Wine awards set a benchmark

Winner: Tahbilk winery's Brendan Freeman.

Winner: Tahbilk winery's Brendan Freeman.

WINERIES in the region are encouraged to enter the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards on the back of a central Victorian success story last year.

One of the prestigious award's 22 major trophy winners in 2013 was the Tahbilk winery, from Tabilk in the Nagambie area.

Tahbilk, a family-owned winery established in 1860, won the Dan Murphy's Trophy for Best Single Varietal White for its Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne 2006.  

Tahbilk winemaker Brendan Freeman said while the winery had picked up some trophies in the awards for its Marsanne and Viogneir wines in the past, last year's major win had afforded them some important international exposure.

Mr Freeman said the show had an international judge it brings in each year, and to get positive feedback from them in particular was reassuring.

"It reinforces the fact we are a world leader in the production of Marsanne," he said.

"We think we’re doing a good job but it’s good to get feedback from these sorts of awards."

The chance to be judged by peers and win some prestigious awards was another drawcard about the awards, Mr Freeman said.

“There is the opportunity to win some prestigious awards, the biggest being the Jimmy Watson trophy," he said.

"Of all the awards to win in the Australian wine show circuit, the Jimmy Watson has the most prestige about it."

He thought Tabilk represented a point of difference from other viticulture areas.

“We have some very old vines from 1860, Marsanne planted in 1920s and other thing is Nagambie lakes area has a large water mass which helps cools an otherwise warm viticultural area,” he said.

We think we’re doing a good job but it’s good to get feedback... - Brendan Freeman

Mr Freeman encouraged other winemakers to make the most of opportunities such as the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards, such as going along to the exhibitors' tasting day.

"Our attitude towards all wine shows is first of all a bench-marking exercise... to see what it is that the judges are awarding and whether we can make some improvements or if we are on the right track," he said.

He said anyone who entered a wine was able to attend the tasting day without paying a fee.

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