Blog 104 – THE #AWRI #AWAC

Today I am guest judging at the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course (AWAC for short!
This is a prestigious four day tasting course that helps to improve the 30 attendees skills in wine show judging, especially in tasting large brackets of different wines. It is very important for attendees to  be able to express their tasting notes on the wines, and present arguments as to why they think a wine deserves a gold medal, or no medal at all.
This class has winemakers/growers/writers/geeks from France, South Africa, New Zealand in attendance- as well as all over Australia (see pic at left).  
The AWRI – Geoff Cowey pictured is one of AWRI’s team – runs an awesome course, and I love being a guest judge at this event, it helps me to hone my palate and meet all sorts of wine crazy peeps. Beside me today were winemaker/sommelier/chef James Erskine and industry legend Peter Dawson. The course is held at the Penfolds Magill Estate, and I have it on good authority that the Magill Estate team washed and polished 12,000 riedel glasses over the four days!
I am very proud that our McLaren Vale Regional Association provides a scholarship each year, The Wayne Thomas Scholarship, in which the lucky winner gets a spot at the AWAC. The course has a long waiting list, and is quite hard to get a position, and it also involves a large investment in time and money.
We encourage local assistant winemakers, cellar door staff, cellarhands, viticulturists, marketers to apply, and one lucky winner gets to attend the course. This years winner was James Rouse from Wirra (pic at left). He told me that he had found the course extremely valuable and he was very pleased to have had the opportunity to attend and represent McLaren Vale.