Chair of Judges overview of the KPMG Sydney Royal Show
The judging is an area where wine shows are constantly challenged and questioned. I can say on behalf of the Sydney Royal Judges and I’m sure judges right across our show system that professionalism and impartiality are more ingrained than very. The removal of ego at the door of any judging area is a given and the strength of the results are based on the strength of the judging team.
To this point we have the most diverse resource of judges ever and to add to that in the climatic of MeToo it is exciting to see a 60/40 Female to Male split in the Associate judges at Sydney Royal this year. With Judging being a volunteer pursuit, and the pressures of work and family balances I think bodes well for the future of our judging pool.
I need to mention that if for any reason you take issue with the results its easy to pick up the results schedule, find out who judged a class and give them a call. Its also worth while attending the exhibitors tasting as well where you can taste and compare the wines as the judges have seen them.
Critisim of the results without discussion is disrespectful of the system and the effort that goes into any wine show.
A quick summary of the results for those who were not at the awards presentation last night
Chardonnay, Semillon and Other White Varieties were the star performing white classes with wines showing regional definition and respectful winemaking.
On to reds and the rise of Tempranillo and Grenache continue with excellent results in these classes and as I have said previously, if it were not for Pinot Noir, Grenache would be the new Black.
Cabernet performed very strongly and these classes show the great work our winemakers are doing in making wines of flavour and finesse.
But it is Shiraz and the wine from Heathcote that is the wine of the day. Great regional expression and a strong indication of what we saw through the shiraz classes.
So what does all this add up to.
Well, in the current climate of Global trade issues, Pesimisum in the local economy, Issues with Chinese import regulation, Health and Alcohol concerns and the ongoing taxation short comings it all looks pretty gloomy.
But, the upside is that as a result of wine industry struggles over the last 10 years we have a lean and focused industry that is making better quality and better value wines than even before.
And Provenance is becoming as important as price. Or maybe as Phil Ruthven said at the wine Industry Tech Conference back in 1998, The big are getting bigger and the small are getting better. Even Wine Australia is backing the Regional Heroes again with export marketing programmes.
Winemakers have recognised that wine drinkers domestically and in some of the traditional export markets are happy to enjoy and most importantly, pay for Provenance, evident I think being the number of Single Vineyard wines we are seeing across the tasting bench.
While things remain tight and winemakers are working as hard as ever for their resulting sales and income, the industry is prime for investment.
Borrowing is cheap and with good returns from focused wine businesses the future is positive.
All you sharp eyed investors, the time is right and regardless of the financial future you will always have had top quality wine cellar.
Excerpts of the Chair of Judges, PJ Charteris speech at the 2019 WCA Sydney Royal Trophy Winner Lunch