AAVWS Talk & Taste – We’ve Come a Long Way Together

Friday 5th November 2021

Venue: Quality Hotel Mildura Grand, Ballroom

Time: 1pm – 5pm

Cost: $120pp

The 2021 Talk & Taste will be full of celebration and reflection of the alternative variety movement in Australia over the last 20 years.

Session one: Coming of Age

Hosted by Max Allen

Referencing a collection of former trophy wines, Max will check in on how they’re travelling to help illustrate the story of the past, present and future of the AAVWS. In his inimitable style he will touch on the people who shaped our journey and the evolution of the show since his time at the helm. Along the way he will bring in some key guests to ask the big questions. Is the AAVWS still relevant?  What is ‘alternative’ and should we still segregate it?  Mildura?  Why it’s been important to the success of the show?

Max will reflect on 20 years of the AAVWS from the perspective of, a former Chief of Judges (2005 – 2011) and being a guest judge in 2002 and in our 21st show in 2021.

Session two: In the Grü-ve

Hosted by Jane Faulkner

Jane will facilitate a deep dive into Grüner Veltliner’s journey in Australia drawing on her experience as a great lover of the varietal, a former Chief of Judges (2012 – 2018) and being a guest judge in 2005, 2007, 2009 – 2011.

Looking at award winning wines and a coupe of benchmarks from its homeland, Jane will question how Grüner Veltliner is going in Australia viticulturally, vinously and with the consumers. Backed up by a rockstar panel featuring Dave Carpenter from Lark Hill who made Australia’s first Gruener wine and Larry Jacobs from Hahndorf Hill the unofficial King of Gruner in Australia and winner of the 2020 AAVWS Best wine of Show and a few other special guests

Session Three: At the Table

Hosted by Sophie Otton

Sophie, current Chief of Judges (since 2019) and Guest judge in 2005 and 2018, will gather an expert panel to look at wine list changes in the two decades since the first AAVWS.

Featuring some of Australia’s most revered restaurateurs and sommeliers including co-founder Stefano de Pieri, Melissa Moore from the Merivale Group and some surprise guests the panel will look at the evolution of dining and wine lists and how alternative variety wines have played a part in that. You never know, you might even end up with a tasty morsel on your plate alongside your glass of wine to accompany this chat.



We understand that gathering restrictions, border crossings and potential lockdowns may impact on staging our gathering events, but we are forging ahead with our fingers crossed.

If we sail into the finishing line without any hiccoughs, rest assured we will have a comprehensive COVID-19 Risk Management Plan to ensure your safety and adherence to all mandatory and sensible safety policies and procedures.

Conversely, if it comes to pass that we cannot stage the gathering events we will refund your tickets, apart from a small administration charge, but will go ahead with judging of the wines as we did against all odds in 2020.

Stay tuned, stay safe and stay positive.

level 1 master two lines

Changing the World

“The massive impact the AAVWS has had on wine production and consumption in Australia over the last 15 years is now flowing overseas as alternative varieties breathe new life into the UK market and add colour and excitement to the Australian offering.”