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ENTRIES for the 2014 Australian Inland Wine Show (AIWS) close on Monday 1 September. Wineries have already begun returning forms and entry numbers from some individual wineries are up from previous years.

“We’re really encouraged by the entries to date, but we know there’s many more wineries out there who are eligible but haven’t yet entered,” says Peter Holt, the President of the AIWS.

As an Australian first, the AIWS committee has created a ‘feature class’ for Moscato, to showcase a style of wine predominantly produced from the inland wine regions and one going gangbusters with a large segment of consumers.

The National Moscato Challenge aims to showcase the breadth of this style and is open to all Australian producers of this wine style.

Wines should be in the Moscato style and apart from the usual AIWS Regulations (refer to the entry catalogue or web site) the other requirement is to have been produced from a minimum of 85 per cent recognised Muscat varieties.

“Moscato wines aren’t your typical winemakers wine – they’re typically sweet and low alcohol – tailored for a large segment of consumers, so they’re generally not entered into wine shows, or given the notoriety like other table wines, yet they are so popular – that’s why we want to feature them,” says Holt.

Most wines entered in the AIWS must be made from fruit sourced predominantly (>85 per cent) from the inland Geographical Indicators of Australia – Riverland (SA), Murray Darling (VIC/NSW), Swan Hill (VIC/NSW), Pericoota (NSW), Riverina (NSW).

Another AIWS initiative has been to recognise the blending of inland fruit with other temperate-region supplies to make large amounts of world-famous wines which continue to put Australian wine on the map.

Two sub-classes (white and red table wine) within the large-volume class (i.e. >500,000L) now allow a lower proportion of inland fruit (>51 per cent).

Holt hopes this will encourage larger producers “who recognise the value and importance of the fruit produced from the inland regions” to enter the AIWS.

Australia’s most highly-awarded winemaker, David Morris, has been the chief judge at the AIWS for a number of years now.

He will lead a team of six senior judges and six associate judges (including two fourth year Oenology students from the University of Adelaide) from 4-6 October.

The AIWS committee is run by a small group of committed local volunteers who plan this whole event year after year.

Judging takes place at a local community hall and the number of volunteers swell to help the make the judging weekend come together in a professional manner.

To showcase all the wines entered in the AIWS, the committee last year decided to team up with the Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival to expose the exhibitors’ wines to a large cross-section of the public (more than 1700 visitors).

More than 5000 glasses of wine were poured during the event, allowing extensive wine education and brand promotion, interaction between exhibitors and everyday consumers, and a chance for sponsors to promote their brands and demonstrate their support for the local community.

Entries close Monday 1 September.

To enter online contact entries@inlandwine.com or visit www.inlandwine.com/asp/login.asp. Entries will also be accepted by fax and post.