As noted on our home page and in correspondence to our entrants, the 2013 AIWS has finally come to an end with the public tasting held recently in conjunction with the annual swan Hill Food and Wine Festival. The 2013 AIWS became the 2013/14 AIWS.

Every year our committee struggles to come up with the best way to try and satisfy the main ideals behind the wine show. We want to acknowledge all our entrants, their wines and the inland regions from which our competing wines are drawn. We also want to publicly acknowledge the award, trophy and medal winners. And last but by no means least we want the public to discover the wide range of wine styles and varieties available right on their doorstep. With so many regional wine shows happening each year it is always difficult to attract successful exhibitors to our event to receive their awards or even to attend an exhibitor tasting. The public has also been attending recent public tastings in low numbers, despite various formats being tried in attempts to increase public awareness, education and exposure of our exhibitors’ wines.

So, in a big break with tradition we dispensed with a formal presentation of the 2013 Awards. The wines were still judged on the first weekend in October as usual, but the awards were all sent to the winners. We then held a public tasting of all the wines to coincide with the Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival in March 2014, five months after our formal judging. Our ability to conduct such an event on the scale it turned out to be is in no small way thanks to a Community Services Grant received from the Swan Hill Rural City Council, and we thank them most sincerely for this. Whilst we still lose money on the event, the Grant ameliorates the loss.

And what a fantastic success it was!

Our objectives of showing the array of wines styles and varieties wines to the public and showcasing our exhibitors were well and truly achieved. All our expectations were exceeded. At the end of the day there were nine very weary AIWS committee members and helpers smiling contentedly with what they had achieved. Close to 2,000 people and an estimated 6,000 wine samples served, not to mention many sales to interested consumers. We have a few small things to improve on for next year but overall the day was a huge success, particularly for showcasing the inland regional wines and wineries that participate in the AIWS.

One of the things we need to look at for next year is a listing of all our exhibitors plus how and where people can buy the wines they like. Even brochures from each winery would be a great addition. A number of wineries were invited to share the space in our large marquee for some of their own marketing but only one chose to take up our offer. This was attributed largely to the festival being held around vintage time, making it difficult for wineries to attend on the day. Our sincere thanks go to Andrew Peace Wines, Australian Vintage and Brown Brothers who supported us with personnel who conducted information and tasting sessions for the public during the day. I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank the hordes of people that visited our marquee, sampled the wines and received answers to all sorts of questions about the wines and the regions from whence they came.

Given nearly 12 month’s notice I would like to urge more of our exhibitors to be a part of the celebrations and consider sending someone to represent you in March 2015 at our 2014/15 AIWS public tasting at the Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival. It’s all about educating and informing the public and promoting our inland wine regions as well as your own products. It’s a total free kick for you and a great marketing opportunity. You won’t be offered many opportunities like this.

Peter Holt
Australian Inland Wine Show