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Time for wine

Posted on : 27 March 2016

While you can always find a great tasting glass of wine to buy at the Show, you won't find wine exhibited here. That's because the Sydney Royal Wine Competition is now a stand-alone affair, held in July. The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) awarded its first prize for wine in 1826 when the Australian wine industry was still in its infancy. The Society has done its utmost to encourage the industry, right from its inception in 1822, advising on diseases of the vine and promoting improvements in wine making.

A big boost to the public profile of the wine section came in 1901 when the Society built one of its first permanent structures on the Moore Park Showground. The Wine Kiosk, as it was known, was appropriately situated on Park Road, near Burgundy and Claret Streets. At the last minute a few souvenir items were incorporated into the foundations: a bottle of wine, papers and coins. Unfortunately when the 'time capsule' objects were retrieved in 1995 they were found to be damaged from the original bricking in.

Described as palatial, the Wine Kiosk was equipped with a large cellar for the safe storage of wines, which for the first time came from producers all around Australia. Members of the public were able to purchase wine and make comparisons themselves, another innovation.

Many of the names of the winemakers at the opening of the Kiosk are still familiar to us today, as is the champagne they used to make theirs toasts: Great Western. A fledgling industry then, much of the wine sector's current success is due to nearly two hundred years of support from the RAS.

Here's cheers.

WORDS: Vicki Hastrich
(Published March 2016)


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