Guest Blog by 2016 AAVWS Fellow James Scarcebrook…
From a young age I always attempted to avoid the mainstream, to be an individual. Little did I know that many years later as a wine professional and wine drinker, I would do the same thing! There is no better place to celebrate the alternative than at the annual Alternative Varieties Wine Show in Mildura.
As a wine professional and communicator with 13 years of experience I was thrilled and honoured to be awarded the 2016 Fellowship. I have been on the proverbial bandwagon for alternative varieties in Australia for some time. Therefore I relished this incredible opportunity to not only gain a unique insight into how the show works, but also some of the incredible developments in the Mildura region with some of these awesome grapes! It was great to visit the vineyards and wineries of Trentham Estate and Chalmers to see how their hard work has been paying off, as the wines are incredible!
One of the best parts of seeing behind the scenes of the show was to have the chance to taste wines side by side, to truly appreciate the different styles and regions from the various varieties. In a number of cases I didnâ€™t even realise we had a certain grape in the country, how fantastic! I have to say that I really appreciated the more textural whites and the lighter more savoury reds.
Another fantastic thing I encountered was the community around the show, both Mildura-based and beyond. The show attracts industry members and enthusiasts alike, and provides a wonderful platform to educate and evolve the discussion about Australian wine and future developments in viticulture and winemaking. The Talk & Taste sessions were particularly enlightening, such a fantastic resource for the attendees, and a great opportunity to tap into knowledge and experience from industry veterans and up-and-comers alike.
The best part of the week is of course the trophy lunch, as it is a lovely way to finish the week in a relaxed environment, to enjoy a great meal from the legendary Stefano Di Pieri with trophy winning wines from the previous year. You sense the excitement and support of a room filled with people committed to what I consider to be the most exciting and important movement in the Australian wine industry today.
Many thanks again to all involved for so warmly welcoming me to Mildura, and having me as a special guest at the 2016 AAVWS. Bring on 2017 and beyond!
The Intrepid Wino