greatest triumph was in helping to establish the very successful Riesling Challenge in 2000 which has now achieved international staus with 458 entries from nine countries,” Wolf Blass said.

Ken Helm established his small vineyard near Murrumbateman, north of Canberra, in 1973 and the first wine he produced in 1977 was in fact a Riesling that won Helm’s first show award. In 1999 he was awarded the Graham Gregory Trophy by the NSW Government for a major contribution to the NSW wine industry. But it is his success in the vineyard that really drives the former Mayor of Yass. Helm Wines now boasts 15 trophies, 17 gold, 46 silver and more than 120 bronze medals in wine shows.

In recent weeks the Helm Riesling has won a silver medal at the Best of Riesling in Germany and the 2006 Premium Helm Riesling is amongst the Top 40 Wines in NSW.

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