Controversial Hunter winery gonged

20 August, 2012 by

By James Atkinson

Despite being kicked out of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association (HVWIA) late last year, the region's most divisive wine producer, AGL Energy, won a gold medal at the Hunter Valley Wine Show.

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AGL entered the wine game in 2009 with the acquisition of the Spring Mountain vineyard near Broke, where it has also drilled exploration wells for coal seam gas.

The energy company's Spring Mountain Wines label last week picked up a gold medal for its 2012 Semillon.

Hunter Valley Wine Show chairman of judges Jim Chatto told TheShout the awards are judged blind and do not discriminate on who the producer is.

"If you're an exhibitor, and you pay your money and put your wine in, you deserve to have it benchmarked and assessed fairly like anyone else," he said.

HVWIA president Andrew Margan confirmed AGL was last year ejected from the association, but said the awards are separately organised and there is no barrier to the company entering.

AGL has previously defended its exploration of the Hunter region, which it argues has met all the required environmental assessments and approvals.

A full list of winners is available on the Hunter Valley Wine Show website