NSW Wine Awards

It should come as no surprise that the member for Cessnock, the electorate of which takes in the beautiful Hunter Valley vineyards, would rise to speak about the NSW Wine Awards in its twenty-third year. The awards were created in 1996 to recognise and reward excellence in wines from New South Wales. Tomorrow it will be supported by the Governor of New South Wales, who has lent his name to the major trophy, the NSW Governor’s Best in Show trophy, which will be awarded at Government House. The awards are also supported by the Department of Primary Industries, which is sponsoring two trophies. Tonight there is also a function at Parliament House.

The judging for the NSW Wine Awards is typically held in regional areas, because that is where the wines are. Rather than bringing them into Sydney to be judged, we host these judging events in regional New South Wales, which is another great feature of the event. This year has a record number of entries, with 879 entries in New South Wales. The reality is that when there is a wine judging process or wine awards to be given out, in any given year there might be a great many winners or there might be zero winners. A gold medal is not given because a wine wins, a gold medal is given because a wine reaches a certain standard. To receive a gold medal award a wine must score more than 18.5 out of 20. The threshold is incredibly high. This year, for those 879 wine entries 51 gold medals were awarded across a range of varieties.

Before I brag about the Hunter I should recognise the other regions that won awards. I will start with Orange, which won eight gold medals. I congratulate Orange. The Riverina won seven gold medals. Good on them. Hilltops one four gold medals. One was awarded to Gundagai and three to the Canberra district, which is the Australian Capital Territory and outside areas. We will claim them as New South Wales. There was one gold medal winner in the Murray‑Darling. Congratulations. If we add the numbers up, out of the 51 gold medal winners, we reach 24. That is less than half, so who won the gold medals in New South Wales? Twenty-seven of the 51 gold medals at the NSW Wine Awards come wineries in the Hunter—that is right, the Hunter Valley. Tomorrow, from the 51 finalists, 16 trophies will be announced and also the New South Wales Governor’s best in show. I thank Alexandra Burgener from NSW Wines for the following information:

Semillon, where the Hunter Valley dominates and is the world leader in this varietal. Both the fresh crisp Semillons and the more ethereal mature Semillons were recognised and rewarded. Chardonnay, where all four gold medals were also from the Hunter Valley. Shiraz saw some great wines, especially the 10 gold medal winners.

The revelation of this year’s show were the quality varieties. I will not linger as I need to list some of the major award winners. The member for Coffs Harbour will be very happy. Bimbadgen hosted “day on the green” events. It won a gold medal for their Signature Semillon. Congratulations. Brokenwood won two gold medals. That is good stuff. They are great friends of mine. Cock Fighters Ghost and De iuliis wines won gold medals. I congratulate Mike and his team. First Creek wines have been doing good things for a long time. I mention Hart and Hunter, Hungerford Hill, Margan family wines—which is a great name in the Hunter—Mount Pleasant wines, Silkman wines, Sweetwater Estate—new winners; congratulations—and Tamburlaine Organic Wines, their winemaker is a good friend of mine, Thomas wines and Two River wines. And who won five gold medals?

Tyrell’s Wines. I congratulate Bruce and the team at Tyrell’s. I congratulate all New South Wales wineries. We should support the New South Wales wine industry—get some today.