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The race is on: Sarah Fagan’s team crushing their grapes.

BAPTISM of Fire is a fight to the ferment and beyond, pitting six teams of first-time winemakers against one another and against the harsh realities of making and releasing a wine in a competition like no other.

The teams come from a variety of backgrounds but all share the same dream of making their own wine.

The competition finalists are:

  • A pair of rival Sydney bar owners – James Hird and Matt Swieboda – who’ve joined forces
  • Salvatore Malatesta and Matt Perger from St Ali
  • Rockpool’s Wiremu Andrews and girl-about-town Jess Ho
  • Chris Hysted and publishing gun Sheridan Wright
  • Bellota’s Jacqueline Turner and Meg Power
  • Michael and Ricky — Gen Y fashion and food bloggers.

The aim of the game is to make the best wine using Shiraz grapes from either Mount Langi Ghiran (Grampians), De Bortoli (Yarra Valley) or Thousand Candles (Yarra Valley).

Throughout the competition the teams were led by winemaking gurus Steve Webber and Sarah Fagan (De Bortoli), Gilles Lapalus (Sutton Grange), Matt Harrop (Shadowfax), Mac Forbes and Timo Mayer.

Team work: Two of Timo Mayer’s team members picking their grapes.

As well as receiving assistance with the winemaking process, the groups partnered with
design experts from Alquimie, Ultra Studio, Andrew Ashton, Salmon Design, Ortolan
and Tin & Ed to develop their packaging.

At the preview of these wines on Monday 4 August at Melbourne’s Savoy Tavern, industry experts and consumers will meet the team members, taste their wines and bid at auction to receive the packaged product which is due for release in October.

The auction’s results in conjunction with the votes from a panel of judges chaired by
Rory Kent will determine the winning team.

Part proceeds of all the wine sales will be donated to SecondBite.

Renegade Films captured the contestants’ adventures and will broadcast a series of
webisodes aimed at people who are curious about wine.

For more information visit www.winebof.com