The Society was founded in 1822 to improve the practice of agriculture in the Colony and confer suitable rewards and marks of distinction to persons excelling in different branches of agriculture. The society promoted the development of new crops, imported seeds, plants and textbooks to encourage these industries. Following is a quote from the Society’s original 1822 prospectus:
No body of men can more effectually assist us than the Merchants and their Captains, by bringing us from foreign countries what is adapted to our climate. Vessels, touching in the winter months at the Madeira, or the Cape, and other countries noted for their wine, their figs, or their olives, might bring what, in a few years hence, may constitute the grand sources of the wealth of this Colony. The foundation of a fine vineyard, for instance, may be brought in cuttings of the vine from the Madeiras, the Canaries, or the Cape, in a rejected empty water cask.
This early society lapsed in 1836. When the Society reformed in 1857 it quickly renewed its interest in the wine industry. In 1868 The Scientific Committee was established. It studied wine diseases, imported scientific literature on wine, articles were published in the Society's Annual and the most up-to-date information circulated to members. In 1869 a case of books arrived from Paris which included all the books published in France up to December 1868 on diseases of the vine. The Society drew up the ‘Vine Disease Prevention Bill’ and arranged for it to be submitted to Parliament and supported it with a petition signed by upwards of 800 vignerons. In the 1800s the Society filled a similar roll to the Department of Agriculture, advising wine makers and promoting improvements in wine making.
The wine competitions are one of the oldest Show competitions; however it is uncertain as to which Exhibition held the first Competition. In some years the wine section also contained classes for other types of alcohol. For example, in 1911 it contained a sub-section for ‘spirits, beers, etc’. In 1964 there were also classes for brandy, whisky, rum, gin, vodka, liqueurs and cider!
The Wine Kiosk (Moore Park Showground)
Until it opened wines were displayed in the annexe to the Main Pavilion on the eastern side of the grounds. The Central Australian Wine Association (now known as the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation) took up the matter with the RAS and suggested a new building be erected.
In 1901 the Society commenced construction of the Wine Kiosk, the foundation was laid by the Hon J Kidd, Minister for Mines & Agriculture. Papers, wine and coins were placed under the memorial cornerstone, which was officially put in place by the Minister.
In 1995 the corner stone was removed and the objects retrieved. Unfortunately, when the corner hollow was bricked in care was not taken with the cement and the objects were damaged. The Heritage Centre had the items conserved so that a record could be kept.
The Kiosk was opened in 1902 and refurbished in 1936. It was located on Park Road, between Burgundy Street and Claret Street on the south-western side of the grounds.
|1822||The Society was formed|
|1826||The third anniversary address to the Society by the president notes that a medal was awarded to Gregory Blaxland for the best sample of Australian wine.|
|1836||Demise of the Society|
|1857||Reformation of the Society|
|1858||First minute book of the society contains a schedule for the 1858 Show, which includes a wine section. However, there were no prizes awarded. Therefore there must have been no entries, or no entries of sufficient merit.|
|1860||Wine was shown|
|1863-1864||No wine shown due to drought|
|1865||Wine was shown|
|1869||The oldest catalogue held by the Heritage Centre contains a well-established wine section. All subsequent Shows held (to present) contained a wine section.|
|1951||The Wine Section’s longest running perpetual trophy, The McCarthy Shield Perpetual Trophy, is first awarded|
|2005||With the introduction of The Liquor Merchants Association of Australia Perennial Trophy, the Wine Section now awards 27 perpetual trophies.|
|2007||Almost 300 exhibitors compete in 60 classes|
Register for competition updates with the Coordinator below:
Wine, Dairy & Fine Food
Phone 02 9704 1218