• Jack Ward

Wines put to the taste

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.


LOCAL wines were put under the microscope last week at Montara Wines during the Western Victoria Wine Challenge’s two days of judging.

PHOTO: Halls Gap wine maker and judge, Gabrielle La Forgia, enjoys the aroma of a local shiraz. (Jack Ward/Ararat Advocate)

The annual competition received another record number of entries this year, with 186 wines examined by three judges across all classes.


Challenge president and DogRock wine maker, Allen Hart, said the committee had to modify its judging panel to comply with restrictions.


“We were lucky enough to have three judges that are outside the lockdown areas, so we've managed to run the show through a bit of good luck,” he said.


Rutherglen’s Jen Pfeiffer was the chair of judges, accompanied by Halls Gap wine maker Gabrielle La Forgia and the Royal Mail Hotel’s Matthew Lance.


Class winners will be awarded across 11 main categories, alongside a Champion Exhibitor of Show and the Kym Ludvigsen Award for Best Single Vineyard Wine of Show.


Mr Hart said wine makers have been eager to enter their wines this year to hopefully get some good news circulating.


“The industry has been doing it tough and I think if you can get a bit of joy out of winning a medal at a wine show, then it's a good way of perhaps taking your mind off what's happening in the world,” he said.


The chair of judges and Pfeiffer Wines wine maker, Jen Pfeiffer, said the quality of wines tasted this year were “exceptional.”

PHOTO: Judges Gabrielle La Forgia, Jen Pfeiffer and Matthew Lance spent two days deciding on their winners. (Jack Ward/Ararat Advocate)

“I obviously have a bias to Rutherglen, but outside of Rutherglen, Western Victoria would be my favourite wine region in Australia… so to have the opportunity to come here and be involved and contribute to the show is my absolute pleasure,” she said.


“There's some varieties that stand out because they are just so good but what's so exciting to see is some experimentation with different varietals and emerging varietals coming through.”


Winners of the Western Victoria Wine Challenge are expected to be announced mid-October.

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