A WEEK camping in the wilderness has rejuvenated my mind and body. I feel cleansed and ready to tackle the year ahead at full speed. Already the calendar is beginning to fill up with events to challenge the most dedicated wine enthusiast. I thought I would have a look at a few upcoming events that can help fill the spaces in the sparkling new diaries of wine trade members and consumers alike.

One of the most proactive steps undertaken to increase the knowledge of wine lovers around Australia was an innovative program called Working with Wine, set up by wine wholesaler Negociants Australia in 1998. The fellowship program has been undertaken by around 500 people over that period of time and has enabled those selected to enhance their knowledge of wine by tasting and having the opportunity to talk with some of the world’s most eminent wine makers. The successful applicants are invited to a series of seminars during the year that will look closely at varietal wine styles from around the world. This year, Working with Wine applicants will have an opportunity to taste and work with wines themed around riesling and bordeaux. Two of the world’s most knowledgeable riesling identities, Etienne Hugel from Alsace in France and Egon Muller from Germany, will be on hand to present the first seminar in May this year. Bruno Prats from Chateau Cos d’ Estournel will present the second seminar on Bordeaux in July.

To gain a place in the fellowship you will need to undertake a half-hour examination consisting of a written and sensory evaluation of a selection of masked wines. Up for grabs is what has been described to me as the ultimate in a wine lover’s holiday, with the winner of the program to receive a fully-paid trip to Europe to sip and spit some of the world’s greatest wines. Your itinerary could include stopping in at Chateau Petrus, Romanee Conti and Guigal in France, as well as Antinori in Italy. There is no doubt that, if wine is one of your passions, then you should give this a go.

The date of the Perth examination is Monday February 25 at the Subiaco Hotel. For further details contact Tim Evans at Negociants Australia on 9350 5544.

Another of the dates you must pencil in for 2002 is August 2-5 for Wine Australia, which is being held at Fox Studios in Sydney. Wine Australia is an opportunity to taste thousands of wines (if you wish) under the one roof. As you would expect, producers from the major corporations will be in attendance, however you also will find a vast array of small boutique-type producers. The public is invited at $25 per person from 11am – 9pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The trade has its very own special day on the Monday from 9am – 6pm and you will need to hand over $15 per person. To find out more you can contact Wine Australia on (08) 8362 5556 or via the website

The Tucker Seabrook Wine List of the Year is an event for the restaurateurs around the State. Entries have now opened, with a closing date of April 19.

The criteria for those who have not entered before are clear presentation, choice, price and appropriateness to the restaurants style and food.

Those with something special to offer can enter in a wide range of categories that include best pub wine list, best cafe brasserie wine list and best small wine list. If you have had your doors open for less than 12 months, then the best new restaurant wine list award is the one for you. If you are unsure about your list then a peek at the lists in Alto’s, Friends or the Must Wine Bar will give you an indication of what you are up against.

For details or entry forms contact Pam Prior at Tucker Seabrook on (02) 9666 0024, or email

One more special event coming up in the next few weeks is the annual Wine Press Club sparkling wines sundowner, which this year is looking at premium sparkling wines from around the world. The sundowner will be held on February 26 at the Old Swan Brewery site. Tickets are $45 for members and $55 for non-members. With some stunning sparkling wines, an interesting array of guest speakers and a fantastic venue, this event promises to be a great way to start the year. For more details contact Ron Burton on 0412 583 744.

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