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No more growing pains for WA's premier wine show

About Allen

Journalist and PR guy who loves living in Perth with its fabulous food and wine and wide open spaces.

From humble beginnings, a truly great Wine Show of Western Australia has grown.

What is now The Wine Show of Western Australia had a humble start in life in 1978 - as “Section L, Table Wines” at the Mt Barker and District Agricultural Show.

Judges at the 1986 awards, John Hanley, Ern Skinner, Robin Day and Viv Thomson.

Judges at the 1986 awards, John Hanley, Ern Skinner, Robin Day and Viv Thomson. Picture supplied.

It was tucked between Section K, Farm Produce, and Section M, Home Cooking.

Since then it has grown dramatically, but not always without its hitches.

It's competition time: Win dinner for two at Cafe at the Hyatt

Pam McGregor, the secretary for the wine show in those early days, recalls the time they were setting up the trestle tables from the main exhibition hall.

One side had been completely filled with the classes, (three bottles per class), carefully lined up.

Organisers were just about to start on the second side when the trestle table fell over and bottles went crashing onto the carpeted floor, smashing against each other as they went.

A panicky phone call brought the local carpet cleaner, who was luckily at home, to the rescue with his machine to suck up all the spilled red wine and avert a disaster.

Thankfully, most entries only lost one bottle so judging was able to proceed.

Read more from Allen Newton: Taste so many award winners at UnWined Subiaco

“And thankfully, the committee involved in the building of the pavilion with the shire council were outraged at the architect’s decision to use acrylic carpeting and insisted, because the area is a good wool-producing area, that the carpet be wool.  The acrylic carpet would not have fared so well,” Pam says.

It’s come a long way since the days of clearing up at the end of the show and sharing a glass of leftover wine with fish-and-chips for lunch.

Entry fees have also increased slightly since 1978, when the fee for all six classes of current vintage wines was $1.

In 2017, entries are open to wines made from 100 percent WA-grown grapes, but now attract an entry fee of $80 per class.

Wine and food lovers will get the opportunity to see just how far The Wine Show of Western Australia has come with two events to celebrate the 40th anniversary.

The first is a Top 50 tasting at Il Lido, Cottesloe, on October 20 from 1pm.

The canape-style lunch will give wine enthusiasts an opportunity to taste, compare and discuss the 2017 show’s Top 50 medal-winning wines. Sommelier Daniel Wegener, a long-time supporter of the show, will host the tasting.

Tickets for the stand-up lunch cost $80.

This year's awards will culminate with its Gala Wine Show dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Perth on Friday, October 27, from 6.30pm.

The trophy-winning wines of this year’s show will be announced at the black-tie dinner, with a menu designed to match the wines.

The prestigious Singapore Airlines Trophy for Best Wine of Show will be announced.

A trip for two to Europe is included as part of this prize. Other trophies include Perth Airport Trophy for Best Red and Mount Barker Community Bendigo Bank Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor overall.

The menu has been created specially for the Wine Show of WA gala dinner by Hyatt Perth executive chef Abhay Kumar. It will be served with 12 trophy wines selected from the Wine Show of WA judging earlier in the month.

The menu:

White and wholemeal mountain pepper leaf mini bread rolls served with 3 Drops olive oil and Murray River pink salt.

Pre-dinner drinks – a gold medal Sparkling wine and the best Sauvignon Blanc

Tasting plate served with the best Rose and the best Riesling. 

Anise myrtle marinated Rottnest scallops with radish finger lime and crème fraiche. Lavender-infused farmhouse duck parfait with quandong chutney. Brioche crisp Linley Valley roasted pork belly with pickled daikon and native salsa verde,

Entrée served with the best Chardonnay, the best White Blend and the best aged Riesling.

Forty-degree slow-cooked salmon with anise myrtle heirloom beetroot, dill oil, yuzu gel, fennel, avocado cream and pea powder.

Main course served with the best Pinot Noir, the best Red Blend and the best Cabernet Sauvignon.

Butterfield Black Angus beef fillet with artichoke, baby king mushrooms, charred greens, wattle seed gnocchi and native currant red wine sauce.

Cheeses served with the best Shiraz and the best older red wine.

Maffra Cheddar and a Brie served with home-made saltbush crackers, bush tomato relish and apricot chutney.

Dessert: Lemon aspen panna cotta with wild berries salsa.

Freshly brewed coffee, tea and petits fours served with the best fortified or sweet wine.

Tickets are $185 or $1750 for a table of 10.

Tickets for both events are available through

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