The Australian Cool Climate Wine Show based in Murrumbateman experienced a record sell-out for its famous long table lunch, with all tickets purchased in less than two weeks for 160 people, the most people the show has ever hosted. 

The competition itself was also a success with judges awarding medals to 186 of the 400 entries, 35 of those going to local wineries.

“How great to come out with a bundle of trophies at the end, which includes the very local hero of ours, McKellar Ridge Wines with John and Marina, who won the best Shiraz of the show as well as the best red wine of the show,” said Brent Lello, Australian Cool Climate Wine Show manager. 

Mitch & Melanie Quinn of Murrumbateman Country Inn presented the Best Red Wine of Show to McKellar Ridge Wines – John Sekoranja & Marina Claire

“We’ve had 400 entries from all the cool climates in Australia represented, we’ve had five fantastic judges. They’ve sniffed, they’ve swirled, they’ve tasted, they’ve spat out those 400 wines,” he said. 

The strongest classes for award-winning white wines were the Riesling, Pinot Gris and 2021 and older Chardonnay classes. In the Red wine classes, the Pinot Noir and Shiraz classes were standouts.

McKellar Ridge Shiraz 2021- click here to buy yours

Kirsty Andermahr was one of the wine show’s guests and was excited to have a taste of home as she sampled the wines. Originally from Adelaide and now living in Canberra, her favourite Adelaide wine was medal winner Hahndorf Hill Winery.

It’s quite fitting— Hahndorf Hill was the first place my husband and I went for our first date; our anniversary is tomorrow,” she said.

Mrs Andermahr, with her family and friends, is a regular visitor to the Australian Cool Climate Wine Show. 

Kirsty Andermahr shared her thoughts on what brings her back each year

“I think the wine show is fantastic, it’s so affordable and seeing Canberrans come together and have the option to go over and have a meal and then come over to have tastings as well. We come every year, I think we’ve been every year for the last six years and it’s become a traditional event that we come to every year,” she explained.

Chief Steward Kim Williams said that it was the hard work of Murrumbateman volunteers that brought the show together.

“We have about 25 volunteers working behind the scenes. When the Scouts Leaders and parents come to help us with the public tasting, that’s fantastic. It just shows you what the community is like. These guys work so hard getting the wines out of the boxes, sorting them out,” said Mr Williams.

Mr Lello also emphasised the incredible volunteer effort.

“The huge amount of effort that goes into putting this together, we have forty volunteers putting in over 800 hours worth of effort. It’s not about just today, it’s about the full week and the full month beforehand. But what a fantastic week it’s been,” he said.

Volunteer Event Manager Brent Lello

As well as the volunteers, Mr Lello added that the Wine Show sponsors were also responsible for its success. 

“We’ve got some special people here having lunch, and none more special than our sponsors. The sponsors are all local— without their support, we could not put this function on to the level of heightened experience that visitors expect from us.”

Show Patron – Virginia Rawlings at centre in blue

Mr Lello said that the feedback from both judges and visitors is always positive and a testimony to the Wine Show’s importance.

“People want to get out and about, they want this event to continue. We’ve got over 100 people in our public tasting there at the moment, all enjoying their own journey through the cool climate wines that have been entered,” he explained.

Desserts ready to serve with matching wine of course

Mr Lello encourages other wineries, both local and from other cool climate areas, to consider becoming part of the Australian Cool Climate Wine Show. 

“We would say 50% of the Canberra wine regions’s wineries have entered wines into this wine show, and it’s been a fantastic result for them. This is a great show to benchmark your wines against others in the context of cool climate. I really encourage others to get on board and have their wines exhibited, tasted, and assessed. We love the wineries that have followed us for a long time as well,” he said. 

Key organisers Marnie Rawlings & Brent Lello thank the sponsors, judges and patrons of the event

“We’re only a small show, but we think we’re the show with the biggest heart and the warmest smiles.”

Though the organisers and helpers are exhausted after their huge efforts, they can’t wait to do it all again next year.

“It won’t take long for us to get the itch in our fingers again and want to do it all again. We look forward to it being bigger and better next year, and we look forward to having many more people out with happy smiles on their faces,” said Mr Lello.

Southerly Jones