STANDING alongside some of Australia’s top wine judges at the 2013 Orange Wine Show will be a huge honour, Cumulus winemaker Matthew Atallah said.
Mr Atallah joined Cumulus early last year and was still finding his feet during last year’s wine festival, but this year all settled in with his young family he is ready for the challenge.
Prior to coming to Orange with his wife Hazel and two young daughters Caitlin, 5, and Phoebe, 3, he worked in the industry in South Australia.
“But then this opportunity came up in Orange with Cumulus and we already had a few friends here.
“I have to say Orange has been very welcoming,” he said.
Running parallel with the excitement of creating a perfect drop this year Mr Atallah says he is looking forward to gleaning experience from wine master Toni Paterson, Kate Goldman, and Tom Ravech as associate judges.
“Last year was challenging because of the weather conditions but this year is going to be stunning,” said Mr Atallah.
“I am very happy with the red varieties and the whites are wonderful,” he said.
Judging more than 230 entries in this year’s wine show will be no easy task he says.
“I really take my hat off to the judges in the big wine shows,” he said.
Choosing a gold medal wine in a particular class and tasting wines with hardly a break in between tasting can be a challenge.
“If there is a standout you go back and look at the wines either side of it again,” he said.
Like any winemaker he says he has his particular preferences with varieties.
“Even if you don’t like a particular wine your job is to judge whether or not that wine is true to its style,” he said.
“And even if you don’t like the style you have to remain impartial and that is very important,” said.
At the end of the day when Mr Atallah puts his feet up with a glass of wine he says he has a favourite.
“I do like a merlot now even though I didn’t rate it highly when I first came to Orange,” he said.
The wine show is part of Orange Wine Week that runs from October 17- 27.