Team Forbes wins BOF 2014:

9 December 2014

The 2014 edition of WINE: BAPTISM OF FIRE was won by Team Forbes, Jacqueline Turner and Meg Power (aka, the Bellota bar girls), with the guidance of mentor Mac Forbes.

Their winning wine, named “Lobby Lunch Wine”, a syrah which the team hand picked at Thousand Candles vineyard in the Yarra Valley, and then according to their back label, “Destemmed with Aretha Franklin,” and, “Stomped with Tchaikovsky.”

The team paired with Ortolan to bring their label to life. Commenting on their design studio’s involvement, Chloe Quigley from Ortolan said, “Working with Meg and Jacqs has been an absolute joy. It was love at first meeting. We got a really good sense of what they are like and felt we captured them, Lobby, and the wine with the label art. We really enjoyed the process, especially because of the girls' gorgeous personalities.”

Being a competition to test first-timers with the true winemaker experience, participants had to not only make, but also successfully launch, their wine. The concept, packaging, and market demand were as important to the ultimate result as the wine itself, and so the judges had to consider all these aspects in determining the winner.

The judges, Rory Kent, Meg Brodtman (Master of Wine) and Peter Nixon (fine wine manager for Australia’s largest retailer, Dan Murphy’s) announced the winner.

Nixon was impressed with the result of all six teams of finalists, “Most of the teams nailed ‘the brief’. The experience and perspective they have from their respective fields was clearly exhibited in the way they made and released their wines. There were no weak links amongst them. Whilst Lobby Lunch Wine was the most convincing, there were some really exciting wines, such as Team Lapalus’ natural rosé ‘Ceci n'est pas un vin naturel’ (This is not a natural wine). All of the wines were good food wines - I’d happily drink any of them on a list.”

Considering the market response to the wines, Kent noted, “Five of the six teams sold out. Sheridan and Chris of Team Harrop generated more publicity than any of the other teams. Jess and Wiremu of Team Fagan scored the most number of listings. Team Forbes had the best result at pre-release consumer auction, and sold out of their wine upon release, with venues such as Pei Modern, Gertrude Street Enoteca, Northern Lights, Belle’s Hot Chicken and Bellota listing their wine.”

Brodtman was taken with the Team Forbes’ light style of syrah and noted, “They had a clear vision, or ‘mission statement’, and delivered upon it. Lobby Lunch Wine is a real ladies summertime lunch red, with a light and fun character in the glass, packaged with a fun and feminine illustration by Ortolan Design.”

Turner commented on ‘the win’, “We already felt like winners just to be one of the teams participating in the competition, which was such a fun experience. We were really proud of our wine and then to be named the winner by the judges is such an honour.”

Power continued, “We knew what wine we wanted to make from the outset, and then to hear the judges confirm they saw us deliver in glass the wine we intended it to be, is such an exciting thrill – it’s almost surreal.”

The winning team’s mentor, Forbes summed up his take on the value of the exercise, “As a winemaker, what I love is that the competition strips winemaking down to the basics. It’s hands-on winemaking. It’s great to see wine professionals such as Meg and Jacqs engage in this side of the wine for the first time. The Baptism of Fire allows people to experience this side of the fence and get excited about winemaking.”

2014, The competition

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