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Monday 16 July 2018

Queensland Wine Show result sparks a controversy

Are wine shows designed to help consumers discover excellent wines, to "improve the breed" or to help boost the morale of winemakers in an emerging region? 

That question was bought into focus by the results of the Royal Queensland Wine Show released over the weekend. 

The wine at the centre of much social media attention was the Symphony Hills Wines 2017 Gewurztraminer. 

This wine was named The Courier-Mail Best Queensland Wine of Show "for the best Queensland wine made and produced in Queensland by a Queensland winery ". 

There was only one problem. The grapes used for the wine came from New England in New South Wales. 

What does it say about the Queensland wine industry that the wine judged the best in the state is made from grapes grown in another state? A slap in the face for Queensland viticulturists? 

The problem for chief judge David Bicknell and his team was that no Queensland wines won a trophy, or gold medal, at the show. Although it should be pointed out that several leading Queensland producers do not enter.

Either way, it does not seem that the show committee are being totally open and honest with consumers reading their results catalogue. 

Chief judge Bicknell said on Twitter: "The elephant in the room - no gold-medal-winning wines grown in Queensland. One outstanding wine from a local producer. As an emerging area, better to focus on the positive rather than dwell on the negative?"

Vastly experienced wine show judge Iain Riggs agreed, saying: "Give recognition where due. Don't think any subterfuge intended in results."

But Peter McGlashan, winemaker at leading Queensland winery Ridgemill Estate, clearly thought no trophy should have been awarded if there was not a good enough wine from Queensland. 

"I worry it sends the wrong message about our GIs (geographic indictators)," McGlashan said on Twitter. "It is awesome to have multi-regional wineries in our area, and the great wine they produce. But those wine, according to the Label Integrity Program, are not Queensland wine.

"Hence the issue is not with the wine but with how the award is awarded by the show society."

The wine at the centre of the controversy, should you be tempted, retails for $45.


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