Judges for the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards will be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
This also applies to stewards and officials involved in the judging.
All judges will be Victorian based and undergo a Covid-19 test in the three days before judging commences.
There will also be rapid antigen testing each morning for everyone involved in the judging.
The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) says it remains “optimistic” that judging of the 2021 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards (RMWA) will proceed in November, at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
Judging was originally going to occur in October but has been delayed to provide additional time for all judges and stewards to be fully vaccinated.
“The Royal Melbourne Wine Awards committee have been proactive in our approach to implementing stringent Covid safe measures that will best assist the delivery of the awards,” says Samantha Isherwood, chair of the RMWA committee.
“We are committed to ensuring the 2021 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards are a tremendous success and after much discussion and careful consideration, we are confident that the various Covid safe measures we plan to put in place give us the best opportunity to achieve this.”
Chair of judges Matt Harrop is keen for the 2021 RMWA to lead the way in introducing Covid safe measures to ensure capital city wine shows can proceed.
“The Royal Melbourne Wine Awards are highly valued and respected by the Australian wine industry because they continue to adapt and introduce new ways to celebrate and recognise wine while providing a platform to improve quality and inspire innovation,” he says.
“It is important that we do our best to ensure that we can judge the Awards and provide the opportunity to celebrate excellence in winemaking again this year.
“Based on the feedback from industry representatives that have been offered the opportunity to judge or steward at the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards this year, they are very appreciative that we are planning to implement stringent Covid safe measures including the requirement to be fully vaccinated for the health and safety of all involved.”
Judging will take place over five days from Monday 15 November until Friday 19 November at the Melbourne Showgrounds, subject to Covid restrictions permitting.
Entries will remain open until Friday 8 October.
RASV first introduced the Royal Melbourne Wine Show in 1884 with only 13 entries in its first year.
Since then, the competition has grown rapidly, now receiving more than 3,000 entries each year.
The RMWA boasts the country’s best-known individual wine award – the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for the Best Young Red Wine.