What is an Alternative Variety?
The answer seems obvious. We seem to know what an Australian grown alternative variety is simply by what it is not: common and widely available. So we’ve come to recognise the phrase ‘alternative variety’ as the opposite of mainstream and extensively planted.
Certainly an alternative variety is often rare because it has been introduced recently into the country such as assyrtiko or falanghina therefore plantings are minuscule or negligible such as teroldego. However the definition also applies to a grape that might have a long Australian heritage and history but perhaps the style is no longer popular such as palomino once a staple in fortifieds that we now label as apera or the wine is not widely produced, such as durif.
The Australian Alternative Variety Wine Show does not want to be prescriptive with its definition especially in regards to specific hectares under vine except to highlight some obvious differences. For example, mainstream and extensively planted clearly means shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and latterly, pinot gris/grigio.
It’s worth noting that in time, Australian wines once deemed alternative can become popular especially if the number of hectares under vine increases dramatically. If and when they become mainstream, they are no longer eligible to enter the show. For example, pinot gris/grigio was once alternative but became so common it was retired from the show in 2009.
The committee of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show carefully determines what grape varieties can be included or excluded.
1. EXCLUSIONS: Wines or blends made primarily from the varieties muscat gordo, pinot gris/grigio, chardonnay, semillon, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, shiraz, syrah, chenin blanc, riesling, colombard, grenache and verdelho are NOT eligible. However, the above varieties might be a minor component in a blended wine.
PLEASE NOTE: The entry system will deem your entry ineligible if your wine is less than 85% of an alternative variety/varieties.
2. Should a significant number of wines made from the same grape variety be received in Classes 12A, 12B, 31A, 31B, 31C or 31D (classes noted as other varieties or blends), the committee reserves the right to separate these wines into a new varietal class providing the stated variety is at 85% or more.
3. To be eligible for entry, a minimum of 25 dozen must have been produced.
4. All entries must be finished and bottled wines and from a commercial bottling run at the time of entry.
5. All wines in each class must be 100% grown and produced in Australia or New Zealand for entries received from that country.
6. Wines entered into varietal classes must comprise a minimum 85% of the stated grape variety.
7. Wines entered into blended classes must comprise a minimum 85% of an alternative grape variety/varieties.
8. Additives and contents of all wines submitted must conform to the Australian Government P4 Standards.
9. A person entering a wine must have the authority of the winemaker or company involved in the production of the wine. Confirmation of this may be requested if the person entering the wine is not the winemaker or a principal, executive or employee of the company that produced the wine.
10. The AAVWS will issue special labels for the exhibits and these will be mailed to exhibitors in late September 2016.
11. To qualify for a trophy, the wine must be awarded a gold medal or top gold in its class.
12. To be eligible for the Best Commercial Volume trophy a minimum of 5000 cases must have been produced.
13. Each year the committee chooses a selection of wines from those awarded gold medals plus the trophy wines to showcase at the following year’s Awards Long Lunch. If selected, we will inform you as soon as possible and we kindly ask that you send 15 bottles to the AAVWS.
14. All entries are final and refunds will not be issued for withdrawn entries or entries that do not arrive on time.
15. The producer/winemaker of the Best Wine of the Show will be invited to sit on the AAVWS committee as an honorary member for 12 months.
16. An entry fee of $77 plus GST per entry must be paid at the time of completion of the online entry form. Four bottles of each entry will be required for submission.
17. Soon after the entry closing date you will be sent labels for your bottles and an address label for sending the four samples per entry to our depot by 21st October 2016.
18. The tracking and arrival of wine show samples is the responsibility of the entrant and no entry fees will be refunded for wines that do not arrive in time for the Show judging and any return of the samples will be paid for by the entrant.
19. New Zealand entries will be collated at Riversun Nursery and sent over to the AAVWS as one shipment, NZ exhibitors will only be responsible for the domestic freight, AAVWS will cover the international shipping.