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December 17, 2009

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Wine pros in China contend for Aussie prize

IT is common in every wine market for producers to conduct large tasting events of their wines for wholesale and retail buyers as well as members of the general public to sample the goods.

This practice has flowed through to China as overseas producers seek to both gain a market foothold and get a better understanding of Chinese wine drinking preferences.

It is also important for these producers that Chinese consumers gain a greater knowledge of the varieties of red and white wine styles and the different characteristics of each wine-growing region.

The front line in this two-way learning exchange are the food and beverage staff of restaurants, the sommeliers of quality restaurants who recommend food and wine pairings, retailers, importers and wine writers.

To encourage wider general knowledge of wines and the stunning varieties from Australia, the country has established an awards program to recognize China-based wine professionals.

The Wine Australia Awards are open to people from the categories mentioned above and four winners will receive a fully funded 10-day wine tour next year of Australia.

"Our aim is to recognize and reward ambassadors of wine, and of Australian wine in China - people or businesses who have worked with passion and enthusiasm to promote wine to Chinese consumers," says Ali Hogarth, Wine Australia's China regional manager.

"Their reward will be the chance to tour some of Australia's key wine regions, to meet people behind the famous brands and to try the wines where they are made," she says.

The top prize will be the Wine Australia Trophy for an individual or business making an outstanding contribution to the growth of wine in China. The other three awards will go to applicants from wine retailing, restaurants/bars/hotels, and wine education/wine writing.

Contenders must be resident and based on the Chinese mainland and currently active in their professions.

The deadline for applications (see details at is December 31 and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Beijing on Australia Day, January 26.


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