Ten years on from the 2004 ASVO Best Practice Recommendations (BPRs), in the light of continuing debate about many aspects of the wine show system and evolution in the practice of conducting wine shows, the ASVO proposed that it was time to again establish an industry committee to review, update and expand the 2004 BPRs as well as address new issues that have arisen since 2004. The objective set by the ASVO was to produce a single document for consideration by the agricultural societies, regional bodies and others that conduct wine shows in which the industry would express its current view on what constitutes best practice in the Australian wine show system. Through this document, the industry seeks to encourage practices in the organisation and judging of all shows that are robust and have integrity and yet leave the shows with flexibility to express their own ‘personality’ or ‘character’.

The wider industry readily agreed with the ASVO proposal and in 2014 it established a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) chaired by Dr Tony Jordan with Dr Tony Robinson as secretary to carry out the review. As the TAG needed to express an industry view, members were chosen to represent a wide range of industry interests. Members were drawn from large and small companies, a wide range of geographic origins, trade, press, those who have experience as wine show chairs and wine show judges, are members of wine show committees, and have links to the 2004 ASVO committee. The TAG was given the objective defined above and met in multiple telephone conferences between November 2014 and November 2015. From time to time, the committee sought opinions from industry members and show societies. A draft was circulated to over 50 interested parties in the industry, the chair met with the Capital City wine shows committee (CCWSC) and their comments were considered by the TAG before finalising the document.

The 2015 BPRs attempts to be comprehensive incorporating more than 200 recommendations about conducting a wine show and the document significantly expands the topics covered in the previous 2004 BPRs. Some recommendations seem minor, such as acceptable range of room temperature during judging, which glassware to use, tasting bench heights, remuneration of judges and stewards, the number of judges on tasting panels etc. However, the TAG was clear that these recommendations should be recorded. Other recommendations record evolution in practice and thinking over the last 10 years – mix of judges, term of appointment of judges, selection process for judges, use of specialist judges, entries by brand and blend, relaxation on the number of entries per class, appointment and remuneration of auditors etc. While some other recommendations reflect more contemporary debate which will continue to evolve in time.

The ASVO Best Practice Recommendations were drafted by Dr Tony Jordan and Dr Tony Robinson with input from the the Technical Advisory Group (TAG), wine shows and wine industry and edited by Dr Tony Jordan, Dr Tony Robinson and Nick Bulleid.

The ASVO thanks everyone involved for their time and commitment in preparing this valuable guide.