Fiano and Montepulciano shine at the new Australian Italian Varieties Wine Awards

Results highlight ever increasing quality and popularity of Italian varieites

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Australian Italian Varieties Awards 2016 Winner, 2015 Galli Estate Montepulciano

Australian Italian Varieties Awards 2016 Winner, 2015 Galli Estate Montepulciano [©Galli Estate]

Delicious wine paired with tasty pizza to try at the Australian Italian Wine Awards
Sangiovese Grapes, Australian Italian Wine Awards
Australian Italian Varieties Awards 2016 Winner, Juniper 2016 Fiano


This year saw the launch of a brand new wine show, the Australian Italian Varietals Wine Awards (AIVWA), and the inaugural results have just been announced highlighting the ever increasing quality and popularity of wines produced from Italian grape varieties grown in Australia.

Over 200 wines - all made with Italian heritage and Australian style - were entered into the show from across the country and were collected into an impressive range of 26 different varietals/blends/styles; including amongst others, Prosecco, Moscato, Arneis, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, Friulano, Aglianico, Lagrein, Nero d’Avola, Primitivo, Sagratino and Dolcetto.

The judging panel was led by wine journalist, sommelier and consultant Sophie Otton (Chair of Judges), Sue Hodder (Senior Winemaker at Wynns) and Mark Protheroe (Specialist Judge and Head Sommelier of the Grossi Restaurant Group), and by all accounts they had a very enjoyable job on their hands.

Sophie Otton commented, "The Australian Italian Varieties Wine Awards was not only an exciting new development for the wine show calendar, but also extremely rewarding for the judges. Of the 200 wines entered, the quality of the candidates in their varietal fields was very impressive, beautifully made wines in both richer Australian style and the more restrained European tradition.”

A few styles in particular tantalised the judges. The Rosé class was described as “a great selection of well-made wines” and Nebbiolo “rocks, with intriguing gold medal wines of both new and old world styles”. Sangiovese was the class with the highest number of entrants and the judges were delighted by the overall quality describing the group as “very stylish”.

Sophie added, “The best wines demonstrated what great food wines these varieties can produce, with unique aroma, flavour, texture and structure. This is arguably one of the main reasons why there is such a burgeoning growth and interest in Italian varietal wines in Australia.”

Out of the vast array of wines entered into the wine show, it is the wines that have won the top Trophies that have shone a light on the two ‘stella’ classes of the 2016 show, and the varietals that are currently capturing the hearts and tastebuds of Australian winemakers.

Trophy for Best White Wine
Juniper 2016 Small Batch Fiano from Margaret River
The white variety of Fiano, a grape with a long history in the Campania region of southern Italy, produced a highly contested class with several gold, silver and bronze medals awarded.

Trophy for Best Red Wine
Galli Estate 2015 Camelback Montepulciano from Heathcote.
Montepulciano was the standout red variety, being described by the judges as “a very strong class, showing the potential of the variety when viticulture and winemaking align”.

And after much deliberation, the ultimate title of Best Wine of Show was awarded to…
Champion Wine of Show
Galli Estate 2015 Camelback Montepulciano

With the Fiano not being left out and winning the title of…
Chief Judge’s Special Award for Most Exciting Wine of Show
Juniper 2016 Small Batch Fiano

The results were announced in conjunction with the Riverina Wine Show in Griffith on the evening of Friday 30th September. The first year of the new AIVWA coincides with the 100th anniversary of the settlement of Griffith, during which time the Italian population has had a major influence on the region’s cultural and agricultural development. Indeed, some 60% of Griffith’s population today boast some Italian heritage.

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October 06th, 2016
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