Student wine makers shine

Published 5:00am 21 December 2023

Student wine makers shine
Words by Nadia Chapman

A group of Tullawong State High School vintners has brought home a top gong after impressing judges with a sophisticated drop.

The students have been learning the art of wine making as part of their studies for a Certificate III in Laboratory Skills, with wine testing being one of the units the students need to complete.

Tullawong head of science Llawella Bidmead says the students first learned about wine testing before beginning their journey into making the winning wine, which claimed the Champion Fermented Beverage award at this year’s EKKA.

“Prior to making the fruit wine, students learned wine analysis testing,” Llawella explains.

“Testing wine is vital to attain a quality product. Students learned how to test for Brix, Baume, titratable acidity, pH, alcohol and sulphur dioxide.

“The winning Cabernet was produced by a previous cohort with the grapes sourced from Stanthorpe. A bin of grapes was processed at the school by students using the school’s winery equipment.”

Llawella says the wine was pressed using the school’s basket press, separating the skins and the wine, before being stored in a stainless-steel vat.

“(It) was then aged in an American Oak barrel for nine months before being filtered, bottled, and aged in Tullawong State High school’s winery.”

The group of Year 11 and 12 students and their teacher, Bradley Maguire, entered the Agricultural Sciences and Student Fermented Beverages Competition at the EKKA impressing chief judge Russell Smith with its “excellent quality”.

“The winning wine had some gorgeous complex flavours, so it was really quite a sophisticated wine that I would not expect to come from a school,” Russell says.

The competition is a hands-on and fun way to educate students about the importance of agriculture and help them learn the essence of producing quality products.

The competition classes include student wines and other non-wine beverages, such as cider, ginger beer, honey mead, kombucha and kefir.

Although there are limited opportunities in the wine testing field within Moreton Bay, Llawella says the success at the EKKA has inspired the students to keep learning.

“This competition is a pathway option that some students may pursue further down the track. Some students are going to use their new wine knowledge and apply it in areas of hospitality,” Llawella says.

“All students were very happy with their fantastic results and their teacher and school leaders are extremely proud of their efforts and achievement.”

See the photos below (click through)

Photos by Dominika Lis

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