The 42nd biennial Vin de Champagne Award, one of Australia’s most coveted wine awards, launches today! And there’s plenty of opportunity for champagne lovers everywhere to test their mettle in the two award categories.
Organised on behalf of the Comité Champagne, the Vin de Champagne Award not only aims to celebrate and encourage the enjoyment of Champagne in Australia, it also seeks to develop a network of Champagne specialists to act as Ambassadors who promote the Champagne Appellation by sharing their knowledge and appreciation of the wine in Australia.
The Award invites candidates to apply in one of two categories: Professional, for people who gain an income working in the food and wine industry; and Amateur, for those experienced tasters who have a passion for Champagne. Entry forms and questions can be obtained from the Champagne Bureau Australia website.
Entrants in both categories are required to answer essay questions about Champagne’s history, viticulture and wine-making, and are expected to display knowledge of the organization of the Champagne industry. State finalists are flown to Sydney where a panel of experts judges the entrants’ skills in a blind tasting of Champagne wines.
The judging of the Award is carried out by a panel of industry experts and past winners. These authorities include wine writer for Fairfax’s The Sydney Morning Herald, Huon Hooke; “The Wine Man”, Peter Bourne; and author and Champagne educator, Bernadette O’Shea.
The winners will be announced on the evening of the final judging at an invitation-only dinner attended by Australia’s most respected wine and food industry luminaries.
The grand prize for the two winners is a two-week educational tour through the Champagne district where they are presented with their medal by the Comité Champagne and enjoy the illustrious Champenois hospitality. The lives of past winners have been infinitely transformed by their visit, and for many, the tour marks the upward trajectory of an exciting, productive and passionate relationship with Champagne.
Tom Warrell, winner of the amateur category of the 2014 Vin de Champagne Award and the youngest ever winner of the Award, said, ‘There is no better way to celebrate the world of Champagne than by providing Amateurs and Professionals alike a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the region with unparalleled access. I’d recommend anyone with an interest in wine to take part in this great program.’
The line-up of past winners of this prestigious Award includes Australia’s most knowledgeable and respected wine industry personnel, including winemakers, journalists, restaurateurs, sommeliers, commentators and educators.
Australia is an important and robust market for Champagne. Recently released figures place Australia as the sixth largest import market in the world. In 2015, Australia imported 8,110,106 bottles of Champagne, which represents a 24.3% increase on 2014.
‘Australia continues to drive the growth of Champagne within its top export markets. Education is an important component in helping this growth. Our network of Vin de Champagne winners throughout Australia successfully provides a unique role in educating people that Champagne only comes from Champagne,’ comments Elisabeth Drysdale, Director of the Champagne Bureau Australia.