SIPPING almost 1000 different wines over five days may sound like heaven to some, but for the team of Riverina Wine Show judges, it's all part of the job.
Judging for the annual competition now in its 39th year kicked off at Woodside Hall yesterday morning with more than 800 wines from across Australia entered.
This year's International Sweet Wine Challenge a popular component of the show received a record number of entries with 25 per cent from overseasand judging will continue until Saturday.
For Riverina Wine Show organisers Les Worland and Stuart McGrath-Kerr, there was plenty of cause for celebration with the pair marking 50 combined years of service to the show.
Mr Worland said when he first entered the scene, the competition was a component of the agricultural show but he saw a need to break away.
“We have built it up from a regional show with 200 entries,” Mr Worland said.
“Eventually we want it to be called the People’s Wine Show because we want wines that people can actually go into a bottle shop and buy.
“We want everyone to be able to drink wine.”
Aside from building greater accessibility to wine, Mr Worland said the show was about winemakers getting feedback on their product.
“You can get other people, independent people, to appraise your wine,” he said.
“That way, you can get the quality up.”
Revered wine critic Ben Edwards continued as chief judge this year and said the number of entries was “fantastic”, especially on the back of challenging vintages.
“We are very lucky to have such a diverse range of judges,” Mr Edwards said.
“We have sommeliers, winemakers, retailers – that diversity gives interesting results.”
Mr Edwards said wines that did well overall were not necessarily the most expensive, but showed a balance of characteristics.
“Our job is to find the best of the best,” he said.
“And we taste with the bare minimum of information that allows us to do our job properly.”
Results from the show will be announced at the Griffith Cup on Saturday.