The first Advanced Wine Assessment Course (AWAC) was held 25 years ago in August 1992. AWAC 44 is being held this week and this course will welcome the 1160th AWAC scholar to the judging system. The AWRI congratulates all past scholars of AWAC and thanks all AWAC guest judges who have provided their time, skill and experience to prepare the next generation of wine show judges.
The AWAC was the brainchild of Brian Croser AO, and was born in collaboration with the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia. The early courses were led by Peter Leske (then Leader of the AWRI’s Extension Services), renowned winemaker and AWRI Council member Geoff Weaver and Dr Terry Lee, AWRI Managing Director. First known as the AWASC (S for ‘Short’), its objective was to provide formal, intensive training in wine evaluation and judging techniques to wine industry members and thereby develop a larger, more professional pool of wine show judges and associates.
Over its 25-year history, the AWAC has proven to be an important contributor to the development of the Australian wine show system. Course participants gain an appreciation of the fundamentals of wine quality, are exposed to a wide range of Australian and international wine styles, and learn skills and techniques to judge large numbers of wine, quickly and reliably. The AWAC has been held in two states and at five different locations over the years, and is now based at the AWRI in Adelaide.
The AWAC, in partnership with regional and national wine shows, now awards an outstanding candidate in each course the position of dux. The recipient of this award is fast-tracked to an associate judge position at a national wine show. Information on how to become a wine show judge can be found in this FAQ.
The course has also led to development of an electronic wine show management system, ShowRunner. Originally developed for AWAC scoring, this system has now been expanded to include all aspects of running a wine show and is being used by more than 20 wine shows across Australia in 2017.
As it celebrates the AWAC’s 25th birthday, the AWRI would like to thank the many past and present staff who have assisted with the running of the course over the last 25 years.