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King Valley wine region includes Whitlands vines

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Breakaway wine group loses bid

THE Australian Appeals Tribunal has knocked back a bid from several King Valley vignerons to create their own region.

Federal Court judge Garry Downes handed down the 41-page decision on Wednesday after more than four months’ deliberation.

It concluded that “the preferable decision is that there should be one region …. it will be called the King Valley”.

His summation also slammed one of the expert witnesses called to support the breakaway group.

Four grape growers near Whitlands wanted to secede from the King Valley winery district, which includes about 75 vignerons.

Their proposal included another seven grape growers and three vineyards under the Whitlands High Plateaus region umbrella.

King Valley vignerons president David Maples said it was premature to be celebrating the decision.

“We are happy that the judge found in our favour but our legal team is still looking at what it all means,” he said.

But Justice Downes in his summary found it difficult to see any significant reasons to differentiate the regions.

“To my mind the valley, its sides, ridges, plateaus and foothills are part of the geographical whole,” Justice Downes said.

“The argument was a division between the valleys and ridges. I cannot agree.

“Obviously the higher land is slightly higher, slightly cooler.”

Justice Downes said one of the experts retained by the Whitlands plateaus group damaged its case.

He said figures used to prove temperature differences between the plateau and valley floor were neither consistent nor convincing.

“School level geography confirms temperatures in the lower valley are higher than the plateaus,” he said.

The judge will present his findings to both parties before making a final decision.

The King Valley region encompasses the watershed of the King River.

The King River joins the Ovens River at Wangaratta and the King Valley runs south through the Oxley Plains for 25km to Moyhu, before entering several narrow valleys in the alps’ foothills.

At its northern end is Milawa, which is at the lowest point of 155m.

At the southern end is the Whitlands plateau, at 800m.

© 2006 The Border Morning Mail Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. Original article here

Written by Greg Naylor

8 September 2006 at 7:13 pm

Posted in media release

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