Top vintage for Aitken

MARK Aitken, a recent Curtin University graduate, has taken out top honours in the 2003 Perth Royal Show wine judging.

Mr Aitken graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 2001, finishing top of his class and winning the Talijancich-Redoux Scholarship.

With his experience in Bordeaux, Mr Aitken began working as a winemaker for Manjimup-based winery Chestnut Grove in 2002.

Chestnut Grove won the trophy and gold medal for the 2003 verdelho, 2001 merlot and a gold medal for the 2003 chardonnay, which topped the unwooded chardonnay class.

It also won the trophy for the best small producer under 300 tonnes.

Mr Aitken said while the verdelho and merlot always enjoyed some success, he was surprised and delighted at the overall sucess of Chestnut Grove.

"It puts the bar up a little bit so we’ll be looking to improve even more for next year," he said.

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