UPDATE: THERE was no rest for the man whose nebbiolo won the top award at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show.No sooner had Stephen Pannell collected the trophies for best in show, best red wine and the inaugural trophy for best nebbiolo, than he was off to Canberra.
There he spent four days as chairman of judges, along with 20 other judges and associates, assessing the 1387 entries in this year's National Wine Show of Australia.
Mr Pannell said his wines had had a good run at shows during the past month.
''I think we've won eight trophies, so we've been very successful,'' he said.
''The most successful has been the 2010 grenache, which won two trophies in McLaren Vale and one in the Melbourne Wine Show, and we got a gold medal with a good shiraz as well.''
But it's the SC Pannell 2008 Nebbiolo that had the judges talking at Mildura.
After winning a gold medal last year, it won three trophies at this year's 14th annual wine show, which began as the Sangiovese Awards in 1999 and was renamed in 2001.
''Nebbiolo is always better when it's five-odd years old,'' Mr Pannell said.
''It's a plan of mine to release them when you can drink them well and they just need that bit of (extra) time.''
The 2008 release is a blend of five different clones from Gumeracha vineyards in the Adelaide Hills that are converting to biodynamic practices.
Mr Pannell and his wife, Fiona, started their S.C. Pannell label in 2004 with no vineyards and no winery.
But Mr Pannell boasted experience in spades as a former chief red wine maker for BRL Hardy, Red Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine Challenge in London, Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy winner at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show and twice winner of the Max Schubert Trophy at the Adelaide Wine Show.
Their 2007 vintage nebbiolo won the top gong at the AAVWS in 2009.
Mr Pannell said there was a vast difference between working for a large winemaker and having his own label.
''I can be myopically focussed on making a style of wine that I like to drink,'' he said.
''You listen to the vineyard and you make the wine as a response to the vineyard and with new varieties there's a degree of experimentation and ongoing learning.
''I was very pessimistic about first making nebbiolo that people would want, it's such a weakly coloured wine, so it's very gratifying to see it go well.
''Alternative wines are important for me because I like that complexity and strength of tannin and it's a variety that's not heavy, but it's got intensity and power of flavour and aromatics. Nebbiolo is a very cerebral wine . . . one that you grow to love.''
Mr Pannell said it was pleasing that people had become more willing to try a range of wines and he congratulated the AAVWS committee for ''doing a wonderful job to expose people to alternative varieties''.
The show might have started off as a ''boys' club'', founded as it was by Stefano de Pieri, Bruce Chalmers and the late Dr Rod Bonfiglioli.
But as well as Jane Faulkner as new chief judge, it now boasts a chairwoman, Yalumba chief winemaker Louisa Rose, and Kim Chalmers, of Chalmers Wines, as secretary.
The winners of the 26 prestigious National Wine Show of Australia trophies, including The Len Evans Memorial Trophy for Best Table Wine of the Show, will be announced at a presentation dinner at Parliament House, Canberra, next Thursday night.
Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show trophy winners:
The Dr Rod Bonfiglioli best wine of the show: 2008 S. C. Pannell Nebbiolo
Best red wine: 2008 S. C. Pannell Nebbiolo
Best white wine: 2012 Saltram Winemakers Fiano
Best Italian red varietal: 2012 Cirami Estate Lagrein
Best Italian white varietal: 2012 Saltram Winemakers Fiano
Best nebbiolo: 2008 S. C. Pannell Nebbiolo
Best rose: 2012 Scott Winemaking La Prova Aglianico Rosato
Chairwoman's wines to watch: 2012 Quealy 'Turbul' Friulano; 2012 Chalmers Lambrusco
Best blend: 2011 Rosemount Nursery Project GMG (graciano-mataro-grenache)
Best commercial volume: 2011 Tahbilk Marsanne
Best Spanish varietal: 2011 Rosemount Nursery Project GMG (graciano-mataro-grenache)
Best Murray-Darling region wine: 2008 Trentham Estate Noble Taminga
Stewards choice award: 2010 Mount Majura Vineyard Graciano
Best organic wine: 2012 Bassham Lagrein
- Full results are available at aavws.com