Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RedtoBrown News EXCLUSIVE - Broken Hill International Wine Show launched: “Set to revolutionise the Australian wine industry"

Last night the Broken Hill Chamber of Wine and Food Commerce, in conjunction with the Far West Alternative Wine Growers Collective announced that a new annual wine show would be held in the historic mining town, starting next year. The event, officially titled ‘The Broken Hill International Wine Show’, is scheduled to be held at the same time as the Sydney Royal Wine Show in February of each year.
The Broken Hill International Wine Show
 is set to boost tourism in 'The Silver City'
The concept is the brainchild of former wine marketer and freelance wine judge, Johan Trambly-Churchill. At the official launch, Trambly-Churchill was excited by the possibilities the wine show offered the town and Australian wine drinkers.  “This is a real win for Broken Hill. I commend the winemaking pioneers in this town for supporting me in pursuing my vision”. Trambly-Churchill outlined his plans for the event in an introductory 15 minute sound and light presentation. Included were a history of wine making in Broken Hill and interviews with the owner of the one wine bar in the town.  Trambly-Churchill also revealed that the Broken Hill International Wine Show would have 35 different classes of wine that receive a trophy. As an added extra, 25 special awards would be distributed amongst the trophy winners, for unique classes such as "best young semillon, not from the Hunter, paired with sautéed scallops" and "best single site, 100% whole bunch, cool-climate syrah".

Trambly-Churchill claimed the Broken Hill International Wine Show would also revolutionise the way wine shows are judged in Australia with a unique judging panel concept. “Organisers of this wine show realised that there are issues with wine shows when age-worthy wines of pedigree from a great vintage don't even win a bronze medal, while wines from the riper, cheaper, or "quaffer" category wines are awarded a trophy. To combat this tendency, we developed the ‘Galena Tasting Panel Method’. It will really shake up the wine judging world”.
Such was the excitement following last night's presentation, several wine
 corporations had already submitted samples to be entered into next year's Wine Show (inset)
Trambly-Churchill elaborated slightly on the ‘Galena Tasting Panel Method’ in his presentation, noting that when assessing the entrants, each tasting panel would taste 140-150 wines a day, with a Chairman of Judges and an international judge brought in to adjudicate when there was a disagreement. In response to a question from the audience querying how this new method differed from the traditional show panel system, or how anyone could possibly taste that many wines in a day and be confident in their assessments and scores, Trambly-Churchill was quite vague, mumbling something inaudible that referred to ‘The Galena Stone’ making the final decision on all Trophies, before ending his response by stating that further details on the judging method would be released closer to   the date of the wine show.

The mysterious Galena Stone had yet to be identified when this article went to print,
though some wine exporters believe they may have found it (inset).
As the finale to the presentation, Trambly-Churchill announced an Australian Wine Show first – the introduction of a ‘Rhodium medal’ for best wine in show. Following the presentation, Trambly-Churchill noted that the organising committee had toyed with the idea of a platinum medal for the best wine in show, but "platinum medals have already been awarded in the past”. Trambly-Churchill also highlighted the impact of the new medal. “The focus groups we surveyed liked the idea of a ‘Rhodium Medal’ and we think it will make our wine show really stand out”.

When asked why the Broken Hill International Wine Show was occurring at the same time as the Royal Sydney Wine Show, and whether this would have an impact on the popularity of the event, Trambly-Churchill was bullish. “I am confident that this wine show will stand up to any held in Australia. February is a relatively quiet month for wine shows, but on every weekend in February we still had one or more clashes with a notable wine event. We had to make a call on which one to go up against in February, and the Royal Sydney Wine Show was our choice. We did not want to clash with the Cootamundra, Condobolin, Katherine or Mt Isa wine shows, and holding it one week later in March would then bring us into conflict with the Karratha and Derby wine shows – all of these events are highly influential, so we settled on the clash with Sydney”.
Those in the know believe the upcoming Karratha
Asia-Pacific Wine Show will unearth some real gems

Though the representatives from major wine corporations refused to comment at the launch, it is expected that the Broken Hill International Wine Show will receive thousands of entries from wineries eager to possibly have the new Rhodium medal placed on their bottles. One wine executive who asked not to be named was quoted as saying that the wine show would improve sales of wine in the troubled $5-15 bracket, and could also be used to shift some aged material. “We love these wine shows, despite them being a bit of a lottery. If the public keep buying wines based on the ‘bling’, we will keep submitting them to be tasted amidst 1000’s of other bottles – it is a lottery with nice dividends, money for jam. Literally”.


Mike Bennie said...

Haha. Ace! A show I am dying to get into. x

Brown said...

Duly noted Mike - I will make the pitch to my 'contacts' :-)

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