Battle of the vines

Host Frank Moylan and winemaker Llew Knight on location at Granite Hills.
Host Frank Moylan and winemaker Llew Knight on location at Granite Hills.

Several Macedon Ranges locals are set to feature in an innovative Australian-developed lifestyle TV series that is about to shake up the staid world of wine on television.
Welcome to Battle of the Vines where there is only one question – “Who makes the best wine?”
The six-part series is ‘State of Origin’ style across leading popular varietals (sparkling chardonnay, pinot noir etc.) and hosted by a charismatic young Frenchman, Arthur Robert, who competes against the dynamic Liinaa Berry and the big man tapping into what the punters want, Frank Moylan.
Frank is a Macedon Ranges local who describes himself as a “retired publican and pioneer of the gastro pub movement”.
These three “worshippers of the vine” pick wines at three different price points from all Aussie states.
So who are the judges? The ‘mixed dozen’ are everyday people and the wine experts from across Australia. Each state has 12 votes on any competition they participate in – but as the tasting is 100 per cent blind they have no idea if they are choosing their local hero wine or one from an opposing state.
Imagine the drama when a South Australian selects a Victorian shiraz or someone from NSW supports a Queenslander over a Hunter Valley option? Wine snobs are tested, beginner drinkers inspire us with incredible insights and imagine the excitement when Joan, an 83-year-old nursing home resident, is the only person to correctly identify merlot in the series finale!
The team crisscrossed the major wine-growing regions, visited all capital cities and crossed the Nullarbor twice.
Renowned Granite Hills winemaker Llew Knight is featured in ‘Great Whites’ (episode 5 to air July 3).
Llew’s premium riesling Tor goes competes in the ultra premium category against a riesling from Paulette from the Clare Valley.
Producer and director Ross Close, also a local, says in his opinion Llew has been the leading winemaker of the region and has not received the national recognition he’s deserved.
“People are starting to understand that the aromatic whites are something the Macedon Ranges does very well,” Ross says.
“And it’s also South Australia versus Victoria, who doesn’t love that!”
Two of the ‘mixed dozen’ judges are also locals – Carolina Cordeiro from Small Holdings in Malmsbury and Simone Blamey, a yoga teacher and mother of two from Lauriston.
All the wines in competition are available exclusively from Wine Selectors – allowing the viewers at home to taste and judge at home to see if they agree with Arthur, Liinaa or Frank.
The series premieres on Food Network Australia from June 12.
All episodes are available on SBS OnDemand four hours after the premiere screening on Food Network.