The Canberra wine region has taken a big hit during the past two years, with bushfires burning vineyards around Tumbarumba, smoke from the fires tainting grapes as far north as Yass, storms damaging crops, and some producers battling botrytis fungus caused by high humidity.
However, despite the relentless setbacks, many local winemakers have produced some of their best vintages, and organisers of the 2022 Tradies Canberra and Region Wine Show are expecting some quality wines at the event to be held from 17 January.
The show may have been pushed back until January due to COVID-19 restrictions, but it will still showcase locally grown and produced wines, and recognise the achievements of winemakers in Canberra and the surrounding region.
National Wine Show of Australia chair Andy Gregory said winemakers want to get their products onto local palates.
“The show hasn’t run for a couple of years and the industry is very keen to get moving again,” he said.
Mr Gregory said many winemakers in the region are looking forward to showing off their 2021 vintages, with good rainfall leading to a bumper harvest and some producers experiencing one of their best seasons in recent years.
“A lot of the local makers seem to think this vintage will be fantastic,” he said.
“They’ve had the right weather conditions after a disastrous few years, then COVID-19 hit, which disrupted a lot of their associated activities.
“Cellar doors were closed and many restaurants within wineries were on hold during the pandemic so that had a dampening impact as well, but things are looking a lot better now.”
Mr Gregory said during lockdown many wineries upped their online sales and diversified their footprint, which proved a silver lining during hard times.
Wineries from as far west as Gundagai and Tumbarumba, as far north as Young, Bowral and Kiama, and down the east coast to the Victorian border are eligible to enter the 2022 Tradies Canberra and Region Wine Show competition.
Entries close on Friday, 31 December.
Canberra is nationally renowned for its cool-climate wines, including Riesling and Shiraz, but Mr Gregory said there’s always a good mix of wines, with European varieties such as Vermentino, Sangiovese and Tempranillo proving popular additions in recent years.
“We as a region are best equipped to grow Shiraz, but there’s lots of makers producing different wines now,” he said.
The Tradies club has been supporting the Canberra and Region Wine Show for 10 years, and general manager Alison Percival said it’s a key partnership for the club which proudly showcases local wines.
“Since 2012, we’ve sold nothing but Canberra and region cool-climate wines,” she said.
“The Tradies is the only Canberra club where local wines are sold exclusively, and our wine list is a rollcall of some of the very best.
“Over time, people have really come to appreciate the local wines and it’s definitely something our members have embraced during the years.”
In 2015, the club opened Canberra Wine House, promoting local wines.
The Tradies Canberra and Region Wine Show is a qualifying event for the National Wine Show of Australia.
Mr Gregory said new and smaller producers have just as good a chance of winning a medal at the national event as the better-known labels.
Winning wines from The Tradies Canberra and Region Wine Show will be showcased at Canberra Wine House, and some will make it onto the Tradies’ ever-changing wine list.
Judging will take place from 17 to 19 January, 2022, with the presentation of trophies on 21 January, 2022. Public tastings are also planned, with details to be released early in the New Year.
Medals and trophies will be awarded across a number of categories, such as sparkling, white, medium or sweet, rosé, and red varieties.
Special awards will include the Dr Edgar Riek OAM Trophy for the Best Canberra District Shiraz; the Chairman’s Trophy; Most Successful Exhibitor of Show; Best Locally Made Wine; and Champion Wine of Show.
To find out more, visit The Tradies Canberra and Region Wine Show.