The countdown is on

The best sweet wines in the world will be pouring into Griffith over the coming months as the countdown to the International Sweet Wine Challenge (ISWC) begins.

The best sweet wines in the world will be pouring into Griffith over the coming months as the countdown to the International Sweet Wine Challenge (ISWC) begins.

The best sweet wines in the world will be pouring into Griffith over the coming months as the countdown to the International Sweet Wine Challenge (ISWC) begins.

Preparations have already started for the ninth annual ISWC, which returns to highlight the quality and diversity of sweet wines available from around Australia and the globe.

It will also promote the best wines within their style, raising greater understanding and awareness of sweet wines in general.

The challenge will begin June 13 at Griffith's Woodside Hall, with entries invited from all the major wine producing regions of the world.

Judging will take place in August and 100-point scores, medals and trophies will be announced in early September.

Entrants will be judged by a panel of wine experts, including international guest judge Madeleine Stenwreth MW, who is a highly regarded Swedish Sommelier and wine show judge, and Jeremy Dineen - chief winemaker at Josef Chromy, Tasmania.

This year the panel is to be headed by new chair Sophie Otton.

Ms Otton is the former wine director at the Rockpool Bar and Grill restaurants and is now an independent wine writer and educator.

She said it was a privilege to be invited to chair the challenge.

"I expect it to be a fascinating exploration and analysis of key producers and devotees of the style, and I am very keen to ascertain the quality of developments in the category," Ms Otton said.

"These are wines of an age-old style, the origins of which date back centuries, beyond the earliest classification in the 1700s.

"As the most revered wines of their day, it is important that an ongoing connection is preserved and refined."

Riverina Winemakers Association president Les Worland said the challenge was open to any non-fortified sweet wine that was commercially available in the country of origin and holds a minimum stock of 50 case lots at the time of entry.

There is also a separate museum class for wines five years or older, which are not commercially available, aimed at showing unusual or rare styles.

"Last year's challenge saw a very high standard of entries, with an increase in entry numbers and a high proportion of overseas entries," Mr Worland said.

"This year promises to be as keenly contested, with winning wines not only rewarded with medals and trophies, and for the first time individual scores out of 100, but also benefiting from valuable exposure in international wine and lifestyle publications."

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