Peter Duggin accepted the Grand Gold prize on behalf of the Riverland Vine Improvement Committee for its Cirami Estate 2015 Saperavi from the Ambassador of Georgia at a ceremony held in Canberra last Friday.
Riverland wines were well represented in the contest with Alex Russell being awarded Gold for his 2015 alejandro Saperavi and Silver for the 2016 alejandro Saperavi and Bassham Wines receiving Gold for their 2015 Saperavi Dry Red.
“Riverland wine makers are well known for their adoption of alternative grape varieties… And now the South Australian region has won endorsement from a most unlikely source…Georgia - the country at the intersection of Europe and Asia, which claims to be the birthplace of wine,” wrote Alexandra Laskie of the Weekly Times.
The event was attended by representatives of the Australian Government and diplomatic corps as well as business and media circles. The Ambassador of Georgia addressed the audience and spoke about the ancient traditions of Georgian winemaking.
Saperavi is one of over 500 varieties native to Georgia and Georgian government officials were so impressed with Cirami’s wine that they offered an invitation to Peter Duggin to visit the eastern European country on a cultural exchange tour.
The first Saperavi World Prize (SapPrize) international contest was held in Tbilisi in 2017. The contest was organised by publishing house Hvino News under the patronage of the Embassies of Georgia to Australia and the USA.
Small and large wineries from several continents submitted wine samples to SapPrize. Wines came from Australia (14 wines), United States (four wines), Azerbaijan (three samples), Kazakhstan (two samples), Russia (two samples) and one wine each from Armenia and New Zealand.
Stacey Lymbery from ABC Riverland attended the event, held at the Commonwealth Club in Canberra and filmed the presentation which can be viewed on.