Western Victoria wines put to the taste

Many of Western Victoria’s premier wineries are taking part in the 10th annual Western Victoria Wine Challenge which began on Tuesday at the Ararat Alexandra Community Centre.

The event showcases some of the regions best wines, judged under wine show conditions by a number of highly esteemed wine critics. On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, four judges put around 160 wines under the microscope.

President of the Western Victoria Wine Challenge, Simon Fennell.

President of the Western Victoria Wine Challenge, Simon Fennell said the wine show has become quite a big deal for local winemakers wanting to gain feedback and recognition for their work.

“The show certainly carries a great deal of prestige now, not just the coverage they’re getting post the show, but just to be judged by industry professionals as well as the bragging rights in the local area too,” Fennel said.

“There’s a friendly rivalry between particularly the Pyrenees and the Grampians, considering that they’re the two major regions within Western Victoria. So, there is a regional shield and it’s gone either way from year to year but certainly a very contested and prized trophy.”

Fennell explained that four judges have travelled from numerous locations to be a part of the event, including the competition’s Chairman of Judges for 2019, Chris Pfeiffer and Victoria’s very own Master of Wine, Wendy Cameron.

“It is difficult to recruit judges that we feel are going to do justice to the region. So, it’s a selection process, as well as their availability,” Fennel said.

“There’s a lot of other wine shows happening at this time of the year so it is a competitive market to try and obtain good judges for the show who will certainly do the wines justice.”

“In comparison to other wine shows, we actually have consumers judging. So, we offer consumer prizes. We take those gold and sometimes silver medal-winning entries and we put those to the public and they get a chance to vote.”

Judge Chris Pfeiffer is a local winemaker from Rutherglen, who says the most important part of a tasting is to enjoy the beverage.

“Wine tasting involves all your senses. So, it involves sight, smell, taste and feel. Obviously the first thing you see about a wine in the glass is its colour. You look if it’s appealing, you automatically want to reach over and take it,” Pfeiffer said.

“All the four senses are involved in wine tasting and of course it’s all about enjoyment at the end of the day. We all want to have a glass of wine that we enjoy.”

A panel of wine consumers will be tasting the best wines across each category tomorrow in Ararat and Ballarat before awarding consumer prizes at the awards luncheon on Friday, October 25.