Thoughts of an enjoyable glass of Mudgee region wine doesn’t usually bring up images of white lab coats.
But that’s the reality of a wine show.
Judging for the Mudgee Wine Show started on Tuesday at the Australian Rural Education Centre as more than 350 entries are sipped and scrutinised.
The five judges – donning the lab coats – in 2017 are Andrew Ling (Peppertree Wines, Hunter Valley), Sue Hodder (Wynns Coonawarra, SA), Mike De Grans (MGD Wine Consulting), Stephen Doyle (Bloodwood Wines, Orange) and Jake Sheedy (Logan Wines, Mudgee).
Wines from across the region were delivered to the judging pavilion last week for the 46th award event and Mudgee Wine Show Committee chair, Jacob Stein explained it’s a very controlled environment.
“The wines are presented to the judges without the judges knowing the details of the wines they are tasting, the only things that they know are varieties and vintage,” he said.
The judges are kept in a separate room to the bottles of wine and only see a simple wine glass – placed in front of a number – for each category.
The judges sip, sniff, swirl, and spit their way through each entry discussing things like texture, flavour and colour, using words like “oakiness” and “fruitiness”.
“Each wine is scored out of 20 by each judge, so a really nice gold medal wine will be appointed 18.5 or above,” Mr Stein said.
Apart from the judges, the stewards have an intense role. They’re in charge of pouring and presenting the wines – in the correct order.
They also have to clean and dry each glass. The glasses are heat dried and wiped down with a t-shirt material to ensure no residue contaminates the wine.
A steward explained, “one time, a judge requested the wines be re-poured because he could smell paper, it was discovered the glasses were placed on paper towelling”.
Gold, silver and bronze results will be released to the region’s wine producers on Thursday, with the Mudgee Wine Show Trophy Dinner to be held on Friday at Craigmoor Pavilion.
The winning wines will be available for tasting at the Go Tasting event at The Stables on Saturday, September 16.