Rutherglen Wine Show forges ahead

Image: Pfeiffer Wines’ senior winemaker and Rutherglen Wine Show committee member Jen Pfeiffer looks forward to the show back on this year with her own wines benchmarked and judged.
By Coral Cooksley

Wine exhibits are pouring in from around the nation to one of the longest running wines shows in Australian history.

A highly regarded national wine event, the Rutherglen Wine Show now 132 years old, is back on track having missed last year through COVID-19 restrictions.

The Australian Fortified Wine Show which is the largest one of its kind in Australia is also an incorporated part of the event.

With an important history that needs to be preserved, Rutherglen Wine Show (RWS) committee member and Pfeiffer Wines’ senior winemaker Jen Pfeiffer, said organisers were optimistic the event will run this year.

Pfeiffer said systems were in place should organisers be forced to move the date through further lockdowns or restrictions from an outbreak of COVID cases in regional Victoria.

“We have all our COVID plans and protocols in place,” she said.

“Judging is going ahead from September 13 to 16 with entries flowing in.”

More than 1100 entries were received from around the country in 2019 with every state this year represented with entries, as well as one of two territories – the ACT.

In previous years judges had travelled from all over the country as well as having an international guest judge.

Pfeiffer said in light of national and state lockdowns or restrictions with difficulties in interstate travel, judges had been organised from regional Victoria for this year’s event.

“We hope that Chair of Judges for the Rutherglen Wine Show and the Australian Fortified Wine Show, Griffith based Russell Cody from Calabria Family Wines and McWilliams Wines, will be available for the show, but recognise this is unlikely and have suitable replacements within the judging team willing and capable of taking on that role,” she said.

“In past years we have had young associate judges from Adelaide University too but we can’t see that happening this year.”

Pfeiffer said potential still existed for Charles Sturt University students who had also been associate judges in previous years to participate if they lived in regional Victoria.

“We encourage young associate judges from Rutherglen and across North East Victoria,” she said.

Pfeiffer said exhibitors had a great opportunity to benchmark their wines against wines from all over Australia at a national level.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how my wines fare too,” she said.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for anyone to taste wines in a professional environment with your peers as it’s a great learning exercise and has been very valuable to me in the course of my career.”

With challenges through the impact of COVID-19 faced by every wine show in Australia as well as all businesses, Pfeiffer said Rutherglen Wine Show committee members were actively involved in their own businesses as well.

“We’ve learned to adapt to our changing world living with COVID where wines shows are adapting too,” she said.

“A lot of wine shows were cancelled last year and to me it’s really an important part of the industry to have these events.

“You don’t often get an opportunity to place your wines in a line-up where they’re judged blind and have an independent panel of wine professionals assess your wine.”

Wine shows not only contribute to the continual improvement of the quality of Australian wines, Pfeiffer said the events were also important from sales and professional development perspectives.

“It’s a training ground for young wine professionals as well,” she said.

Social events tied in with the show include an exhibitors tasting and presentation dinner on 23 September as well as a public tasting the next day.


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