Hunter Valley Wine Show rings in 50th year

Hunter Valley Wine Show Photo by Chris Elfes ( ) 

Judging at this year’s Hunter Valley Wine Show commences on Monday 15 August. This year the show will commemorate its 50th milestone with a week of celebrations, reflecting on the rich history of the event and region.

Celebrations will culminate with an industry celebration lunch at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley on Friday 19 August, where the prestigious best in show trophies will be awarded.

The Hunter Valley Wine Show was the nation’s first regional wine show. Also a first of its kind, the Hunter River Vineyard Association, formed in 1847, aimed to foster a spirit of openness, collaborative self-education, disciplined experimentation, and industry organisation.

It set a precedent for subsequent Australian wine associations, which continue today to influence the production and commerce of Australian Wine.

The Association held their first judging in 1847, with the show running continuously in its current format since 1973, recognising and celebrating excellence in Hunter Valley winemaking.

Over the past 50 years, the show has received over 33,000 entries and awarded over 1,900 gold medals. The evolution of the show has led to a series of innovations with the show being the first in Australia to implement a revolutionary digital scoring system in 2016, and the first regional show to use Riedel glassware in 2006.

Wine writer and senior wine competition judge, James Halliday AM, was a judge at the show for 10 years and reflected on the evolution of this important Australian wine show.

“Wine shows have directly contributed to the quality of Australian wines now found on the international stage. The Hunter Valley Wine Show is particularly significant as part of the NSW wine industry and noting the importance of the Sydney market,” he said.

“I strongly support what regional wine shows offer to the Australian wine industry, providing the market and consumers alike, with access to expert judging on the quality of our wines.”

From the myriad of expert judges, including from 2006 the introduction of an international judge, to the long-time serving Australian Defence Force members assisting in the operations of the event, the show has created a dedicated community with a shared passion for excellence in wine.

“I am proud to lead this committee of community volunteers, and to work closely with the Singleton Army Barracks who have supported the show since 1980, representing over 40 years of community collaboration,” President of the Hunter Valley Wine Show Executive Committee Craig Saywell said.

“We are delighted to have former Commandant of the Singleton Army Base and Freeman of the Shire of Singleton, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove (Retd) and Lady Lynne Cosgrove join us for this year’s 50th year celebrations.”

Former Wine Show Committee Member and Author of From Tendrills to Trophies, the Origin of the Hunter Valley Wine Show, John Flannery noted that it has been his long-term aspiration to ensure the origins and evolution of the show have been recorded for future generations.

“The success of the show has only been possible because the Hunter Valley wine industry, past and present, has nurtured the idea of a wine competition which now plays such an important role in recognising the quality and talent within the Hunter Valley wine industry,” said Flannery.

This year’s judging panel is chaired by highly experienced and respected winemaker and sommelier, Samantha Connew, owner of Stargazer wines in Tasmania. Samantha carved out her reputable career as a senior winemaker at many wineries across the world including Wirra Wirra (McLaren Vale) and Tower Estate (Hunter Valley), as well as managing applied research projects for the Australian Wine Research Institute.

Joining her to judge at the 50th show is a panel of diverse, highly accredited sommeliers and winemakers, a mix of local, outer state and international experts.

Judging of the show will commence Monday 15 August before medal and trophy winners are announced at the 50th Celebration Luncheon on Friday at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.


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