The countdown begins for nervous entrants to the 2016 Australian Cider Awards as judges prepare to ‘blind’ taste an exciting selection of ciders and perries from Australia, the US, UK, Ireland, Spain and New Zealand.

Over 200 products have been entered into this year’s show – a 30 per cent increase on last year – with cider producers from far and wide vying for honours.

Cider Australia President Sam Reid said it was encouraging to see such strong support for the Awards as it enters its sixth year, confirming the value the industry places on Australia’s leading cider competition.

“The awards continue to drive growth and innovation in the cider category by focusing attention on quality and recognising the growing diversity of cider styles available in Australia”, Mr Reid said.

Judging of the Awards will take place in Melbourne on 26-27 September when a discerning panel of cider experts assess entries in a record twenty different categories.

Judges include chair Gary Baldwin (chief winemaker at Handpicked Wines), UK cider connoisseur Bill Bradshaw, wine and cider journalist Max Allen, Behn Payten (winemaker at Payten & Jones Wines), Briony Liebich (sensory analyst at Lion/Kirin) and associate Fiona Lim (Wine Republic).

Australian Cider Award winners will be announced at a presentation evening on Friday, 7th October  at The Craft & Co in Collingwood. Tickets are $125 per head with guests served a five-course dinner and a matched selection of award winning ciders.

Cider Australia’s festivities will be capped off at the largest craft cider festival ever to grace our shores, the annual Australian Cider Festival on Saturday, 8th October.

CIDER AUSTRALIA EVENTS

•    Bill Bradshaw will present a Cider Judging Master Class at the Brunswick Street Cider House in Fitzroy next Wednesday, September 28th from 9.30am touching on British and European cider scenes.
•    Award winners will be celebrated at a special presentation dinner on October 7th at The Craft & Co in Collingwood. Contact office@cideraustralia.org.au for bookings.
•    Bill Bradshaw will also host an interactive forum for cider producers at The Coopers Malthouse on Saturday 8th October from 9.30 – 11am.
•    The Australian Cider Festival will run from 12-7pm on Saturday 8th October at The Coopers Malthouse forecourt, Southbank. Tickets are $45 per person and include unlimited free cider tastings, live entertainment and cider master classes. For details visit www.ciderfestival.com.au