The Book – Alternative Reality

To celebrate our 21st Birthday the AAVWS teamed up with Award-winning wine writer Max Allen and independent publisher Melbourne Books to publish an exciting new book, Alternative Reality, that charts the course of Australia’s alternative variety wine scene over the last two decades through the lens of the stories, people and wines of the AAVWS.

Alternative Reality was released on 1st September 2023 in Mildura and ongoing in other locations around the country (details here), but in the meantime we suggest you get into the action by ordering your copy now.


If you would like to purchase 10 or more copies for your cellar door, staff gifts, book shop or the whole family we are delighted to offer you a 25% discount $37 a copy plus postage.

Please email with your order.


For orders under 10 copies we sell books at RRP $49.50 plus postage.



Australian wine has been through a revolution over the last two decades years. New grape varieties, new wine styles, new winemaking personalities and cultures have emerged, dramatically changing how this country thinks about and enjoys wine. And much of this change can be traced to a wine competition in Mildura, in the remote northwest of Victoria.

Since 2001, the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show has examined and championed exciting new non-mainstream grapes (anything but chardonnay and shiraz …), with a roll-call of leading winemakers, sommeliers, writers and viticulturists travelling from all over the country each November to talk and taste, to swap ideas, to imagine a different wine landscape.

This book tells the story of those last two decades, not just of the show, but also of the wider world of Australian wine, told through interviews with the key people who made it happen. It also includes comprehensive information about the 150 different grape varieties currently grown in Australia: what the wines made from these grapes taste like, and who the best producers are.

If you want to deepen your understanding of why the Australian wine scene is the way it is today, and to get more enjoyment out of a wider range of delicious wines, then this book is for you.

What’s Inside?

The book is a triple threat … it comprises:

– a chronological history of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show, with each chapter – chock-full of stories from the show itself – placed in historical context, both relating to concurrent developments in Australian wine, and also how the wider world itself has changed

– interviews with and profiles of the key winemakers, viticulturists, sommeliers, retailers, writers and other people who have been involved with the show over the last 21 years

– detailed practical information about grape varieties: names, pronunciation, origins, viticultural details, flavours, styles, best producers, etc


AAVWS is a small not for profit organisation constantly punching above its weight when it comes to innovation and constant improvement. We cannot do this without the myriad of ways you support us – through entering your wines, sponsorship, donations, volunteering, buying our WineShowPro software and attending our events. If you would like to support the production of our book you can contribute to the Go Fund Me campaign or make a direct approach by emailing


We would like to thank the many people who have made this book possible, especially our donors who embraced the opportunity and took the ride with us.

Wine Australia

Mildura Regional Development

Stefano de Pieri

Tasco Petroleum

South Australian Wine Industry Association

Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI)


Louisa Rose

Corrina Wright

You can support the project by donating here

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.”