Today the competition is unrecognisable compared to how it was fifteen years ago. Australian wine is less obviously “sunshine in a bottle,” Kiwi wine is more confident, Cape wine less tentative and the submissions from the Americas – especially but not exclusively in the classes for which they are known beyond their borders – are breathtaking in their intensity and finesse. Who – ten years ago – would have thought that the 2019 show’s best fizz would come from Canada, its best sauvignon from South Africa, its best pinot from the United States, and its best shiraz from New
Zealand? Who would have thought that Canada would bag more class trophies than any other wine producing nation except the United States, and that its trophy swag would equal the combined haul of Australia and New Zealand? The pace of change is quicker than we realise: we are like passengers hurtling at almost infinite speeds across zero gravity space: we think we are standing still, but once a year we get a chance to sample and quantify the pace of progress, and we are forced to look back and see, as if for the first time, the distance we have traversed.

Michael Fridjhon | South Africa
2019 Chairman

Given the extraordinary array of top wines, is it even possible to identify highlights to serve as a guide for the wine lover seeking to look at the show’s top wines with the freshest possible palate? Obviously, some classes are necessarily stronger than others, either because they comprise a more coherent array – cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, Bordeaux blends and sauvignon blanc, for example – or because the category is more “winemakerly” (sparkling wine or riesling).

Michael Fridjhon | South Africa
2018 Chairman

Shiraz was one of the strongest classes. I noted a remarkable number of spicy wines, including some with evident use of whole-bunch, mostly to their benefit. Sparkling was a strong class with many fine wines, and many styles being rewarded – rosés, blanc de blancs and blends; young and mature wines, vintage and non-vintage. The Other Reds (Full Bodied Varieties) class was also strong, and a great pleasure to judge. It was diverse in varieties and styles, and loaded with interest.

Huon Hooke | Australia
2017 Chairman

It was another year of changes at the Six Nations Wine Challenge, with Canada entering for the first time, and two new faces at the judging tables. They were Canadian judge Christopher Waters and our new USA representative, Jon Bonné. Both fitted into the competition seamlessly, and both achieved plenty of success with their wine selections.

Huon Hooke | Australia
2016 Chairman

To have on your table 600 of the best wines of the New World is a big challenge for our senses, but most of all a privilege for the judges. There is not time to get tired. You are so concentrated, so excited and so curious, that the time flows and twists inside your glass, blending with the lights of the beautiful and cosmopolitan Sydney.

Eduardo Brethauer | Chile
2015 Chairman

2014 will be marked by surprises, something that should be very welcome by global consumers, because it would help them to open their minds and palates. A South African Sauvignon Blanc over New Zealand´s or a Chilean Riesling highlights some of Australia’s best representatives. Somewhat more surprising is an Aussie Malbec chosen over many from Argentina. And there is revenge at the hands of Argentina’s Syrah. The United States has taken one of the most competitive classes of the show; Bordeaux Blends, and New Zealand has dominated the Chardonnay class.

Fabricio Portellli | Argentina
2014 Chairman