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HOW HARPERS WINE STARS WORKS Harpers Wine Stars Awards are markedly different from the run of the mill, being judged by buyers for buyers, taking blind-assessed quality as the starting point, but then adding two further layers for consideration, with additional rounds of judging assessing the wines for value for money and then design and packaging. As such, these awards are like no other, taking an holistic approach, considering all of the factors that influence buying decisions, including elements of appeal to the final wine-buying consumer. • ROUND ONE – QUALITY All wines were tasted blind, aside from knowledge of the region of origin and grape variety, and assigned a score by each judge based on quality alone. • ROUND TWO – VALUE Following the quality assessment of the wines in each regional flight, prices were then revealed and judges gave additional marks based on the perceived qualityto-value ratio. • ROUND THREE – DESIGN The labels of all wines were then revealed, with additional marks given for the overall packaging and design of each wine, with judges also appraised of the intended sales channel(s) – and thus packaging suitability – for each wine. All Wine Stars entrants go through a three-tiered judging process

Henry Boyes, Mitchells & Butlers Charles Cutteridge, Majestic Wine Dawn Davies MW, Speciality Drinks Caroline Doyle, Borough Wines Dean Harper, HarperWells

Tom Hemmingway, Highbury Vintners John Hoskins MW, Old Bridge Inn Dan Kirby, Adnams

Tom Ochoa, Lanchester Wines Michael Patterson, D&D Restaurant Group

Similarly, Young said of Chardonnay: “What we haven’t seen is a huge shift to modern styles of Aussie Chardonnay – the leaner styles. People are looking for a bit more flesh on the bone – not going back to the old days of massive buttery oak, but wherever we find a reasonably priced Chardonnay with a bit of fruit and oak we sell loads of it.” Michael Patterson of D&D Restaurants offered a possible explanation for the continuing popularity of the more traditional mainstream varieties. “When the economy is slightly unpredictable or unstable, then customers go with familiarity, so at

the moment customers want the well-established styles from Australia,” he said, with reference to Australian sales across the group. However, with high star ratings awarded for both traditional and newer varieties and styles, the judges agreed that overall a shift to fresher, more poised wines had upped the ante in terms of food compatibility in general with Australia’s offer. And grapes including Pinot Noir and Vermentino, along with a wider slew of Italian and Spanish varieties, were singled out as exciting and successful additions to the traditional mainstream quality players.

Theo Sloot, Oxford Wine Company Collette WhittingtonBowers, Hills Prospect Noel Young, Noel Young Wines | January 2018 3

Harpers Wine Stars Australia 2018  
Harpers Wine Stars Australia 2018