Wine experts have been busy tasting away at Maitland Showground this week for the 2019 Hunter Valley Boutique Winemakers Show.
The judging took place on Monday and Tuesday before a presentation dinner at the showground's McDonald Pavilion that will be held on Thursday night.
Chairman Neil McGuigan said there were 344 entries this year - up 10 per cent from last year, which he credited to strong vintages in the past three years.
We're going to have a very high strike rate with a number of medals awarded.Neil McGuigan
"The wines are looking particularly good," he said. "We're going to have a very high strike rate with a number of medals awarded.
"I think the exhibitors will be very happy."
The judging is all completed blind for impartiality, but none of the judges had any wines in the show this year.
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The judges work in panels of three where they evaluate their scores.
Gold medals are awarded to wines that score 96/100 or more, 90-95 scores receive a silver and bronze is given to wines scored between 85 and 89.
Led by Mr McGuigan, the judges included David Lowe, Mark Richardson, Adrian Sparks, Andrew Duff, Brendan Kaczorowski and associate judges Jane Hoppe and Shannon Burgess.
Despite the show being just for smaller producers in the Hunter - who produce 350 tonnes or less - Mr McGuigan said the wines were judged as hard as national shows.
He said the Hunter's best known varieties, semillon and shiraz, had performed well but that many other varieties had shined as well.
"We had 14 rosé entries and two have won gold medals," he said, also praising riesling, viognier, vermentino and verdelho entries.
"We've had some new and exciting varieties."
As well as the medal recipients, some special trophies will also be awarded at Thursday night's dinner.
The Karl Stockhausen independently judged Classic Hunter White Trophy, and the Ray Healey independently judged Classic Hunter Red will be announced and along with a new trophy - the Hunter Valley Boutique Winemaker of the Year award.
The boutique wine show was launched 31 years ago by Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Association members Tom Morgan and Lyndon McLeod and has become a most respected event.
The show started with just 11 wineries and today includes 48 local vineyards.