Despite various state borders closed and 15 million Australians in lockdown, judging for the Drink Easy Awards will go ahead in Adelaide this week with an all-South Australian judging line-up.
Nick Ryan will now lead the judging, from Wednesday to Friday at the University of Adelaide’s Bonython Hall.
“We had to postpone last year’s awards due to Covid but that wasn’t going to happen this year,” says Drink Easy director Tamrah Petruzzelli.
“Our thoughts are with everyone in lockdown, especially our friends who were Adelaide-bound to judge this year’s awards.
“Fortunately for us, South Australia is home to many talented and generous people who were able to step in at the last minute to help us find the best drinks in the land.
“All of our non-South Australian judges are much-loved members of the Drink Easy family and we hope they will be able to join us at the Drink Easy awards night to help us celebrate Australia’s best drinks and producers.”
Founded by Tamrah Petruzzelli (Super Assembly), Mike Bennie (P+V Merchants) and Duncan Welgemoed (Africola), Drink Easy celebrates drinks that represent excellence and show charisma, as well as the cultures that surround brewing, distilling and fermenting.
Aside from tasting beverages from all over the land, the Drink Easy judges will partake in cultural activities.
These include a Welcome Workshop with proud man Jack Buckskin, mindfulness sessions with Julie Sayasane, an SA Museum tour with John Carty and Jared Thomas, as well as lunches by Share dining and Africola, and dinners at the Exeter and East End Cellars.
Judging for the inaugural Drink Easy Awards was held at Mona in Hobart in 2019 where Wildflower’s St Phoebe 2019 was crowned Australia’s best drink over a Victorian skin contact Pinot Gris from Oakridge Wines (2019 Pinot Gris) and Sullivans Cove’s XO Double Cask Tasmanian Brandy.
2021 Drink Easy judges:
Wine: Steve Pannell (judging lead), Katie Spain, Charlotte Hardy, Nick Stock, Gill Gordon Smith, John Carty, Sue Bell, Kate Laurie, Bhatia Dheeraj, Michael Downer and Justine Henschke.
Spirits: Brendan Carter (judging lead), Dana Whyte, Nicola Dean, Tim Boast, Kayla Grigoriou and Sharon Romeo.
Beer + Cider: Gareth Lewis (judging lead), Dave Lawson, Carla Naismith and Marc Huber.
Non-alcoholic: Rose Kentish (judging lead), Damian Foo, Greta Wohlstadt and Valerie Henbest.