Tasmanian Beer Trail leads tourists to brewers

The Tasmanian government has invested $250,000 in the Tasmanian Beer Tourism Plan, along with $100,000 from the Brewers Association, to promote and grow the industry.

The Tasmanian Beer Trail website, launched Thursday (25 June), is a guide to local breweries, tours, tastings, festivals, events and sales.

The website aims to capitalise on the emerging tourism niche, which attracted more than 125,000 travellers in the year to March according to the latest Tasmanian Visitor Survey.

The Brewers Association has congratulated the Tasmanian Government on the launch.

“It is fantastic to see the implementation of the Tasmanian Government’s plan to boost the tourism potential of the Tasmanian beer industry”, said Denita Wawn, CEO of the Brewers Association.

“The Brewers Association is looking forward to working with everyone in the Tasmanian beer industry to showcase beer and brewing and to highlight the Tasmanian beer tourism experience through the Beer Trail and expand our beer events”, she said.

“Tasmania holds a special place in the history of beer in Australia with Cascade Brewery in Hobart, established in 1832, being the oldest brewery in the country. There is also the James Boag’s brewery which was established in Launceston in 1881 and many other craft breweries.”


Research helps winemakers find descriptions easily understood by Chinese wine consumers

New research will help wine producers and distributors to describe their product more effectively using terms more easily understood by Chinese wine consumers.

The Chinese Lexicon Project – a two year long research initiative by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia funded by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) – has revealed what terms Chinese consumers use when describing a wine and what Asian fruit and vegetable flavours are equivalent to the Western ones used to describe wine.

“Describing a wine as tasting of blueberry is hard to understand if you have never seen or tasted a blueberry”

The project, led by Dr Armando Corsi, Dr Justin Cohen and Prof Larry Lockshin, involved more than 250 Chinese wine consumers from Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

The participants described the taste of a selection of Australian white, red, sparkling and dessert wines.

Participants selected a series of generic wine descriptors as well as choosing from a list of specific fruit and vegetable flavours. These flavours were either Western fruit and vegetables or proposed Chinese equivalents.

The research found that generic wine descriptors, such as “mellow”, “lingering” or “fruity” were three times more likely to be used than specific wine descriptors by Chinese wine consumers.

Dr Corsi says that wine has been predominantly described in China using Western terminology but such descriptors lack meaning if the consumer has little or no experience of tasting that particular fruit, vegetable or spice.  

“Describing a wine as tasting of blueberry is hard to understand if you have never seen or tasted a blueberry,” Dr Corsi says.

“What this research has provided is evidence of what specific Chinese fruit and vegetable flavours are equivalent to the Western descriptors currently used on wines in China.

“We can now say that the equivalent to blackberry preserve is dried Chinese hawthorns.”

The project also investigated the likeability, willingness to pay and perceived price points of different wine styles.

The research showed that what is perceived to be more expensive is not necessarily what is liked the most.

“There is also the potential for similar research to be undertaken in other countries to determine what cultural descriptors they would use to describe the taste of different wines.”


Wolf Blass named International Winery of the Year

Wolf Blass has been named International Winery of the Year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

Wolf Blass is the first Australian winery to win this award in over 15 years and only the second Australian winery in history.

The Winery of the Year award recognizes the single winery earning the most points, measured by the number and level of awards won.

Now in its 35th year, the San Francisco International Wine Competition is the largest International wine competition in America.

Wolf Blass was also named Australian Winery of the Year and received two double gold medals, seven gold medals and Wolf Blass Grey Label Cabernet Shiraz 2012 was named ‘Best Cabernet Shiraz of Show.

Wolf Blass Chief Winemaker, Chris Hatcher said “being named International Winery of the Year in the world’s largest wine market is exciting and is particularly pleasing given this is only the second time an Australian winery has won the award in 35 years of competition.

“Grey Label was the first Wolf Blass wine ever made and today still reflects the original winemaking philosophy – to create wines of great quality, character and consistency. Receiving ‘Best Cabernet Shiraz of Show’ for our Grey Label Cabernet Shiraz 2012 further highlights the consistent quality and approachability that Wolf Blass Grey Label is renowned for.

“At Wolf Blass, we pride ourselves on being a world class winery and creating award winning wines that are enjoyed across the world” he said.


New wine industry software to improve efficiency

A team of students have developed a software system that could save the food and wine industry millions of dollars a year.

A team of University of Adelaide students have developed a software system that could save the wine industry millions of dollars a year – and their work could also be applied to global food production.

The team, called Seer Insights, has developed the GrapeBrain software system, which they hope will improve the efficiency of production in viticulture.

The system captures a greater and more reliable volume of information about grapegrowing and winemaking processes, enabling those in industry to more accurately assess annual yield levels and the resources needed.

“Not being able to accurately predict the grape yield from one year to the next is a major and extremely costly issue for the wine industry,” said Seer Insights team member Harry Lucas, 20, who is studying Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Adelaide. The other members are Petros Bakopoulos, 21, a Mechanical Engineering and Finance student, and Liam Ellul, 23, who is studying for a double degree in Commerce (Marketing) and Law.

“At the moment we’re working with the wine industry and applying this technology to both growers’ and winemakers’ operations. It could potentially save the industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” Lucas said.

“There is also the potential for our system to be expanded into other industries. It’s the kind of technology that could improve global food production, helping to feed the world.”

The system won the Tech eChallenge competition run by the University of Adelaide’s Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC) and School of Computer Science in conjunction with Microsoft.

As the inaugural winner of the Tech eChallenge, Seer Insights will receive prizes valued at more than $20,000, including a trip for all three team members to Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle, USA. The trip will provide a unique opportunity for the team to pitch its technology to Microsoft executives.

“Seer Insights is to be congratulated for their innovative software project, which is highly relevant to the needs of industry,” says the Director of ECIC, Professor Noel Lindsay.

“The inaugural year of the Tech eChallenge has already proven to be a great success, with a staggering 65 teams entering the first round of the competition. We are pleased to be partnering with Microsoft to foster new technology ideas and new talent, such as in the case of Seer Insights,” Professor Lindsay says.


Tooheys gets a new look and a new beer

The launch of the Tooheys Darling Pale Ale coincides with a refreshed new look to the entire Tooheys range.

The design celebrates the Tooheys heritage, featuring the Tooheys Brothers John and James Toohey, and reflects their established passion for quality in a fresh, modern way.

Tooheys Darling Pale Ale has been created in response to the rise in popularity of the pale ale style. It has been crafted with a non-challenging flavour to make it accessible to new pale ale drinkers.

The Tooheys Darling Pale Ale is named after the first Tooheys, ‘Darling Brewery’, which was located in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. The brewery was purchased in 1872 by John Thomas Toohey (an Irish immigrant) and James Matthew Toohey who moved to Sydney in the 1860s after running pubs in Melbourne to brew their first beer – Tooheys Black Old Ale.

Golden amber in appearance, Tooheys Darling Pale Ale delivers a fruity hop aroma and mild bitterness brought on by a unique blend of three hop varieties. Malted barley and wheat combine to provide balance and a delicate malt backbone.

Tooheys Brewery Director, Mark Toomey said: “Tooheys’ mission is to brew easy drinking beers for every taste. We know that our adult drinkers have an evolving palate, so we are committed to innovation and providing greater choice that suits more occasions, just like the Tooheys brothers did back in the 1870s.”

Tanya Marler, Brand Director said “in 2014 there was a massive 18.8 per cent growth by volume in pale ale. Our new offering shows that we are proud of our heritage, but also want to remain relevant for today’s modern beer drinker.

“We are very excited about the direction we are taking with Tooheys but we haven’t forgotten our inspired origin. All of our packaging now carries the signature of the Tooheys brothers, which will ensure their legacy lives on,” said Marler.


Australian wines win at Decanter World Wine Awards

A total of five Australian wines have claimed International Trophies at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards.

International trophies are the highest accolade that a wine can achieve at the Decanter World Wine Awards. This year’s event saw 35 International Trophies awarded from a total of 15,929 wines tasted at the beginning of the judging process.

The Australian International Trophies winners:

  • Tasmania’s Bay of Fires 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was awarded the Gold International Trophy: Sauvignon Blanc over £15.
  • Clare Valley’s Leasingham 2009 Classic Clare Riesling was awarded the Gold International Trophy: Dry Riesling over £15.
  • Adelaide Hills’ Longview Epitome Late Harvest Riesling 2013 was awarded the Gold International Trophy: Sweet under £15.
  • McWilliam’s 2008, 1877 Cross-Regional Blend claimed the International Trophy: Red Blend over £15.
  • And Sidewood’s 2013 Mappinga Reserve Shiraz won the International Trophy: Red Rhône Varietals over £15.

The awards were judged by 240 of the world’s most refined palates including 85 Masters of Wine and 23 Master Sommeliers.

For the full results list, click here.


Coopers to brew and distribute Brooklyn Lager

Coopers Brewery is set to brew and distribute one of America’s leading craft beers, Brooklyn Lager.

Coopers and New York-based Brooklyn Brewery, have reached an in principle agreement for Coopers to brew and keg Brooklyn Lager at its Regency Park facility and distribute the beer in keg, bottle and can formats across Australia and New Zealand.

Distribution would be undertaken by Coopers’ distribution company, Premium Beverages.

Tim Cooper, Coopers’ Managing Director, said final contracts had not yet been signed, but both parties were working towards an agreement coming into effect from 1 August.

“Brooklyn Brewery is regarded as one of the leaders of the American craft brewing movement,” Cooper said.

“Its flagship beer, Brooklyn Lager, is a high quality, all-malt beer which would fit well into the Coopers portfolio.

“While Brooklyn Lager has previously been sold in Australia, its distribution has been patchy. This agreement will overcome those problems and we believe the beer will quickly establish itself in the Australian market.

“Premium Beverages will also import and distribute other variants in the outstanding Brooklyn range as part of the agreement.”

Cooper said he and Coopers Sales and Marketing Director, Cam Pearce would be visiting Brooklyn next week to finalise arrangements.

Brooklyn Brewery was established in 1988 by former Associated Press Middle East Correspondent, Steve Hindy and banker Tom Potter.

Today, the brewery is ranked as the eleventh largest craft brewery in America and exports to 29 countries around the world.

Cooper said Premium Beverages had been looking for an American craft beer to help round out its international portfolio, which includes Carlsberg, Sapporo, Kronenbourg 1664, Kronenbourg Blanc and Mythos.

“Brooklyn Brewing is highly regarded for the quality of beer it produces and will help strengthen this portfolio,” he said.

Coopers currently contract brews Carlsberg and Sapporo at its Regency Park Brewery.


Behind the scenes with ALDI Liquor: Q&A

ALDI Australia's Buying Director, Jason Bowyer, had a chat with Food Magazine to discuss how ALDI sources its wine, what they look for in a supplier and its growth into online liquor.

How do you go about sourcing wines for ALDI?

We partner with a number of high calibre Australian and international suppliers who share our passion for quality and help cater to our expanding range of products. We are committed to tasting and sampling every product that is presented to us, as often that is how you discover the hidden gems. 

We constantly benchmark our products against the market to ensure we are reflecting market trends and meeting or exceeding the quality of the market leading brands.

As a buyer for ALDI, what do you look for in a wine?

We are consistently looking at market trends and innovations to ensure our products are in line with consumer demand and preference, and we are committed to ensuring that our wine products offer high value at their respective price points. As our results in past International and National Wine Shows have demonstrated, affordably priced wine can perform well above the expectation a customer may have, sometimes proving more popular than a much more expensive option. 

Our product range is planned well in advance of key events throughout the year. For winter in 2015, we introduced the following new wines: Neve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013, unbelievable Pinot Noir value; Qiwila Maule Valley Merlot 2013 from Chile and Peidra Negra Reserve Malbec 2012, both seriously great value reds from South America; and a Taylors Special Release Clare Valley Shiraz 2013. The Taylors wine was specifically blended and produced for ALDI.

How are you able to source high quality wines but keep them at reasonably low price points?

Firstly, we have strong partnerships with high quality Australian and international award winning wineries. Our wines are made to our specifications, and quality isn’t something that we compromise on. Overall, we are committed to tasting and sampling every wine product that is presented to us, which is often how we are able to discover the hidden gems. Our product specifications are benchmarked against market leading wine brands, and we pride ourselves on delivering high standards in line with our customers’ tastes. A $10 wine at ALDI should drink like a $20 – $25 wine from elsewhere, and we are constantly trying to deliver on this formula.

We do not compromise on quality and make it our mission every day to consistently improve the value offering. Our everyday low price model means that price promotions are not something we generally use; instead we will always strive to offer customers the best quality products at a great everyday price.

In terms of surplus and distressed stock, we do try to assist suppliers here, however the wine must be great value and something that represents equally great value to our customer.

Does ALDI own any vineyards?

No, ALDI does not own any vineyards, however we work with closely with our wineries and partner with them for the long term. This often involves the contracting of high quality vineyards and sites to ensure the highest standards are achieved.

Are there any particular varietals that you are finding particularly popular within the Australian market aside from the typical Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz?

ALDI’s customers’ tastes are steadily evolving when it comes to wine. The sweet spot has increased to a higher price point than when the business first launched liquor. 

A couple of wines to look out for are our the Corte Carista Prosecco DOC ($9.99) from northern Italy, the Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2013 ($7.99), a crisp white with strong gooseberry and passionfruit flavours  from the home of Sauvignon Blanc, and the Blackstone Paddock Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($19.99), a full-bodied red with plum, blackcurrant and truffle undertones.

One wine that stops others in their tracks, is the El Toro Macho Tempranillo 2013 ($4.99). It is great value and a wine style well suited to Australian palates. 

What are the plans for the future in terms of ALDI’s wine offering? Would ALDI ever consider opening a separate liquor store?

ALDI Liquor is dynamic and adapts to match the changing tastes and preferences of customers. Trends are important, as is the speed at which suppliers communicate their new innovations. We partner with a number of high calibre Australian and international suppliers who share our passion for quality and help cater to our expanding range of products. In 2015, you will see continuing growth in the online liquor side of the business, www.aldiliquor.com.au, which provides a convenient online store for Australian consumers. As wine is both heavy and fragile, the convenience of home delivery is often popular. 

Have you seen a notable uptake on sales since ALDI wines have won numerous awards international wine competitions in recent times?

Our sales have been growing strongly since our launch into NSW, however it is fair to say that award wins do influence sales performance and public perception regarding quality of wine. Interestingly, over and above this is the customers love for great value and quality, so sharing these wine finds is stimulating strong sales further. 


Craft beer festival attracts record numbers

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular has had with a record turnout of more than 22,500 people attending the Melbourne and Sydney festivals.
In just its first year in Sydney, more than 6,300 people attended the one-day event at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh and 16,200 attended the three-day festival in Melbourne, up from 12,000 the previous year. 
Co-founders of GABS, and owners of Local Taphouse venues in St Kilda and Darlinghurst, Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone, said the growth in just four years since they launched the first GABS at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, is nothing short of phenomenal.
“The response to GABS 2015 in Melbourne and Sydney has blown us away, with both events better attended and more successful than we could have hoped for. We feel it really confirms the increasing interest in craft beer, and the uniqueness of our event,” said Guy Greenstone.
The event showcases 120 brand new one-off Festival Beers brewed especially for GABS by the best brewers from around Australia and overseas, many with exotic ingredients and brewing processes.
One of those, a sweet stout called ‘Milk and Two Sugars’ which included cold-dripped coffee and vanilla beans, was the winner of this year’s ‘Beer & Brewer People’s Choice Best Festival Beer award’ – brewed by BrewCult in Melbourne’s Brunswick East.
In total there were more than 350 beers from 150 Australian and international breweries showcased.
Steve Jeffares said while the event certainly draws crowds because of that, it’s also the unique live entertainment, brewery stands, great food and educational sessions which are driving people in their thousands to attend.
“The most exciting thing is that the vast majority of people who attended GABS are new converts to flavoursome beer who will drive future growth of craft beer in Australia.”
Jeffares says they’re really hoping to bring the event back to Sydney again next year and will begin talks in the coming months to make this a reality.


2015’s Hunter Valley Legends winners announced

The winners of 2015’s Hunter Valley Legends were announced last night at a ceremony held at Brokenwood Wines, Pokolbin.

Designed to recognise the achievements of those that have made an exceptional contribution to the region's wine and tourism industry, the Legends series comprises the induction of the year’s Hunter Valley Legend along with winners in five other categories.

This year’s Legend title was awarded to Ken Bray, owner of Braemore vineyard, for his contribution to the Hunter Valley wine industry over the past 40 years.

“Ken Bray has been inducted as our newest Hunter Valley Legend for his enormous contribution to viticulture in the region spanning over 40 years,” said vice president of the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association (HVWTA), Andrew Margan.

“It’s terrific to see someone who still actively contributes to the region through their own vineyard management business, as well as through our Viticultural Sub-Committee being recognised in such light, and joining the long list of names which we salute.

“What stands out to me as this year’s highlight is the extremely high calibre of new blood that have excelled and taken out this year’s top awards.”

The 2015 Award Winners are:

2015 Hunter Valley Wine Industry Living Legend:                               

Ken Bray

The Living Legend award is bestowed to honour a Hunter Valley grape grower or winemaker who has been involved in the Hunter Valley Wine Industry in excess of 30 years and who has been in a position to influence the course of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry.

Widely regarded as the Hunter Valley’s leading viticulturist, Bray has been responsible for tending some of the region's most cherished vineyards for almost 40 years. 

Beginning at Wyndham Estate in the mid 1960s, Bray has worked in all facets of the industry for his entire career spanning winemaking, viticulture, packaging, distribution, sales and marketing.

2015 Winemaker of the Year sponsored by First Creek Winemaking Services      

Michael De Iuliis, De Iuliis Wines

This award is to recognise a Hunter Valley winemaker who has achieved success on the show circuit and has made major commitments to the promotion of not only their own wines but the Hunter Valley and its wines in general.

De Iuliis has been making wine using grapes grown on the De Iuliis family vineyard since 1999 and has gained a reputation for producing some of the best examples of truly expressive Hunter Valley wines.

Having been a Len Evans Tutorial Scholar; a Finalist for the Gourmet Traveller Wine Young Winemaker and Winemaker of the Year, as well as completing the Future Leaders Program, this award is recognition not only for Mike’s winemaking skills, but his tireless contribution to the Hunter Valley community.

2015 Rising Star of the Year sponsored by Riedel:              

Joint Winners:-

Troy and Megan Rhoades-Brown of Muse Restaurant & Muse Kitchen and

Gwyn Olsen, Winemaker, Briar Ridge

This award recognises the outstanding contribution of an industry person over the preceding 12 months, whether they are a young person just starting out, someone just recently involved in the Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Industries or whose star is ascending.

Troy and Megan Rhoades-Brown

In March 2009, Megan and Troy opened Muse Restaurant, with the aim of providing their ideal dining experience, focused on seasonal and regional food with exceptional service. 18 months after opening, the restaurant was awarded its first Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Chef’s Hat. In the same year the Restaurant and Catering Association awarded Muse the best regional restaurant in NSW and Contemporary Australian Restaurant Regional NSW.

Two years later, after continued success the pair opened a second restaurant, Muse Kitchen at Keith Tulloch Winery – which also picked up a Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Chef Hat in its first year. In 2014 Troy was awarded the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence 2014 Young Restaurateur of the Year.

Gwyn Olsen

Gwyn studied Oenology at Roseworthy University in Adelaide, graduating in 2005. Completing her first vintage in France, she then went on to do a further six in New Zealand, and three in the Hunter Valley.

In 2012 Gwyn was named DUX of the Australian Wine Research Institute, in the Advanced Wine Assessment Course. In doing so she has cemented her place as a rising star of the Australian wine industry.

Gwyn joined Briar Ridge as Chief Winemaker in 2013, and added General Manager to her title in July 2014. 2014 was an exceptional year for Gwyn – amongst other great achievements, she was awarded the prestigious Gourmet Traveller Wine's Young Winemaker of the Year title.

2015 Viticulturist of the Yearsponsored by Laffort

Andrew Margan, Margan Family Wines

This award is for an outstanding viticulturist involved in the management of Hunter Valley vineyards. The award recognises that any outstanding wine starts with good vineyard management resulting in quality grapes.

As well as two science degrees, Andrew had an hands-on apprenticeship with the late, great Murray Tyrrell during which he learnt the importance of the relationship between vineyard and the finished wine, which is exactly what Andrew has based his current grape growing philosophy on.

After 20 vintages at Tyrrell’s, and six years as a flying winemaker travelling between European and Australian vintages, in 1997 Andrew launched his own wine brand, Margan.

Andrew places immense importance on making wines in a style that suits the vineyards where the grapes are grown and making his own wines in his own winery, and placing his name on the bottle of unblended wine as a point of difference.

2015 Cellar Door of the Year, sponsored by CBA Local Business Banking:

Tyrrell’s Wines

This award is to recognise a cellar door with outstanding public relations, sales technique, presentation and attitude.

Catering to the budget of a wide range of Wine enthusiasts, Tyrrell’s Cellar Door offers a broad range in price from $13 per bottle to over $100 per bottle for the more discerning wine connoisseur.

With four separate Private Tasting Rooms, Tyrrell’s Cellar Door and Tasting Rooms are equipped to handle differing numbers of visitors – catering for both smaller specialist groups, and larger groups.

Local, friendly and knowledgeable staff are at the helm of the Cellar Door Tasting Room, with the core team possessing the combined industry experience of over 100 years in the Hunter Valley.

2015 Hunter Valley Award for Excellence

Melissa Romeyn

The Hunter Valley Award for Excellence is given to recognise a person who has made outstanding contribution to the Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Industries.

Melissa Romeyn has been a tireless employee of the various Associations that have been representing the Hunter Valley’s wine and tourism industries for many years. More than an employee of these Associations however, Melissa has gone beyond the call of duty to ensure that all the members of the Associations have been treated without fear or favour and has served the Hunter Valley wine industry with a duty of care that is admirable. The last 18 months of amalgamation of the wine and tourism associations have been particularly testing on everyone and Melissa has been the steady hand on the wheel at all times.


Talking Prämie with Schild Estate’s winemaker Scott Hazeldine

Hailing from the Southern Barossa, Schild Estate has welcomed the latest edition to its portfolio; the Prämie Limited Release 2013 Shiraz.

Translating to ‘premier’ in English, the name Prämie celebrates the German roots of the Schild family and uses fruit from specific parcels of land on the Schild property to create a premium, medium bodied shiraz.

Developed to be positioned between the winery’s Ben Schild Reserve Shiraz and its limited release Moorooroo, chief winemaker Scott Hazeldine says that what excited him most about developing Prämie was the level of freedom that he had in terms of picking the wine’s fruit.

“With the Ben Schild and the Moorooroo, those two wines are really tied to specific vineyards, so every year the fruit comes off two particular parcels of land, and they really reflect what has happened to those particular parcels in terms of seasonal conditions,” Hazeldine told Food Magazine.

“We’re lucky enough that the family has substantial vineyard holdings outside of Ben Schild and Moorooroo including a number of other individual parcels that are really quite impressive and worthy of showcasing on their own.”

Naturally, the quality of the fruit varies each year depending on vintage conditions, and Hazeldine says that the idea behind creating the Prämie was to collate specific parcels that the Schild team thought were worthy of showcasing outside of the Ben Schild and Moorooroo vines, and creating a new drop from there.

“The scope when we started was quite wide, than as went through the process, we narrowed it down,” he says.

“It’s really much more about feel and gut instinct once the fruit is in the door. We kind of know where the good parcels are but it’s more about which ones really captured us that season and got us excited. We have a bit of freedom in that if one parcel didn’t get us particularly excited, we wouldn’t make that wine. We’re not tied into the same vineyard every year which allows us to react a bit more to the season.”

Hazeldine says that the 2013 vintage marked an incredible year in terms of growing conditions in the Barossa – something that is reflected strongly in the Limited Release 2013 Prämie Shiraz. Hazeldine says that the combination of perfect weather, great vines and great soil has resulted in cracking wine that is characterised by a deep dark ruby colour that is bolstered by rich blackberry and fresh blood plum fruit aromas.

According to Hazeldine, the creation of Prämie has also allowed the winery to explore some different styles of Shiraz as well that are somewhat removed from the full bodied, opulent styles that the Barossa is famous for.

“We are right down the Southern end of the Barossa and traditionally, it’s the South that has given you those slightly lighter wines with fine tannins,” he says.

“Prämie comes from high up on the Eastern Hills of the Barossa, and we are trying to use a bit of elevation and some cooler air to get a wine that’s a little bit more structured, and not quite as open and voluptuous as some of our other Shiraz. It’s been really nice to be able to do that.”

“I think in the Barossa generally, wine makers are looking more towards that lighter kind of style with a bit more control, as opposed to 10 – 20 years ago when we were really trying to pack as much flavour as we could and in some shape or form, we probably overdid it a little bit.

“You’ve got a lot of winemakers between their mid-20 and early 40s who have spent a lot of time overseas drinking far and wide and bringing back a bit of knowledge of those styles, then adapting them to Barossa fruit and realising that we are packed full of flavour here already, so it’s just about trying to keep some control and finesse on the wines.”    

Prämie was officially unveiled at Sean's Kitchen in Adelaide on Monday 18 May which was followed by an intimate dinner at Foveaux Street dining in Sydney on Wednesday 20 May.


Australian grape and wine community’s Future Leaders revealed

Following a record number of entries, the 2015 Future Leaders program has singled out 15 individuals from the Australian grape and wine community to become the industry’s "next" thought leaders.

An initiative of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) in partnership with Wine and Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) and Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA), the program is designed to develop participants’ leadership capabilities and encourage innovation and thoughtful debate on the future of the sector.

AGWA Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the calibre of applicants was representative of the immense talent working in the Australian wine community.

“There are so many passionate and talented people working in the grape and wine sector, right along the value chain,” she said.

“Collaborating with WGGA and WFA, this leadership program fosters our up-and-coming talent, those individuals who will lead Australian wine in the future.”

WFA Chief Executive Paul Evans said that the program is about ensuring the next generation has the support and skills necessary to lead the way.

“There is a critical need for their innovation and fresh thinking in decision making,” said Evans.

The selection criteria helped uncover applicants with open, creative, inquisitive minds; leadership potential and demonstrated commitment to the success of the Australian wine sector.

Over the past ten years, the program has produced 75 alumni from the grape and wine community.

The FL2015 group will commence a six-month program in June where they will be encouraged to innovate, collaborate and ‘change the game’ by finding transformative solutions for the betterment of the sector.


New centre for innovative wine production launches in South Australia

A new wine research centre that will help the industry face up to challenges posed by climate change, water restrictions and changing consumer preferences has launched at the University of Adelaide's Waite campus.

The ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production will be targeting key objectives such as managing flavour and alcohol content in Australia's wines, despite growing environmental and cost pressures.

“We have a portfolio of 18 projects which together take a ‘grape to glass’, multi-faceted approach to tackling these key issues facing the industry,” said Professor Vladimir Jiranek, Professor of Oenology in the University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and Director of the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production.

“The knowledge and technologies arising from the Centre will help the industry make the best wines that will be sought after domestically and internationally.

“We aim to underpin and enable more profitable grape-growing and winemaking while achieving the desired flavour and alcohol balance that consumers want.”

Specific targets include: viticultural practices to optimise yields of flavour-rich grapes that are not necessarily high in sugars; treatments and winemaking practices that will maintain flavour while controlling sugar and alcohol content; and working with producers and retailers to define precisely the type of wines that consumers want.

“The Centre will also strengthen links between research, industry and education and produce highly skilled PhD and postdoctoral researchers honed for working at the industry/research interface,” says Professor Jiranek.

The Centre builds on a long tradition of research and multi-agency collaboration in winemaking and viticulture at the Waite Research Precinct. The Waite accounts for 62 percent of the nation’s wine research capability and outputs.


Winners of the Australian 2015 International Beer Awards revealed

The winners of the Australian 2015 International Beer Awards were revealed at a presentation dinner held in Melbourne last night.

Conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, this year’s awards attracted a record number of entries with more than 1,700 submissions from 344 exhibitors, across 35 countries.

Entries were assessed by an expert industry panel of 58 judges from around the world, over three days at Melbourne Showgrounds. There were 28 Champion and Major Trophies awarded.

This year’s Champion Large, Medium and Small Australian Brewery Trophies were awarded to 4 Pines Brewing Company, Thunder Road Brewing Company (for the second consecutive year) and Boatrocker Brewing Company, respectively. 

Head judge Warren Pawsey said that he was overwhelmed with the quality of entrants in 2015, which has improved year-on-year.

“We have been extremely impressed by the high quality product coming through, and 2015’s pool of entrants has not disappointed,” he said.

2015 Australian International Beer Awards – Champion Trophy Winners

  • Barrett Burston Malting Trophy for Champion Australian Beer: Barley Wine – Barrel Breed (Draught) – Mountain Goat Beer, VIC
  • ExpoNet Trophy for Champion International Beer: Speight’s 5 Malt Old Dark (Packaged) – Lion Beer Spirits Wine, NZ
  • GrainCorp Trophy for Champion Large Australian Brewery: 4 Pines Brewing Company, NSW
  • Barrett Burston Malting Trophy for Champion Large International Brewery: Brouweris De Halve Maan, Belgium
  • Kegstar Trophy for Champion Medium Australian Brewery: Thunder Road Brewing Company, VIC
  • Federation University Australia Trophy for Champion Medium International Brewery:Pelican Pub & Brewery, USA
  • FB*PROPAK Trophy for Champion Australian Small Brewery: Boatrocker Brewing Company, VIC
  • City of Ballarat Trophy for Champion International Small Brewery: ParrotDog Brewing, NZ
  • Gary Sheppard Memorial Trophy for Best New Exhibitor: Yantai Platinum Brewing Company, China
  • AIBA Media Award presented by The Crafty Pint: Luke Robertson, Ale of a Time

2015 Australian International Beer Awards – Major Trophy Winners

  • Bargo Events Trophy for Best Australian Style Lager: 333 Premium Export – Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp, Vietnam
  • Federation University Australia Trophy for Best European Style Lager: Byron Bay Premium (Draught) – The Byron Bay Brewing Co, NSW
  • Hellman Beverage Logistics Trophy for Best International Lager: Red Horse Extra Strong Brew (Packaged) – San Miguel Beer Limited, Philippines
  • City of Ballarat Trophy for Best International Pale Ale: Anytime IPA (Draught) – Temple Brewing Company, VIC
  • The Post Project Trophy for Best Australian Style Pale Ale: Sandman (Draught) – The Byron Bay Brewing Co, NSW
  • Time Out Trophy for Best British Style Ale: Fuller’s 1845 Celebration Strong Ale (Packaged) – Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC, UK
  • Bargo Events Trophy for Best European Style Ale: Sporting Ale (Draught) – Thirsty Crow, NSW
  • Kegstar Trophy for Best IPA: Epic Armageddon IPA (Draught) – Epic Brewing Company, NZ
  • Cryermalt Trophy for Best Amber/Dark Ale: Speight’s 5 Malt Old Dark (Packaged) – Lion Beer Spirits Wine, NZ
  • Weyermann Specialty Malts Trophy for Best Porter: Temptress (Draught) – Holgate Brewhouse, VIC
  • Spiegelau Trophy for Best Stout: Monteith’s Velvet Stout (Packaged) – DB Draught Brewery, NZ
  • Beer DeLuxe Trophy for Best Wheat Beer: Weihenstephan Kristall Weissbier (Packaged) – Weihenstephan, Germany
  • Brewtique Trophy for Best Belgian & French Style Ale: Mad Abbot Christmas Ale 2013(Packaged) – The Little Brewing Company, NSW
  • RASV Trophy for Best Scotch & Barley Wine: Barley Wine – Barrel Breed (Draught) – Mountain Goat Beer, VIC
  • Plasdene Glass-Pak Trophy for Best Specialty Beer: Red Rock Paardebloem (Packaged) – Red Rock Brewing Co, USA
  • RASV Trophy for Best Reduced/Low Alcohol: ClippedWing (Packaged) – ParrotDog Brewing, NZ
  • ExpoNet Trophy for Best Pilsner: Trumer Pils (Draught) – Trumer Australia, VIC
  • Brewtique Trophy for Best Packaging: Bastard Children of the British Empire (Set of 6 Bottles) – 4 Pines Brewing Company, NSW


Greek winemakers head to Australia

The largest contingent of Greek winemakers ever to visit Australia will arrive at the end of June to showcase the newest and most innovative wines from the world’s oldest winegrowing region.

More than 20 winemakers, educators and grape-growers will visit Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide for a series of tastings, dinners and masterclasses that have previously only ever been held in the USA and Canada.

The wines will be diverse – indigenous varieties and Greek expressions of international classics – from regions spanning the whole of Greece – from the Peloponnese through to Santorini and the islands. There will be more than 90 wines showcasing the modern face of such an ancient winegrowing land.

New Wines of Greece President Yannis Voyatzis said this visit was the first time such a large group of Greek winemakers and representatives had visited Australia together.

“This visit to Australia is about educating Australian trade about our wines, and showcasing the best we have to offer,” Voyatzis said.

“We’re looking forward to meeting and discussing our wines with a broad spectrum of the Australian trade, as well as catching up with some familiar faces.

“Even though we have thousands of years of wine production experience, the Greek wine industry is still evolving and the wineries attending will be showcasing a selection of their best wines, with a focus on the country’s indigenous varietals.”


New Wine Sector Survey launched

The introduction of a combined Wine Sector Survey will streamline the annual collection of data across the wine community.

In a first for the Australian wine community, the Wine Sector Survey 2015 will combine the annual data collected by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) Price Dispersion Survey, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Vintage Survey, the South Australian Crush Survey and the Murray-Darling/Swan Hill Wine Grape Crush Report.

AGWA Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said “we’re extremely pleased to work together to improve the collection of data across the sector, which will also help to lighten the load on wineries this year.

“AGWA is collecting the information on behalf of all participating organisations and we are broadening the survey to all wineries so that we can calculate accurate production figures by region and variety.”

Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) Chief Executive Paul Evans said the survey would help deliver a WFA Action Plan recommendation giving grape growers and wine producers access to better data to base their decision making.

“To track progress in the industry we need robust data so producers can consider adjustments ahead of next vintage and take action where necessary,” Evans said.

“Moving the South Australian Crush Survey into the Wine Sector Survey means that South Australian grape and wine producers only need to provide their information once, which will help save time and reduce paperwork,” said South Australian Wine Industry Association Chief Executive Brian Smedley and Wine Grape Council of South Australia Executive Officer Peter Hackworth.

“This is the first step in building a collaborative relationship on data collection that will provide growers with a much-improved barometer of industry performance,” Murray Valley Winegrowers Executive Officer Mike Stone said.

Any wine producers who would like to participate in the Wine Sector Survey 2015 and haven’t already received an email, or would like further information, can contact Sandy Hathaway at agwa.surveys@agwa.net.au.


SABMiller acquires Meantime Brewing Company

SABMiller will enter the UK craft beer market following the acquisition of Meantime Brewing Company.

SABMiller plans to grow sales of Meantime's beers nationally and explore export opportunities in its European markets under the continued leadership of Nick Miller, Meantime CEO.

Sue Clark, Managing Director, SABMiller Europe, said: "Meantime has been at the forefront of the modern craft beer movement in the UK and brews an outstanding range of beers across a variety of styles. At SABMiller we love local variety, and carefully nurture our 200 local and heritage beers. Meantime, born in a city with a rich beer heritage, will be a special new addition to the SABMiller family.

Clark said Meantime’s team will boost SABMiller’s strategy to “develop beers that appeal to more people, including women, and which can be attractive alternatives to wine and spirits.”

Volumes of beer sales at Meantime grew by 58 percent in 2014, outpacing the UK beer market's 1% growth during the same period and making it one of the top-performing modern craft breweries in the UK.

The acquisition includes Meantime's retail sites, including the Tasting Rooms and the brewery shop in Greenwich, the Greenwich Union pub, pop-up Beerbox pub, and the Brewery Fresh tank beer concept, which is now in 26 pubs across London, complementing SABMiller's Pilsner Urquell unpasteurised tank beer in a further four London pubs.

The acquisition is expected to complete in early June 2015 and Meantime will be incorporated into SABMiller Europe's accounts.

“SABMiller is a small player in the UK market with a 3 percent share in 2014, although between 2009-2014, volumes grew by 25 percent in a category that declined 7 percent over the same period,” said Jeremy Cunnington, Senior Alcoholic Drinks Analyst, Euromonitor International.

“SABMiller has always focused on premium imported larger in the UK and its latest acquisition with London-based Meantime Brewing Company complements its premium focus. Between 2009-2013, the number of breweries has grown by 93 percent driven by the craft phenomenon.”

Spiros Malandrakis, Senior Alcoholic Drinks Analyst, Euromonitor International said big brewers essentially only have three options  to escape the maturity and saturation –induced spiral of declines they have been facing.

“The first is diversification into segments beyond their core mainstream business (malt based RTDs, cider, radlers ). The second is geographic expansion and it is self-explanatory, although it should by no means be considered to be a panacea. The emerging market mantra has proven to be overoptimistic as poster-children like China or Russia are prone to geopolitical and macro volatility,” Malandrakis said.

“SABMiller’s move in this case is the third option- taking over iconic craft brewers to make the most of their momentum. This has its own danger of course- will there be a backlash from the overly vocal craft community itself? Will further expansion be undermined by the fact that Meantime is not strictly speaking, craft anymore? It remains to be seen.”


Australian wine second to France in International Wine Challenge

Australia has picked up a mighty haul of medals at International Wine Challenge 2015, including 91 Gold medals.

Second only to France on the medal leader board, Australian wine makers have claimed a total of 825 medals at the 2015 International Wine Challenge. 91 Australian wines were awarded Gold medals, as well as 333 Silver medals and 401 Bronze medals.

Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the IWC said “Australian wine continues to go from strength to strength, as its native winemakers demonstrate their star quality. Australian Shiraz has impressed yet again, and Aussie Chardonnay really has come a long way. I am convinced any of our award-winning, modern, less oaky Chardonnays would convert any Chardonnay deriders.

“We discovered some delicious examples of more classic grapes like Semillon and Riesling, and even some top quality sweet and fortified wines. Overall, it has been a vintage year for Australia at the IWC.”

And the winners are…

Australian Shiraz leads the Gold medal charge. 25 wines picked up Gold medals, 22 from South Australia. Angove Family Winemakers picked up a pair of Gold medals for its Family Crest Shiraz 2013 and its Warboys Vineyard Shiraz 2013. Saltram Wine Estate and Château Tanunda also received two Gold medals each for their Shiraz entries.

Outside South Australia, Lerida Estate struck Gold with its Lake Geoge Shiraz Viognier 2013, the only Gold medal winning Shiraz to be produced in the Canberra District. Amelia Park Wines, located in Dunsborough, West Australia, also picked up a pair of Gold medals for its Amelia Park Reserve Shiraz 2012 and its Amelia Park Shiraz 2013.

16 Australian Chardonnays impressed the IWC judges and picked up Gold medals.

Penfolds Wines Pty Ltd received a shower of Gold medals, including four for its Chardonnay entries. Penfolds won Gold for the following:

  • Penfolds Reserve Bin 12A Chardonnay 2012
  • Penfolds Reserve Bin 10A Chardonnay 2010
  • Penfolds Reserve Bin 09A Chardonnay 2009
  • Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay 2010
  • Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2012
  • Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

NV Penfolds Grandfather Rare Tawny also picked up a Gold medal in the fortified category.

Brookland Valley received three Gold medals for its young Chardonnays. Its Estate Chardonnay 2013, Estate Chardonnay 2014 and its Reserve Chardonnay 2013 all scooped the top medal prize.

Tasmania winery Jansz received Gold medals for two of its sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blends. Jansz Tasmania Premium Cuvée Brut NV and the Jansz Tasmania Vintage Cuvée 2009 both impressed the judges and were awarded Gold.

De Bortoli Wines Pty Ltd received five Gold medals, four of which were awarded to sweet wines. Its Black Noble 10 Year Old NV, De Bortoli Show Liqueur Muscat NV and its Deen Vat Series No 5 Botrytis Semillon 2009 all struck Gold.

De Bortoli created Gold medal-winning Tesco finest Dessert Semillon 2009 which was one of a flurry of medals which went to Australian wines created for UK supermarket own-brand ranges. Tesco finest Denman Semillon 2013, Tesco finest Cobblestone Shiraz 2012 and Tesco finest Tingleup Riesling 2012 were all awarded Silver medals.

Aldi The Exquisite Clare Valley Riesling 2014 was awarded a Gold medal, and Aldi The Exquisite Collection Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2013 received a Silver medal. These are both produced by Wakefield.

Four wines created by a range of Australian wineries for IWC Supermarket of the Year 2014 Marks & Spencer also received Silver medals, namely Marks & Spencer Ebenezer & Seppeltsfield Shiraz 2012, Margaret River Semillon/Sauvignon 2014, Marks & Spencer Hunter Valley Chardonnay 2014 and Marks & Spencer Burra Brook Chardonnay 2014.

Winemakers’ Selection by Sainsbury’s Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2013 created for the UK retailer by Kingston Estate Wines also picked up a Silver medal.

Australian Vintage Ltd received a flurry of fourteen Gold medals across a variety of styles. Seven Semillons made by the winery picked up Gold medals, including two for its McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2003 and 2005 vintage. However, the winery proved it is not only a master of aged Semillon, striking Gold with the 2014 McGuigan The Shortlist Semillon. 2004. The 2007 and 2013 vintages of McGuigan The Shortlist Riesling also secured Gold medals.

Visit the IWC website for the full list of winners.


Tyrrell’s Wines goes solar

Tyrrell’s Wines is nearing completion of a 350kW solar photovoltaic installation, one of Australia’s first commercial solar power purchase projects.

Managing Director of Tyrrell’s Wines, Bruce Tyrrell said “we are very happy to add another milestone to the Tyrrell’s history book with the installation of the solar power system at the vineyard. Renewable energy is something we feel very strongly about, and we are happy to be able to keep on producing award-winning wines, powered by the sun.”

Sunlease will own the 350kW solar array and will sell the output at a fixed cost directly to Tyrrell’s Wines for the term of the agreement.

Designed and constructed by Solgen Energy, the solar power system is expected to generate approximately 563 Megawatt hours each year and offset a significant portion of electricity for the operating infrastructure of the vineyard. Based on preliminary assumptions, Tyrrell’s Wines will realise savings of around 26 percent against the standard utility costs, otherwise payable for day-time electricity over the 20 year period.

The official opening of the solar power system will take place on Friday, 5 June 2015, at the Tyrrell’s Wines Vineyard in Pokolbin, NSW.


China to dominate Asia’s growth in wine imports

New projections of growth in global wine markets to 2018 show Asian countries will dominate global wine consumption and import growth, led by a surge in wine consumption in China.

The new study, by economists in the University of Adelaide's Wine Economics Research Centre, project China's wine consumption to grow by between 40 percent and 60 percent between 2011 and 2018.

"China is set to change global markets for wines dramatically, just as it has been doing and will continue to do for so many other products," said executive director of the Wine Economics Research Centre, Professor Kym Anderson, who is co-author of a Working Paper with Professor Glyn Wittwer of Victoria University.

"While rice wine has traditionally been the most common in Asia, income growth in China and a preference swing towards grape wine is gradually changing the region’s consumption situation."

Professor Anderson says China has been rapidly expanding its own production of winegrapes, and is now the world's fifth largest producer of grape wine, yet its expansion in domestic production has not been able to keep up with its consumption growth.

"It is the sheer size of China's adult population of 1.1 billion people, and the fact that grape wine still accounts for less than 4 percent of Chinese alcohol consumption, that makes the import growth opportunity unprecedented," Anderson said.

"We project that China's net imports of wine could rise by between 330 and 790 million litres during 2011-2018 once the full impacts of China’s recent bilateral free trade agreements with Australia, Chile and New Zealand are felt."

He says Australia, along with France and Chile, stands to gain greatly from this opportunity.

"Exporting firms willing to invest sufficiently in building relationships with their Chinese importer – or in grape growing and winemaking as joint ventures in China – may well enjoy long-term benefits from such investments, just as others have done and continue to do for many other products besides wine," he said.

Professor Anderson said even China's recent "austerity drive" will not be able to hold back the tide of wine demand growth. "The austerity drive has dampened the growth in ultra-premium and iconic wine sales in China, but those quality wines are only a small share of total sales, so we project its impact on the overall volume of wine imports to be minor."

This research has been supported with funding from the Australian Grape and Wine Authority. The Working Paper can be downloaded at the Wine Economics Research Centre's website.