Its Been a Great Vintage!

Posted 6 December 2016 10:00am

6 December 2016


It’s been a great vintage!

Ken Helm stands down as Chairman of Canberra International Riesling Challenge after 16 years


After 16 years the founding Chairman of the Canberra International Riesling Challenge (CIRC), Ken Helm AM has stepped down from the role having led and developed the Challenge since its inception. Ken will remain on the CIRC Board, ensuring that his extensive knowledge of the event and the wine industry is not lost to the Challenge. 


“The CIRC is now bigger than one person and is internationally recognised as a major promotion of Riesling and Canberra,” Mr Helm said. “I have made this difficult decision due to increasing demands from the Helm Wine business and family responsibilities which make it difficult to devote the time necessary to be the Chairman of the CIRC.”


“The Challenge is in a very good position, it has a professional and dedicated full-time Secretariat, a supportive Board, a strong group of sponsors including the ACT Government and the support of international wine industry,” he said. “In addition, we have just conducted one of the most successful Challenges in our 16 years, with near record entries and significant support from our judges, wineries and consumers.”


Ken thanked the original sponsors of the Challenge, the Wolf Blass Foundation, Jim Murphy Market Cellars, ActewAGL, Hyatt Hotel Canberra, QANTAS, and the ACT Government noting that many of these are still taking an active role with the Challenge and have been joined by many others over the years. He also acknowledged the initial group of people who supported the CIRC concept and the current Board members for their commitment and guidance which has been instrumental in the success of the Challenge to date. This has been underpinned by the support of the various ACT Government Chief Ministers - Kate Carnell, Jon Stanhope, Katie Gallagher and Andrew Barr – who have generously agreed to be the Patron of the Challenge.


“My time as Chairman has been very satisfying and rewarding in many ways. It has allowed me to develop close relationships with many members of the diplomatic community in Canberra, wine organisations and friends in the Australian and International wine industries, who have been crucial in sourcing judges and bringing the entries to the CIRC”, he said. “I have been fortunate enough to be able to develop an idea into an international event which promotes excellence in Riesling, Canberra and the Canberra Wine Industry. I am looking forward to continuing to support the CIRC as a Board member.”


Local businessman James Service, a founding member of the Challenge, has been elected to replace Ken as Chairman. Mr Service paid tribute to the outgoing Chairman saying “Ken Helm’s vision, passion and commitment has seen the Challenge cement itself as an international event showcasing not only the Canberra district wines but also the whole city and region and its collective capacity to create and maintain world class events which bring significant and lasting benefits.”



MEDIA INQUIRIES:     James Service, CIRC Chairman       02 62577766

                                      Ken Helm AM                                     0418 619 186

                                      CIRC Secretariat                                0419 995 724 / 02 6286 7515

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