The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards (RMWA) due to the continuing impact of COVID-19.
RASV said that under the current restrictions, it was not possible to conduct the Awards to the required professional standards and for judges to safely come together and reward Australia’s great wines.
RASV Chief Executive Officer Brad Jenkins said the decision made in consultation with industry experts on the RMWA Committee was particularly disappointing for the wine industry, but ensuring the health and safety of all involved including the judges, stewards, exhibitors and staff was paramount when reaching this decision.
“The COVID-19 health crisis is unprecedented and the further tightening of restrictions in Victoria means that in the best interest of the health and safety of all involved including judges, stewards, exhibitors and staff, we are unable to deliver the 2020 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards,” said Jenkins.
Royal Melbourne Wine Awards Chair of Judges Matt Harrop added: “When considering the current global COVID-19 pandemic, the availability and health of the judges and volunteers has been at the forefront of this decision.
“With the introduction of stage 4 restrictions, limitations on travel and the mandatory mask wearing for Victorians, it is unlikely that restrictions would be reduced to allow the almost 40 members of the judging panel to come together in October.”
Royal Melbourne Wine Awards Committee Chair Samantha Isherwood said: “The Royal Melbourne Wine Awards provide some of Australia’s most sought after trophies and recognition for Australian wine makers.
“In these challenging times, it is not possible to confidently ensure we could uphold the integrity of the Awards to the standard expected by the wine community and so the decision to cancel is regrettable, but understandable.”
With no RMWA to be held in 2020, Jenkins acknowledged the disappointment for the wine community, but remained excited about the Awards returning in 2021.
“The Royal Melbourne Wine Awards are Australia’s most prestigious wine awards that have recognised and rewarded the best in Australian wine production since 1884,” he said.
“This is the first year that the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy will not be awarded since it was established in 1962.
“These are unprecedented times and the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria is extremely disappointed that due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria that RMWA cannot be judged this year but we look forward to a bigger and better award program in 2021.”