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They Can’t Blame Trevor Chappell This Time

July 25, 2005

They Can’t Blame Trevor Chappell This Time

New Zealand has lost yet another Trans-Tasman battle, but can’t blame Trevor Chappell this time.

Chappell, the former Australian all-rounder who bowled the infamous under-arm delivery at the MCG in 1981, was guest of honour – and one of the judges - at this year’s Battle of the Tasman Wine Challenge held at Craig’s Royal Hotel in Ballarat.

“Over the night, I voted for three Australian wines and three New Zealand ones, I can’t be much fairer then that,” said Chappell after, and in a tense finish to the night, the six wines from Australia’s Great Southern Touring Route accrued 22 more votes more than the half dozen from the Great New Zealand Touring Route.

Australia now has a 2-1 lead in the annual challenge.

“It was pretty satisfying to take the lead in such a tight situation,” said Roger Grant, director of GSTR. “The next challenge for us is to take wines to New Zealand next year and win over there. I think we should probably take Trevor, too, just in case!”

The night began well for the Australians, with the Otway Estate Winery from Barongarook winning the first round with its 2002 Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir.

The other winning Australia wines were from Scotchman’s Hill (2003 Chardonnay) and Summerfield (2003 Reserve Shiraz). Scotchman’s Hill is located on the Bellarine Peninsula, an area rapidly re-gaining its reputation for producing some of Australia’s finest cool climate wines while Summerfield, a vineyard specialising in “reds with passion”, is in the Pyrenees.

Three New Zealand wines were also winners on the night. They were Esk Valley’s 2004 Hawke’s Bay Riesling, Mission Estate’s 1999 Mission Jewelstone Syrah and Church Road’s 2000 Virtu Noble Semillion.

The tie meant the winner had to be decided on a count back of votes handed out by the 100 judges - Australia eventually triumphing by 285 to 263.

All up more than 1200 glasses of wine were sipped and assessed over the night.

As well as celebrating the best wines from the north island of New Zealand and Victoria, the challenge reinforces the powerful link between tourism and wine.

“It’s all part of value-adding,” said Roger Grant. “People want the gourmet experience when they come a region now.

“They want to sample the fresh local produce, they want to taste the local and in our case, top quality wines a region has to offer.

“There is no doubt the Great Southern Touring Route which takes in Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula, the Great Ocean Road, Ballarat and the Grampians is right on the pace when it comes to give the visitor an experience to remember.

HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKED.

Over the night there were six courses of food. Each course came with two un-marked glasses of wine, one from Australia, one from New Zealand.

Guests, including prominent winemakers, passed judgement on their favourite.

At the end of the night the votes on all the wines were added up and the winner declared.

Trevor Chappell then presented the trophy to Roger Grant.

In the pictures attached Trevor is with Roger Grant and also Jim Archibald from the Great New Zealand Touring Route.

ENDS

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