Region toasts the top wines

Warren HatelyBusselton Dunsborough Times

The Margaret River wine industry celebrated a very different 19th annual wine show this week, capping off a challenging and unusual year for the sector.

COVID-19 and complications around WA’s border arrangements meant this year’s Margaret River Wine Association showcase was a partly virtual affair.

Judging of the region’s most stellar wines was held at the Margaret River Heart all week, and finished with a gala dinner at Leeuwin Estate last night.

Travel restrictions meant many of the interstate and overseas luminaries were unable to attend this year.

But MRWA live streamed the wine show via its Facebook page for a keen audience.

The show’s big prize — the 2020 lifetime achievement award — was awarded to Dorham Mann OAM for his critical role in helping the early pioneers in Margaret River.

Mann helped many with their site selections and early plantings, including Sandalford and Cape Mentelle.

In the major judging categories, Xanadu Wines led the charge, winning the Langton’s trophy for wine of show with its Reserve cabernet sauvignon 2018.

Xanadu also scored the most successful exhibitor award, the City of Busselton trophy for best cabernet sauvignon, the Langton’s trophy for wine of provenance for its 2010, 2012 and 2018 cabernet sauvignon, and the red wine of show award too.

This year’s viticultural excellence award was won by Cape Mentelle’s David Moulton, while the Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association tourism excellence award was won by Arlewood Estate’s Paris Hokin.

The white wine of show was won by the Blackstone Paddock Margaret River chardonnay 2019.

Guests at last night’s sold-out dinner celebrated a year of achievements in the face of adversity, with labour issues — and the region’s maxed-out housing supply — the next industry challenge.

More than 100 exhibitors submitted 656 wines from within the catchment, with judging by some of the region’s best-known winemakers including Virginia Willcock, former MRWA president Cath Oates, and chair of judges Cliff Royle.

For more category winners, visit margaretriver.wine or the MRWA Facebook page.

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