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A taste for great wine runs in the family

Media release

Simon Hanley has just tried several dozens of bottles of wine, and he’s planning on doing it all again later this month.

The son of a well-known wine judge and wine production lecturer at Curtin University of Technology, Mr Hanley knows his wines and he is in high demand at major wine shows across the country.

“Besides being great fun, wine shows are important for the local industry,” he said.

Mr Hanley, who began judging wines 15 years ago, believes WA wines have improved during this time.

“The shows provide the chance to benchmark local wines against each other and products from all around the country, allowing them to work on their strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

Judging wines has become something of a tradition for the Hanley family. Simon’s father, John Hanley, has been a judge and chairperson for a variety of shows for over 30 years.

“As far back as I can remember, Dad has been judging,” Mr Hanley said.

“He helped set up some of the local shows, which has really assisted the industry and I’m following in his footsteps.”

Mr Hanley said Curtin’s Margaret River Campus played a major role in the local industry.

“What we are doing is training the next generation of wine makers, as well as researching new techniques and materials to improve the wines produced in WA,” he said.

“This is done in conjunction with the wine industry, which has been incredibly supportive.

“They help train our students by providing fruit and other materials, such as oak, which is needed to make contemporary wine styles, and also offer work experience opportunities.”

Just back from the Sheraton WA Wine Awards, Mr Hanley’s next judging commitment will be at the Swan Valley Wine Show on the 17 September and then the Blackwood Valley Boutique Wine Show, on 15 and 16 October.

He will also be a guest judge at the 10th Anniversary Alternative Varieties Wine Show in Mildura during November.