The Tri-Nations Wine Challenge was established in 2003 in the shadow of the Tri-Nations Rugby Championship. The participating nations featured the wines of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. James Halliday initially acted as the Australian Judge, Bob Campbell MW represented New Zealand & Michael Fridjhon looked after South Africa. Huon Hooke soon stepped in to replace James Halliday as the Australian Judge, and the Tri-Nations continued in this format from 2003 to 2010.
The Challenge expanded in 2011 to include the wines of Chile & Argentina, and became knows as the Five Nations Wine Challenge. Fabricio Portelli was appointed as the Argentinian Judge and Eduardo Brethauer selected the wines for Chile.
In 2013 the wines of America were included and the Five Nations became the Six Nations Wine Challenge. Dan Berger was appointed as the American judge - a position he fulfilled between 2013 & 2015. In 2016, Jon Bonne took over from Dan Berger as American Judge - this was however a short judging stint as Jon was commissioned to write a book and relocate to France the following year. 2016 also marked a change in country line-up - Argentina took a break from the Challenge due to a number of domestic economic reasons. Enter the wines of Canada, with Christopher Waters appointed as Judge.
2017 saw Ross Anderson take over control of the Six Nations Wine Challenge from Founder Judith Kennedy AM, and Patrick Comiskey was appointed as American Judge. The Challenge continued in this format from 2017 through to the conclusion of the 2019 season.
The 2020 Challenge was cancelled due to the impact of Covid around the world, but during this off season, several changes were rolled out. Chile followed the same path faced by Argentina a few years prior, and it was decided to give these amazing wines a break too. The Challenge, now back to five countries was re-branded for the final time, to the Global Fine Wine Challenge. Classes were expanded from the historical 16 classes to 22 classes, with Viognier, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Rose, Cabernet Franc, Malbec & Fortified wines being added to the line-up. Each country now has the opportunity to select and invite 120 wines across these classes.
Another key development started in 2017 when Ross Anderson took control of the Challenge. An immediate and significant financial investment was made in bringing systems, procedures and methodologies into the digital age. A key partnership with the Australian Business Improvement Agency (ABIA) was established, and a rudimentary piece of software was developed over a very short period of time to run in parallel with the traditional hand written judging notes. This initial piece of software was very successful and well received by the judges, and allowed capture of all commentary as well as instantaneous results from class judging. Fast forward 2 years, and the DrinkMe Digital software platform now manages every aspect of this complex international wine challenge - with an exciting consumer portal now sitting in the wings ready for launch shortly.