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Well-Drilled Army Behind Hunter Valley Wine Show

By Friday 6 November 2020April 12th, 2021No Comments

Despite the challenges of even putting on a wine show in Covid times, the guys at the Singleton Army Base who help run the annual Hunter Valley Wine Show didn’t let Covid get in their way last week when they judged some 635 wines at the 48th rendition of the region’s prestigious wine show.

They donned their masks and gloves and with army-like precision got it done, hand washing and polishing more than 3,000 wine glasses and running the three-day-long event like clockwork.

While the famous egg sandwiches still made an appearance on judging day one, it certainly was a different kind of show this year with none of the guest or international judges, and just nine senior judges who were rumoured to have had a nosh up with a few local winemakers on night one which featured a magnum of the legendary wine – Lindemans Bin 6600 Shiraz from the acclaimed 1983 vintage which was made by local legends themselves, Gerry Sissingh and Karl Stockhausen.

Fast forward to today it certainly wasn’t the usual wine show trophy presentation lunch either, but the CCL Label Hunter Valley Wine Show Celebrations Luncheon went ahead in supremely Covid safe fashion with about one quarter of the usual suspects in the room at Ben Ean, including the 15 winemakers and their support crew who together shared in the 47 Gold Medals awarded while the rest of the industry cheered them on as the results were live streamed via Facebook.

While It was fabulous to see the silverware spread amongst wineries large and small, it was a day for table 6 who were last seen lugging eight trophies between them from the room. It was Briar Ridge winery that stole the show and took home Best White Wine of Show with its 2013 Briar Ridge Stockhausen Signature Semillon and De Iuliis Wines that was awarded the equally prestigious Best Red of Show for its 2018 De Iuliis Wines Talga Road Shiraz, proving time and again that these two styles are the signature of the Hunter Valley.

Veteran judge Iain Riggs made a guest appearance as he stepped in as Chair of Judges for reigning Chair from south of the border, Sarah Crowe. Iain spoke of the trials and tribulations associated with judging a wine show in COVID times, and how that despite there having been so many other challenges in 2020 with drought, bushfire and smoke, that there were some “really outstanding wines from the 2020 vintage that the region should be so proud of and that the winemakers worked really hard to achieve true to style, pure, clean wines.”

He admitted that judging wines from the trifecta of outstanding vintages 2017, 2018 and 2019 was far from being an arduous task, and that consumers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to buying Hunter Valley wines over the next couple of years with these vintages currently or soon to hit the market.

The judges made special note of the diversity of styles that also scored highly and the fact that so many of the Hunter Valley’s winemakers were branching out and experimenting with other varieties, not to mention the incredible job they did to make so many outstanding wines from the challenging 2020 vintage.

Proof that the Hunter isn’t only about Semillon and Shiraz, trophies were awarded to Bimbadgen Hunter Valley Vermentino 2019 for Best Other White Wine and De Iuliis Wines LDR Shiraz Touriga Nacional 2019 for Best Other Red Wine. Iain Riggs commented that it was great to see so many golds going to the more up and coming varieties and blends like Shiraz Touriga, Mourvedre, Tannat and the likes, all which he described as “stand outs”. Not to mention the true to style tawny and dessert style Semillons. He also noted that the Hunter was making some world class Chardonnay and it was great to see the Murray Tyrrell Chardonnay Trophy for the Best Chardonnay go to Tyrrell’s Belford Chardonnay 2018.

The Iain Riggs Wine of Provenance was awarded to Tyrrell’s for its historical Four Acres Shiraz from the vintages 2007, 2014 and 2018.

He went on to say that of the 635 wines that were entered, 60% of them were awarded medals and 8% were awarded gold medals, which are consistent ratios with other renowned regional wine shows. He wrapped up the celebrations with a mention that it was “terrific to see trophy winners from right across the spectrum of winemakers small and large. Outstanding wines” he said, “thanks for a great show” he concluded.


Marshall-Flannery Trophy Best Current Semillon (Class 1)
Brokenwood Wines 2020 Hunter Valley Semillon

Ed Jouault Memorial Trophy Best One-Year-Old Dry Semillon (Class 9)
Audrey Wilkinson 2019 Marsh Vineyard Semillon

McGuigan Family Trophy Best Mature Two-Year-Old and Older Semillon (Class 16)
Briar Ridge 2013 Stockhausen Signature Hunter Valley Semillon

George Wyndham Memorial Trophy Best Current and One-Year-Old Chardonnay (Classes 2 & 10)
Tinklers 2019 Hill Chardonnay

Henry John Lindeman Memorial Trophy Best Two-Year-Old and Older Chardonnay (Class 17)
Sponsored by Jurd’s Real Estate
Tyrrell’s 2018 Belford Chardonnay

Best ‘Other White’ Trophy (Classes 4, 5, 11 & 12)
Bimbadgen 2019 Hunter Valley Vermentino

Murray Tyrrell Chardonnay Trophy Best Chardonnay
Sponsored by Multi-Color Global Label Solutions (Classes 2, 10 & 17)
Tyrrell’s 2018 Belford Chardonnay

Doug Galbraith Memorial Trophy Best Sweet White (Class 22 & 23)
Margan Family Wines 2018 Botrytis Semillon

Trevor Drayton Memorial Trophy Best Fortified Wine (Class 25)
Mount Pleasant NV 30 Year Old Tawny Syrah

John Lewis Newcastle Herald Trophy Best Museum Red Wine (Class 27)
Tyrrell’s 2007 Vat 8 Shiraz

Graham Gregory Memorial Trophy Best Museum White (Class 26)
Tyrrell’s 2006 Vat 1 Semillon

Tyrrell Family Trophy Best Named Vineyard White Wine (Classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16 & 17)
Briar Ridge 2013 Dairy Hill Single Vineyard Hunter Valley Semillon

Drayton Family Trophy Best Named Vineyard Red Wine (Classes 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20 & 21)
Sponsored by Seguin Moreau
De Iuliis Wines 2018 Talga Road Vineyard Shiraz

Alexander Munro Memorial Trophy Best Current and One-Year-Old Shiraz (Classes 7 & 13)
Sponsored by Rover Coaches
Thomas Wines 2019 Elenay Shiraz

Elliott Family Trophy Best Two-Year-Old Shiraz (Class 18)
De Iuliis Wines 2018 Talga Road Vineyard Shiraz

James Busby Memorial Trophy Best Three-Year-Old and Older Shiraz (Class 19)
Margan 2017 Aged Release Timbervines Shiraz

Best ‘Other Red’ Trophy (Classes 7, 8, 14, 15, 20 & 21)
De Iuliis Wines 2019 LDR Shiraz Touriga Nacional

Maurice O’Shea Memorial Trophy Best Semillon (Classes 1, 9 & 16)
Briar Ridge 2013 Stockhausen Signature Hunter Valley Semillon

Hector Tulloch Memorial Trophy Best Shiraz (Classes 7, 12, 18 & 19)
De Iuliis Wines 2018 Talga Road Vineyard Shiraz

Len Evans Trophy Best Named Vineyard Wine
Briar Ridge 2013 Dairy Hill Semillon

Petrie-Drinan Trophy Best White Wine of the Show Sponsored by CCL Label
Briar Ridge 2013 Stockhausen Semillon

Doug Seabrook Memorial Trophy Best Red Wine of the Show
Sponsored by CCL Label Puncheon supplied by Mercurey
De Iuliis Talga Road Shiraz 2018

Iain Riggs Wine of Provenance (Classes 28 & 29)
Tyrrell’s Four Acres Shiraz 2007, 2014 and 2018

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