CELEBRATING THE BEST IN WINE: Last year’s long lunch as part of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show.















AFTER a burnt summer, quarantined autumn and locked down winter, the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show is determined to live up to its claim of being more than just a wine show with plans to deliver the 21st show next month.

More than 500 wines have been entered for the Mildura-based show with organisers adapting adjusted plans to make sure the 2020 event is held after many wine shows around the country had to be cancelled.

Show manager Helen Healy said: “The committee and team have been pivoting from Plan A to B to C and trying to remain adaptable, resilient, innovative – all the things that the AAVWS brand holds dear – in an effort to pull out all stops to make sure the Show goes on.”

“The show management team have kept sponsors engaged, even if they have been hit hard and can’t afford the commitment, by maintaining their trophy allocation and in a sign of solidarity with the national industry, have reduced the cost of entries by 40 per cent,” she said.

Helen said the AAVWS had attracted high-profile national and international judges but always supported the local industry by appointing local judges and associates to provide important show experience.

“This has resulted in an alumni of local talent who now can be drawn on to ensure wines are judged even if pandemic related restrictions impact on travel and crossing borders,” she said.

Currently judges include Jonathan Creek, Zilzie Wines; Elizabeth Marwood, L’enologa Wines/Treasury Wines; Stefano de Pieri, Stefano’s Restaurant; Donna Stephens, Cappa Stone Wines; Shane Kerr, Trentham Estate and Tennille Chalmers, Chalmers. Associate judges include Aiden Menzies from Duxton and Pia Merrick from Qualia.

With sponsorship from Mildura Rural City Council and Global Victoria, the wine show team is developing a series of online events for next month. These include sessions on viticulture, winemaking and marketing, buying trends during COVID and high-profile national and international guest speakers.