This is the only wine show in the world where the wines come in exclusively by invitation from the Judges.
There are sixteen classes. They are: Sparkling; Chardonnay; Aromatic; Sauvignon Blanc; Other White Varieties; White Blends; Rose; Pinot Noir; Merlot/Malbec; Bordeaux Blends; Non Bordeaux Blends; Major Red Varieties; Other Red Varieties; Shiraz; Cabernet Sauvignon and Dessert.
Each Judge is set the task of selecting 7 or 8 wines from a minimum of 14 Classes – the best in their country regardless of size of company and quantity available. The task is to win not only the classes including Wine of Show but the Country of Show as determined by the aggregate scores.
The selections are communicated to the Challenge office in Sydney and the invitations to participate are sent out to the winemakers. The sample bottles are consolidated in each country and shipped to Sydney in time to take a rest in cool storage prior to the judging. Two days before the judging the wines are transported to the judging rooms where the Stewards match the wines to the judging sheets and each wine is given a number within its class.
There are three judging days in Sydney. The wines are poured out of sight of the Judges who then convene and each judge judges all wines only by numbers. The scores are calculated to determine; Trophy and Runner up (Double Gold) in each class plus Gold medals where appropriately agreed. All trophy wines are re-judged for the Wine of Show, White Wine of Show and Red Wine of Show. Nation of Show is then calculated.
The Tasting event and Presentation Trophy Dinner is set approximately one month later in Sydney and the master classes and dinners are planned in Singapore and Hong Kong to maximize the achievement for the winners and to spread the word about the significance of the show best described by Bob Campbell MW when he wrote: ” Because the wines are all pre-selected by each of the judges the standard of wine quality must surely be higher than any competition of this size in the world”.
The Five Judges
Each year the Chairman’s role rotates. In the past Australia’s James Halliday and England’s Robert Joseph have acted as Chair to the Challenge.
2012 Chairman Michael Fridjhon led the five judges through the three days of judging held at Homebush, New South Wales, Australia. Fridjhon, is a founding member of the panel and represents South Africa. Huon Hooke represents Australia and is responsible for the selection of the 100 Australian entries into the Challenge. 2012 is Hooke’s fourth year as a Judge. New Zealand’s Bob Campbell MW has been with the Challenge from the start in 2003 and Chaired the Challenge in 2009. In 2011 the Challenge welcomed the expansion of the Challenge by inviting Eduardo Brethauer of Chile and Fabricio Portelli of Argentina. 2012 was their second year as judges.
Bob Campbell MW will chair in 2013.