Over the 20 years of the AAVWS we have hosted many international guest judges who have been treated to an eye-opening and thoroughly enjoyable visit to Mildura to take part in our show. In the process having their preconceived impressions of Aussie wine altered and meeting a whole swag of growers and winemakers who are shaping new kinds of regional, authentic Australian wines.
Those guests have included high profile journalists and wine industry professionals from across the globe such as Joelle Thomson (2006 – NZ) Rebecca Gibb MW (2008 – UK), Dr. Stefano Dini (2010 – Italy), Jo Burzynska (2010 & 2015 – NZ), Walter Speller (2014 – Italy/UK), Sarah Ahmed (2016 – UK) Eddie McDougall (2017 – Hong Kong), Madeleine Stenwreth MW (2018 – Sweden), Michaela Morris (2019 – Canada). All of them have left with a greatly broadened view of viticulture and winemaking approaches across Australia as well as loving their regional Victoria experience with such warm and memorable hospitality as that of the legendary Stefano de Pieri, one of the co-founders of the AAVWS and a keen participant to this day.
In 2019, with the help of Global Victoria, we were able to extend the scope of the AAVWS International Guest Judge visit to take in a regional Victorian tour to a selection of Victoria’s leading alternative variety wine producers for a series of lovely private tasting experiences. The AAVWS committee were hoping to replicate, even expand the concept in 2020 with a more extensive Victorian tour and some post show activities back in the guests home country. COVID has changed that goal, but we were very excited to be able to still go ahead with a virtual, COVID friendly International Guest program for 2020 and were delighted to welcome to the AAVWS Family, Cha McCoy.
Currently dividing her time between Lisbon and New York, Cha is the Founder of Cha Squared LLC, a consulting company with a focus on tourism, gastronomy, and hospitality experiences, education and training.
Due to international travel restrictions, the 2020 AAVWS International Engagement Program, we have devised an alternative program to include:
- A Virtual Tour of Victorian Alternative Variety Producers (6 producers). AAVWS will hand select a suite of excellent and diverse producers of alternative variety wines from across Victoria and facilitate a series of zoom hook ups between our Cha McCoy and the producer for a private tasting and ‘tour’ of their winery/vineyard/region. She will be airfreighted a pack with 3 wines from each producer to enjoy the tasting together when they meet online.
- An AAVWS Education Session with AAVWS Committee & Management. A familiarisation session/s with AAVWS team and committee learning about the history of the movement in Australia, why so many producers are looking to diversify, the environmental benefits, sustainability and quality advantages of working with the right variety for your site.
- Selection of the International Judges Wine to Watch Trophy. The AAVWS will send a list of the Gold Medal winning wines to Cha McCoy at the completion of judging for them to cherry pick a mixed dozen of the wines they are most interested in. These will be airfreighted to her to taste through and select her trophy winner.
- Host an online presentation as part of our [All] Talk & [No] Taste series. Cha McCoy will host a free publicly broadcast online presentation (Zoom/Facebook Live) reflecting on her AAVWS experience including the impression of the virtual tour, the wines she tasted and the people she virtually met.