Kono Beverages and Bouchon Wines and Spirits form partnership

Kono Beverages of New Zealand and Bouchon Wines and Spirits of Australia have announced a distribution partnership.  Bouchon will exclusively promote the Tohu and Aronui brands in the State of Queensland.

Bouchon will be adding eight Kono wines to their portfolio.  These eight wines are made by Kono Chief Winemaker, Bruce Taylor, at their Awatere Valley Winery in Marlborough, New Zealand.  The wines are made from premium fruit grown on ancestral lands in Marlborough and Nelson.

The Bouchon range is predominantly Single Vineyard wines from the acclaimed Tohu vineyard in the Upper Awatere, Marlborough.  This area is world renowned for producing quality Sauvignon Blanc. The Tohu Sauvignon Blanc recently received the Grower’s Trophy for Sauvignon Blanc at the Bragato Wine Awards for the second time.

Other wines in the Bouchon range are made from fruit grown at the ‘Whenua Matua’ vineyard in Nelson, including the Aronui Pinot Noir and the Aronui Albariño.  The Pinot Noir was recently rewarded a gold medal by Decanter World Wine Awards.  The Albariño was recently awarded a trophy at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show.  Both the Tohu and Aronui Wines ranges are well awarded at the Sydney International Wine Competition too.

Rory Smith, owner of Bouchon, commented, “The team at Bouchon Wines and Spirits is delighted to announce the inclusion of Tohu and Aronui Wines into the portfolio. We are very excited about these wines.

“They represent both great value and a ‘modern classic’ style of winemaking.  With some unusual grape varieties like Grüner Veltliner and Albariño plus traditional varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a pleasure to be working with New Zealand’s first Māori owned wine company.”

Powdery mildew app helps vignerons manage grape expectations

A free mobile app to help vignerons and winemakers quickly assess grapes for powdery mildew in the field is being made available to growers globally.

Developed in South Australia by the University of Adelaide in collaboration with industry and Wine Australia, the app was initially launched for use exclusively in Australia ahead of the 2016 vintage.

PMapp has been downloaded more than 1000 times and been well received by the Australian industry, prompting the construction of a training website to support the app and its international release this month.

Powdery mildew is a serious disease that affects grapevines worldwide and can cause off flavours and aromas in wine if not controlled.

University of Adelaide Professor of Plant Pathology and project leader Eileen Scott said she had already responded to inquiries about the app from North America, Chile, Europe and New Zealand.

“Powdery mildew is probably the most ubiquitous disease of grapevines – it occurs everywhere because it’s much less sensitive to weather conditions than other diseases like downy mildew or botrytis,” she said.

The disease is assessed in the vineyard as the percentage surface area of grape bunches affected, which gives a measure of disease severity.

PMapp allows the user to visually assess the severity by matching it with computer-generated images.

The app allows disease data to be entered quickly in the vineyard. Assessors then email the results and analyse the resulting spreadsheet, which records GPS co-ordinates and other assessment details.

Prof Scott said having Australian growers use the app for a year before the rest of the world allowed the system to be trialled thoroughly so any glitches could be fine-tuned.

“What we’ve built on to the app since we did the Australian release was a website designed to support diagnosis and recognition of powdery mildew as well as more training in early assessment than we could build into the app,” she said.

“The app allows people to enter their assessment quickly and efficiently to get an on the run average severity and average incidence across the block they are assessing.

“The website is designed for pre-vintage training of new staff and up-skilling or refreshing of existing and experienced staff so when they go out into the field they feel better prepared for the assessments.”

Australian users of the app in the 2016 vintage said it would become a valuable industry tool with some even using it to also assess grapes for bunch rot.

Australian Vignerons CEO Andrew Weeks said PMapp offered the potential for a uniform and reliable assessment procedure for powdery mildew, which in turn provided a consistent market signal for winegrowers.

“PMapp was a great tool in making decisions acceptable to both grower and winery,” he said.

Accolade Wines Chief Viticulturalist Alex Sas also supported the app.

“PMapp will quickly become part of the standard operating procedures of large wine companies in Australia and worldwide,” he said.

South Australia is consistently responsible for almost 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production.

There are 18 wine regions in South Australia, including the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Limestone Coast and Riverland.

This story first appeared in The Lead.

New range of Taylor Made wines

Clare Valley winery Taylors has released Taylor Made, a uniquely crafted range of wines featuring three distinct Australian varieties.

The range includes three different varietals; a crisp, dry Pinot Noir Rosé; a tropical, layered and savoury Adelaide Hills Chardonnay made with French oak; and a dark, juicy and smooth Clare Valley Malbec made with American oak.

Each variety was selected for its unique flavours and broad appeal, while also presenting tremendous value for retailers and venues.

Only a limited run of each variety will be released this vintage, with distribution targeted specifically to the on premise and select independent retailers.

The wines are currently available for pre-sell, with delivery taking place in early November.

A soft launch to the trade will begin in November, with point of sale materials available for independents. Tent cards, coasters and counter top blackboards available on request for the on premise. Speak to your Taylors Wines sales representative for more information about these materials.

Matua named New Zealand Wine Producer of Year at IWSC

Matua has taken out the top prize for all New Zealand wineries at the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC), winning the trophy for New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year, announced last night in London.

The winery, which produced New Zealand’s first Sauvignon Blanc in 1974, had a medal tally which incorporated the Trophy alongside 12 medals, including Gold Outstanding for the 2013 Matua Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, five Silver Outstanding medals, four Silvers and a Bronze.

This now means that Matua has received the title of NZ Wine Producer or Winemaker of the Year at a major international wine competition four years consecutively – 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 – after having already been bestowed this honour at the 2013 and 2015 New Zealand Royal Easter Show Wine Awards and the 2014 New Zealand International Wine Show.

Matua was up against Giesen, Kim Crawford and Brancott Estate for the coveted 2016 IWSC Trophy.

Greg Rowdon, Matua Chief Winemaker is absolutely thrilled with the result. “More than ever New Zealand is producing wines that stand up on the global stage and to be acknowledged as the IWSC New Zealand Producer of the Year is testament not only to the quality of Matua wines but also the breadth of our portfolio and the consistently high standards we are achieving,” he said.

“We entered 12 wines and received 12 medals – so we are so pleased to have a 100% strike rate. It wasn’t a case of one particular wine outshining the rest either, but our portfolio as a whole consistently performing well, which is our ultimate aim,” Rowdon said.

Founded in 1969, the International Wine & Spirit Competition is widely recognised as the original, the most prestigious and the most respected wine & spirit competition in the world. Receiving entries from nearly 90 countries worldwide, the Competition uses a two stage judging process taking place over a six month period to ensure the IWSC produces the industry’s most credible results.

WFA appoints new leader

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia has appointed Sandy Clark as its new President.

Brian Walsh, Chair of Wine Australia,  congratulated Clark on his appointment.

“Sandy brings a wealth of experience in the wine sector and the broader corporate sector to his new role,” Brian said.

“We look forward to working with Sandy and building on our close working relationship with WFA to improve the prosperity of the Australian grape and wine community.

“We would also like to thank outgoing President Mr Tony D’Aloisio AM for his strong strategic guidance and commitment to the Australian wine sector. We wish him well with his future endeavours.”

Walsh also congratulated Mr Tony Battaglene on his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of WFA.

“Tony, already a 17-year veteran with WFA, brings deep knowledge, experience and strong wine connections in Australia and overseas to his new role. We look forward to him continuing to be a strong advocate for Australian wine,” he said.

French connection drives Sidewood’s Adelaide Hills expansion

NEW vineyards, a bottling plant and French-inspired wines are helping an Adelaide Hills winery rapidly expand its operations.

Sidewood has this year bought a 25ha vineyard to take its total plantings to 93ha across four sites in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia, making it one of the region’s largest sustainably certified growers.

A bottling plant is also being built at the winery, which also makes cider. A canning line for the cider comes started up this week with the full bottling facility expected to be online by late 2017.

Sidewood owner Owen Inglis ran successful companies in Hong Kong, including one of the world’s biggest luggage manufacturers, before buying his first Adelaide Hills vineyard and starting the business in 2004. But the real growth – about 50 per cent a year – has occurred since 2012 when Inglis moved to South Australia to run the business full time.

This growth has the included the purchase in 2014 and subsequent expansion of Sidewood’s winery facility in Nairne, where the bottling plant is being built. This has allowed production to grow steadily from 140 tonnes in 2014 to a possible 1000 tonnes in 2017.

“The philosophy that we have is that we want to control the process from growing it to bottling it – that’s what I did in manufacturing as much as I could and it’s very hard to control the quality if you’re buying fruit from third parties,” Inglis said.

“It’s a philosophy similar to the French. New world marketing is all about the winemaker and a winemaker can buy his fruit from anywhere. The old world doesn’t work that way, it’s all about terroir, terroir, terroir and that’s my philosophy.”

The French connection at Sidewood moves beyond philosophy and into the wine.

img - Sidewood_Shallow

The winery uses French clones in its Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays and also specialises in a Rhone-style Shiraz. Its sparkling wines and Sauvignon Blancs are also proving popular in Australia and around the world.

Sidewood’s 2013 Mappinga Shiraz was awarded the 2015 Decanter International Trophy for “Best Rhone Varietal over £15” and followed it up this year with two trophies for the wine at the International Wine Challenge in London.

“The region has great potential – the burgundy varieties are very well suited to the region, sparkling wines as well and Rhone varietal Shiraz but I think probably the Pinot Noirs coming out of the Adelaide Hills are going to be some of the best in the world,” Inglis said.

“Ours is very much a Burgundy-style Chardonnay and we’ve got some great Pinot Noirs and we’re using a lot of French oak as well.”

The winery currently produces about 35,000 cases of wine a year and a few thousand cases of cider.

Inglis said exports, led by the United States and China, accounted for half of all of Sidewood’s sales in the first quarter of the 2016/17 financial year compared with 20 to 30 per cent in previous quarters.

“Export markets are strong – we’re particularly growing in Canada and the United States, we’re now in seven states in the US.

“Asia is also a good market for us – China’s going well and we’re in Singapore, Malaysia Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Korea.

“The China market is maturing, which is a good thing for Australian producers of quality wine.”

img - Sidewood_Tall

Inglis, pictured, said investing heavily in his vineyards and leaning on the expertise of Vitiworks had been crucial to improving fruit quality from C-grade to A-grade in a handful of years.

Sidewood also appointed former Shaw & Smith chief winemaker Darryl Catlin in 2014.

In September, Sidewood installed a 100kw solar energy system to provide more than half of its annual energy needs at its winery. It has recently been awarded Entwine membership (Environmental Viticulture) through the Australian Wine Research Institute and Freshcare.

“We also have probably the largest water recycling capability in the Adelaide Hills – we actually recycle the water for two other wineries in the hills as well,” Inglis said.

South Australia is consistently responsible for 50 per cent of Australia’s annual wine production. It is home to world-renowned brands such as Penfolds Grange, Jacob’s Creek,  Hardys and Wolf Blass.

There are 18 wine regions in South Australia, including the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Limestone Coast and Riverland.

This article first appeared on The Lead.

Mission Estate celebrates gold medal trifecta

The team at Mission Estate are raising a glass after winning three gold medals at the recent 2016 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is widely regarded as the premier wine competition in New Zealand. Nearly 1,500 wines were judged by a team of local and international judges to identify medal and trophy winners for each of the varietal categories.

The gold medal wines are: Mission Reserve Syrah 2015, Mission Jewelstone Syrah 2014 and Mission Reserve Cabernet Franc 2014. In addition, two silver medals were received (full details below).

“We’re absolutely thrilled, this is a great result and credit to our wine making team,” said Peter Holley, CEO of Mission Estate.

This latest haul comes during a stellar period of success for New Zealand’s oldest winery with more than a dozen local and international Gold Medals awarded this calendar year alone.

“These results go to further reinforce our reputation as one of New Zealand’s most accomplished wine producers. We’re very proud of our rich heritage and winemaking skills and it’s very rewarding to see our passions being recognized,” said Holley.

Much of Mission Estate’s success is also down to the experienced winemaker, Paul Mooney (pictured) and his dedicated wine making team.  Mooney was originally mentored by then winemaker Brother John Cuttance, who learnt the art of wine making in Bordeaux during the 1960s.


Behind the rise in Australian wine grape prices

Australia takes the pulse of wine grape markets, while the Northern Hemisphere harvest appears set to fall on the short side, and China headlines developments in global wine trade, according to Rabobank’s Global Wine Quarterly for Q4 2016.

The Australian wine grape industry has experienced a ‘red dawn’, with prices rising from their 2011 lows, particularly for red wine grape varieties sourced from more premium growing regions.

“Life has returned to Australian wine grape prices, with China driving much of the recovery in market conditions,” said Rabobank senior analyst Marc Soccio.

Highlighting the key role of the China/Hong Kong market in Australia’s wine grape price recovery, the performance of the Chinese market remains a key barometer of future red wine grape market condition. The premiumisation trend in other major markets is also a factor, namely in Australia’s domestic market, as well as in the US and Canada.

Overall this has led to a marked shift in demand for red varietals from premium temperate climate regions such as the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra, and premium cool climate regions such as the Mornington Peninsula and Tasmania, especially relative to fruit from more commercial warm inland regions.

“Fortunately, most of the market developments that saw wine grape prices bottom out in 2011 are no longer at play, including the high Australian dollar, and we are starting to see sentiment in the industry recover from a time when the national average wine grape price more than halved, to AUD 413/tonne”, said Soccio.

In other news, export volumes are flat or down for many of the major wine-producing countries around the world. This trend is set to continue into next year as global production falls back, and countries will have worked through any stock overhangs from 2015.

Meanwhile, looking at the global wine market, the northern hemisphere harvest looks set to come in below last year’s levels across Europe’s big three, on top of a particularly light southern hemisphere harvest; and the rebound in imports into the Chinese market continues to deliver attractive growth for many of the world’s major wine exporters in 1H 2016.

Cool climate Shiraz proves a perfect match for Asian cuisine

TWO cool climate Shirazes from South Australia have been awarded Asian food and wine pairing trophies in the first round of results from the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition.

Adelaide Hills winery Bird in Hand was awarded Best Wine with Cantonese Braised Brisket for its 2013 Nest Egg Shiraz. Eden Valley producer Eden Hall won Best Wine with Wagyu Beef for its 2015 Springton Shiraz.

Eden Hall General Manager Graeme Thredgold said he hoped the win would help the small winery secure a distributor so it could ramp up exports to Asia.

He said 2015 was the best vintage at the winery in “probably a decade”.

“It’s just a great food wine – soft, delicate with lovely silky tannins,” Thredgold said of the winning Shiraz.

“Hong Kong and China are absolute key markets for us, there’s not a lot of opportunities in Australia for an independent brand so we need to be diversifying and finding export opportunities for the brand to be sustainable in the future.”

Eden Hall’s Springton Shiraz sells in Australia for about AU$25 while Bird in Hand’s flagship Nest Egg Shiraz retails for AU$99.

Bird in Hand Winemaker Jared Stringer said the award showed the versatility of the Adelaide Hills region for growing Shiraz.

He said the use of 100 per cent French oak barrels at Bird in Hand also helped to maintain the subtleties of the region’s Shiraz grapes

“Over the last 20 years we’ve been homing in on very specific sites to grow some of the best cool climate Shiraz in the Adelaide Hills,” Stringer said.

“It’s a bit more subtle than Shiraz from the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale. Ours is more perfumed and that prettier style lends itself to dishes that are as delicate as Cantonese Braised Brisket.”

Bird in Hand has also been short listed at the London International Wine and Spirit Competition as one of the top five Australian wine producers following trophy wins at the competition with its Chardonnay and Montepulciano.

The trophy winning wines in the 12 dish categories were handpicked from five Asian cuisines.

Founding Director of the Cathay Pacific HKIWSC, Debra Meiburg MW said the food pairing section had proven popular, achieving a 50 per cent increase in entries on 2015.

“The Asian food and wine pairing categories were the star of the show this year,” Meiburg said.

“The combination of a great set of new dishes – like Singapore Chili Crab and Indian Butter Chicken – plus the increasing focus on Asian food and wine pairing, both in Asia and internationally, were key contributors to this remarkable increase.”

The trophy winners took on a truly international flavour with victorious wines hailing from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Thailand, South Africa, Australia, Japan, Portugal and Italy.

“These results offer both Asia’s food-loving community and restaurant industry expert guidance on the very best international wines to try or recommend to their customers. As the awards are judged by a team of Asian born, Asian based judges, the results are always culturally appropriate – judged for Asia, by Asia,” Meiburg said.

The full results will be announced at the HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair on November 10.

South Australia is consistently responsible for almost 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production and is home to world-renowned brands such as Penfolds Grange, Jacob’s Creek and Wolf Blass.

There are 18 wine regions in the state including the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley,Coonawarra, Eden Valley, Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Limestone Coast and Riverland.

This article first appeared in The Lead South Australia.


Is the red wine compound resveratrol a miracle drug for infertility and ageing?

“A glass of red wine a day could keep polycystic ovaries at bay,” said a news headline this week. This and similar reports were based on research from a team in Poland and California that showed high daily doses – 1,500 mg – of a natural compound found in red wine, called resveratrol, could lower steroid hormone levels in women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This, in effect, should lower symptoms of PCOS including weight gain, excess hair, infertility and abnormal menstrual cycles.

This is not the first time resveratrol has been linked to health benefits. Back in 2006, headlines announced a “natural substance found in red wine” could extend lifespan in mice. The internet soon became flooded with online sellers of resveratrol supplements ranging from highly pure, to pills containing mashed up grape skins with very little resveratrol.

The fact resveratrol is naturally found in the skin of red grapes then led to the happy idea that drinking lots of red wine can make you live longer. But unfortunately, resveratrol is found at only trace levels in red wine – so you would need to drink over a thousand bottles per day to obtain the amount of resveratrol found in two 250 mg pills.

Resveratrol is naturally found in the skin of red grapes.
Harsha K R/Flickr, CC BY

The 2006 reports – based on a paper published in the esteemed journal Nature – were exciting for science though. Resveratrol turns on an enzyme called SIRT1, which is thought to enhance the age-delaying benefits of diet and exercise. The Nature study showed resveratrol extended lifespan in a mouse, an animal far more complex than the simple organisms the compound had previously been tested on, such as yeast, worms and flies.

Other studies of resveratrol in mice then showed benefits to lifespan, diseases such as cancer and diabetes, and inflammation. So why has resveratrol not been made into a drug yet?

When it is taken as a pill, the liver quickly degrades the majority of resveratrol before it can make it into the rest of the body. This means only a very small amount actually gets to other tissues where it could have an effect. So it would have to be given at very high doses.

But at doses where it can have an effect, resveratrol can cause gut problems such as diarrhoea. Despite this, small clinical trials using resveratrol in humans have shown some benefits to their metabolism, markers of inflammation, and Alzheimer’s disease.

There has also been controversy as to how resveratrol actually works; in particular whether it activates SIRT1, the enzyme thought to delay the ageing process.

David Sinclair, an Australian based at Harvard Medical School, first showed resveratrol could “turn on” SIRT1 in 2003. With a series of papers in quick succession, Sinclair showed resveratrol extended lifespan in yeast, worms, flies, fish, and mice.

Controversy struck when it was suggested resveratrol was working through “off target” effects, meaning it was interacting with enzymes other than SIRT1. As a small molecule with a simple structure, it is likely resveratrol has non-specific interactions throughout the body, especially at higher doses.

Products containing resveratrol range from being highly pure, to pills containing mashed up grape skins with very little resveratrol.
Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures/Flickr, CC BY

But then in 2012, these doubts were assuaged, when mice genetically engineered to be missing the SIRT1 gene were found to be immune to the effects of resveratrol. In 2013, it was found resveratrol binds to and activates SIRT1 in a very intricate manner. So that part is clear.

There are still uncertainties as to how specific it is; such as with the recent study involving women with PCOS. PCOS is a common endocrine condition that occurs when follicles in the ovary, which contain egg cells, swell up and the egg cell itself does not mature properly. The eggs contained in these cysts fail to be released at ovulation, which can cause infertility in women.

PCOS is thought to be caused by high levels of male steroid hormones known as androgens. Key risk factors for PCOS are metabolic problems such as high insulin levels, obesity, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes. Body weight reductions can therefore reduce PCOS risk.

Women suffering from PCOS experience irregular or no menstrual cycle, acne, hair growth and elevated levels of the male steroid hormone testosterone. In the recent study, resveratrol treatment lowered levels of testosterone, and its precursor DHEAS – two key steroid hormonal markers of PCOS.

But it’s actually not clear whether the testosterone reduction was due to a direct effect on the release of the hormone itself. This is because insulin, which at high levels can cause metabolic disease, was also reduced. As with other studies, it may be that resveratrol is actually improving metabolism, with reduced PCOS severity as a secondary side-effect. So there is still a lot we don’t know about the compound.

Should people want to go online and buy resveratrol, be aware it has not yet been approved as a drug by regulatory authorities. Also, plant-based resveratrol extracts such as Japanese knotweed contain a crude cocktail of compounds, some of which may be harmful, with only a small amount of resveratrol. Meanwhile, red grape skin pills are likely to contain vanishingly small quantities.

Stay tuned though: efforts to formulate resveratrol so greater proportions actually reach the rest of the body are underway.

The Conversation

Lindsay Wu, Senior Lecturer, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Australia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Australia’s highest priced wines drive strong export growth

Australian wine exports’ double-digit growth continued in the 12 months to 30 September 2016 according to Wine Australia’s Export Report, released today.

From October 2015 to September 2016, the value of exports grew by 10 per cent to a total value of $2.17 billion, with growth again being primarily driven by bottled exports, particularly at higher price points.

Bottled exports grew by 14 per cent to $1.8 billion and the average value of bottled exports increased by 9 per cent to $5.47 per litre, a 13-year high.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said, “The latest figures show that Australian wine exports continue to see strong growth and it’s our finest wines that are most in demand.

“More than half of the total value growth in the last 12 months was in wines priced at $10 or more per litre free-on-board (FOB); value was up 28 per cent to a record $547 million.”

Growth in the premium price segments (detailed in Table 1) added more than $120 million in value in the 12 months to 30 September 2016.

“Of the 1743 active exporters across the period, 70 per cent contributed to the value growth, an outstanding result. The value of exports grew in 81 of the 122 destinations for Australian wine,” Clark continued.

“These encouraging export figures are the result of the hard work put in by the entire sector to defend and grow Australian wine’s share in our critical export markets.

“Wine Australia will continue to support our grape and wine community through our global marketing campaigns and events, research initiatives, market insights and regulatory assistance. These activities all remain guided by our overarching strategic priorities to increase the premium paid for our wines and our global competitiveness.”

Exports priced $10 and more per litre FOB were up in all top five markets ­– mainland China by 63 per cent, the United States by 21 per cent, the United Kingdom by 20 per cent, Canada by 9 per cent, and Hong Kong by 7 per cent.




Howard Park Wines Heads to NZ for one-off event

Howard Park Wines has joined a number of significant winemakers in Auckland for a one-off wine tasting event that introduces their signature varietals to the public.

The exclusive event invited the twelve members of Australia’s First Families of Wine to join New Zealand’s Family of Twelve to showcase the wines that make each region so unique. The event, named Unrivalled History, called on the Next Generation, who come from the finest multi-generational wineries in each nation’s history.

Everyone attending the wine tasting event was more than eager to sample a glass from each of the 24 wineries across Australia and New Zealand, and to hear the stories behind each of the iconic brands.

Operations Manager of Howard Park, Nat Burch, says the tasting event was a must-do from the very beginning. Not only did it allow the winery to promote their range, but it provided space to collaborate and learn from other wineries and to speak to the consumers directly.

“We’re proud to be a part of this amazing group of winemakers,” says Burch. “They’re the flagship wineries of their region, and we couldn’t be happier to number amongst them. The First Families are all passionate about Australia’s wine making heritage, and are devoted to constant innovation and learning.”

“It was great being able to interact with people firsthand, whether they’re part of the industry or a wine lover coming along for a day of tasting. Speaking with people in the know, and from our consumers, truly is one of the best parts of the job.”

Howard Park  celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year. Since it’s inception in 1986, Howard Park’s philosophy has been to craft outstanding boutique Australian wines of great subtlety, character, balance and elegance with an uncompromising commitment to quality.

As well as sticking to tradition, the award-winning winery sets the stage for innovation. Alongside the 23 other wineries in the group, Howard Park has a commitment to educating the up-and-coming members in their family to pass on invaluable skills to the next generation.

Cool solution cuts the angel’s share in barrel halls

A barrel hall cooling system designed to efficiently maintain ideal temperatures and raise humidity is robbing the wine gods of the ‘angel’s share’.

South Australian air conditioning manufacturer Seeley International is enjoying global success with its Climate Wizard Supercool systems, which have been specifically designed for the wine industry.

So far the Adelaide-based company has installed about a dozen systems in wineries across Australia, the United States and South Africa.

General Manager of Commercial Sales, Michael Hamilton, said the key features of the systems were their indirect and direct evaporative sections that allowed desired storage temperatures of 16°C – 18°C to be achieved while increasing air moisture to 60 – 80 per cent relative humidity.

He said the Climate Wizard was also up to 80 per cent cheaper to run than equivalent refrigerated cooling systems. The systems are aimed at New World wineries that store their barrels in sheds and warehouses rather than underground cellars.

“When we looked at where we wanted to take this winery campaign in our global market we’ve considered this product in the American and South African markets but not so much in Europe because a lot of barrel halls are underground there and they maintain pretty consistent temperatures without a lot of assistance,” said Hamilton.

“We’re finding that when we go and talk to some of these wineries and survey their sites, the barrels at the top of the wine hall can reach up to 32°C during our summer period.

“We’re creating interest with this technology because we are able to create the conditions the winemakers are looking for at a very low operating cost.”

The ‘angel’s share’ is a winemaking term that refers to the amount of wine that evaporates out of a barrel, potentially affecting quality and forcing barrels to be “topped up” during maturation.

The angel’s share is generally higher when barrel room temperatures exceed 18°C and when humidity is low. Hamilton said Seeley was looking to ramp up production of the Supercool units at its South Australian factory on the back of a flood of inquiries received at last month’s Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference in Adelaide.

“Ultimately, if they reduce that angel’s share effect, which means they don’t have to top up as much, they would be aiming to deliver a higher quality of wine and more volume,” said Hamilton.

Australia’s largest air conditioning manufacturer, Seeley is a global leader in the design and manufacture of portable and ducted climate control systems for the domestic, commercial and industrial markets.

This article was printed with permission from The Lead.

Planning tool targeting profitable margins for Australian wine

The Gross Margin Ready Reckoner is a free and confidential business planning tool that allows wineries to run different production and market scenario simulations to determine the most relevant price point for their wine in a specific export market.

Wineries can model the impact of changes in product mix, pricing, markets and distribution strategies on their profit margins.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the Gross Margin Ready Reckoner will help to improve the competitiveness of Australian wine internationally and support the success of Australian wine businesses.

“Exports have always been critical to the success of the Australian wine sector. Currently, 60 per cent of wine produced in Australia is destined for export and in the last financial year, the value of our exports reached $2.11 billion,” he said.

‘The Gross Margin Ready Reckoner will help our sector to get the most from export opportunities as it provides a benchmark with the most suitable price point in a specific market, based on the individual business needs of a winery.

“The tool calculates profitability under different business scenarios across production and the supply chain, using information from the individual winery, as well as benchmark and tax data generated from a number of sources.”

The Gross Margin Ready Reckoner was first developed in 2007 by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Wine Australia.

Working with Deloitte, Wine Australia has completely updated the Gross Margin Ready Reckoner to include the latest grape pricing, tax regimes, general cost updates and changes to tariff rates arising from Australia’s free trade agreements.

The tool bases its calculations on pre-populated averages and estimates across the supply chain in order to create a basic benchmark.

To create an individual benchmark report, the Gross Margin Ready Reckoner poses specific questions over three steps:

  • winegrape origin and variety
  • destination market, and
  • wine production and storage costs.

Wineries can adjust the inputs on the comparison screens to examine the impacts of changes to input costs such as exchange rates, shipping and route to market.


Sacred Hill Wine Company rebrands its Quench Collective

Sacred Hill Wine Company (SHWC) has rebranded its Quench Collective with a new look and name which is no longer brand or beverage specific.

According to the company, the move will allow the necessary flexibility and diversification to build the business in the future.

SHWC was set up in 2012 by Sacred Hill Vineyards to solely manage domestic sales and distribution of the Sacred Hill portfolio of wine brands.

“From the beginning, we set out to grow this as a key area of the business. The journey has been a successful one so far and now the time has come to move on from the Sacred Hill name and set Quench Collective on a new course,” said David Mason, Founder and Managing Director of Sacred Hill Vineyards.

Following two rewarding years distributing Panhead prior to its acquisition by Lion, Quench Collective now has a proven track record in growing agency brands.  In recent months Quench Collective has become the national distributor for Paynters and Zeffer Ciders, alongside craft beer brands Liberty Brewing and 8 Wired.

Quench Collective is the distributor and representative for a stable of brands in the liquor market:   Sacred Hill; Ti Point; Whitecliff; Gunn Estate; Wild South; Landscape; 8 Wired; Liberty; Paynters; and Zeffer Cider.

Quench Collective will remain wholly owned by Sacred Hill Vineyards.


De Bortoli Wines sustainability track record the first to go platinum in NSW

De Bortoli Wines has been awarded NSW’s first Sustainability Advantage Platinum Project certificate, in recognition of environmental leadership and commitment to innovation.

The certificate recognises ‘The De Bortoli Method’, a unique potassium recovery system designed to eliminate the environmental impact of potassium build up in soil and significantly reduce dependence on imported caustic cleaning agents.

Sustainability Advantage is the NSW Government’s flagship program, offered via the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), which encourages and enables sustainable best practice in the NSW business community. De Bortoli Wines is one of just 12 NSW companies (and the only winery) to achieve Gold Partner recognition, and is now the first to attain a Platinum Project.

The OEH presented the Platinum Project certificate to the De Bortoli Wines Environment Team today at a ceremony at the family-owned business’s Bilbul Estate near Griffith.

“De Bortoli Wines is widely recognised as a leader in the business community for its demonstrated commitment to sustainable production and consumption,” said Tom Grosskopf, Director, Metropolitan Branch, NSW OEH.

“With this Platinum Project, which is circular by design, De Bortoli Wines should consider itself as a world leader in the pursuit of beyond zero waste and zero harm.”

The De Bortoli Method is the culmination of five years of research and development, and is one of numerous innovative sustainability practices De Bortoli Wines has implemented over the past decade, as it strives to become a ‘Zero Waste Winery’. Initiatives include wise water management, energy efficiency and improved waste management.

De Bortoli’s potassium recovery system utilises electrolysis to recover potassium from spent winery wash water and produces a cleaning solution (potassium hydroxide) for reuse at the winery.

It is designed to extend the life of the business’s wastewater farm, which was established in 2005 when the winery switched from sodium based cleaning agents to potassium based cleaning agents to lessen the winery’s impact on the environment. Fodder and grain crops are grown using the winery’s wastewater and are sold to offset the majority of wastewater management costs. The De Bortoli Method aims to decrease the tonnage of potassium irrigated on the farm to equal the amount of potassium removed by cropping.

This technology has the potential for commercial application across the wine industry or for other manufacturers that use caustic cleaners. In addition to improving wastewater recycling, by reducing the usage of imported caustics, it has the potential to deliver significant savings and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Seppeltsfield wins twice at ‘Great Wine Capitals’ Awards

Seppeltsfield estate has dominated South Australia’s inaugural entry into the Great Wine Capitals Awards, being recognised as the state’s premier wine destination for ‘Art & Culture’ and for achieving ‘Excellence in Wine Tourism Services’.

The Great Wine Capitals Awards are the first major initiative as a result of Adelaide joining the global membership in 2016. The network annexes Adelaide to other major cities linked to internationally-renowned wine regions and via an annual awards/benchmarking program, recognises leadership, innovation and excellence in wine tourism.

Adelaide’s membership to the Great Wine Capitals consortium now cites the city as a peer of globally prestigious wine destinations, including Bordeaux (France), Cape Town (South Africa) and the Napa Valley (USA).

Seppeltsfield itself joins such properties as Chateau Bouscaut (Bordeaux), Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate (Cape Town/Franschhoek) and Quinta Do Crasto (Porto) as previous regional winners of the Wine Tourism Services and Art & Culture categories.

The awards will see Seppeltsfield and five other award winners progress to represent Australia in the international awards program, to be held in Portugal in November. Fellow Barossa Valley estates The Louise (Accommodation) and Kalleske Wines (Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices), join Seppeltsfield’s double-win in securing four of the seven state awards to the Barossa region itself.

The Great Wine Capitals Awards for Seppeltsfield follows further significant endorsement of the property in recent months, being announced as 2016 Drinks International ‘Best Visitor Centre’. The international awards recognize tourist attraction.

Completing a month of successes in September, Seppeltsfield’s wine offer itself has also been graced with  recognition, with the Solero DP116 Aged Flor Apera being awarded Trophy for Best Fortified Wine and Best  Museum White Fortified Wine, at the 2016 Barossa Wine Show.

Image: Seppeltsfield’s Matthew Pick (Winemaker), Nicole Hodgson (Tourism & Events Manager) and Chad Elson (Sales & Marketing Manager). Image credit – Dragan Radocaj Photography.

2014 Special Selection red wines

The team at Sacred Hill has released the 2014 Special Selection red wines from their Gimblett Gravels Vineyard; Helmsman Cabernet Merlot, Brokenstone Blend and Deerstalkers Syrah.

According to the company, the wines are characterised by richness and depth of flavour, with supple tannin balance and elegance of structure.

Sacred Hill Helmsman 2014

Winemaker’s note – Inky deep colour. Rich aromas of chocolate, cassis, dark berry, violets, roasted meats and savoury dried herb notes. The fine tannin structure builds intensity in the palate to a plush mid-palate texture, wonderful forest floor complexity, and a fine and lingering finish. A very classical and elegantly powerful wine.

Sacred Hill Brokenstone 2014

Winemaker’s note – Deep plummy red. Complex aromas of baked plum, sweet leather, dark flowers, cedar, licorice and baking spices. The palate is supple with sweet black fruits, baked plum, sage and dark chocolate notes. The structure is fine with soft chalky tannins and a lovely slatey/mineral aftertaste.

Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah 2014

Winemaker’s note – Excellent depth of colour. Lifted floral nose with black pepper, blue flowers, milk chocolate and sweet black berries and dark cherry notes. The palate has profound depth, yet elegance and style. Ripe black berry and cherry flavours are enhanced by black pepper spice and hints of minerality.  A powerful and finely structured Syrah.



Demand from China good news for Aus wine industry

The growth of Australia’s wine industry over the last twelve months can in large part be attributed to demand from China’s middle class, according to a leading wine critic.

James Halliday told ABC News Breakfast that China now takes 50 per cent of Australia’s highest-price wines and this is good news for the local industry.

“In the 12 months to June 30, Australian wine exports to China increased in value by 50 per cent [to $419 million]. Over the same period of time the US increased by 9 per cent,” he said.

Halliday added that the fact that the US has its own strong wine industry makes it harder for Australian wines to establish themselves there. In contrast, he said, the Chinese wine industry is still growing and has not yet reached comparable strength.

“China is starting to make some good-quality wine right up north, with a lot of Australian and French input … but it is still, and is likely to be, a slow-growing industry,” he said.

According to a report released last week by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Wine Grape Growers Australia, this year there was an increase of 6 per cent in the national crush to an estimated 1.81 million tonnes.

In addition, it found that the average price paid for wine grapes grew by 14 per cent to $526 per tonne across Australia, the highest average price since 2009.

The increase in the weighted average purchase price was supported by an increase in the amount of fruit sold in the top graded categories of above $1500 per tonne.

Aus tracer technology to combat Chinese counterfeit wine

YPB’s anti-counterfeit technology is the latest product developed to counter the growing trend of counterfeit wine.

The technology involves an invisible ‘tracer’ mixed with paint, plastics or ink and applied to wine bottle closures, corks or labels enabling retailers and consumers to check the bottles for authenticity. Combined with YPB’s customer “connect” technology, this solution is designed to protect and detect and importantly connect brands with customers.

The solution suite, manufactured and distributed by Australian anti-counterfeit and product authentication company YPB Group, was displayed at the 16th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference and Trade Exhibition, held in Adelaide this week.

Counterfeit wine is a significant and growing issue, especially in China. Recent reports show that China is now on par with the USA in terms of wine exports (by value) for Australia and increased by 71 per cent in 2015.

YPB has led the market in combatting counterfeiting – particularly in the wine industry through a mix of Invisible tracer technology and the use of QR codes and NFC technologies. YPB is the only company able to offer an end-to-end solution covering authentication and connecting brand owners with their consumers through their YPB Connect Platform.

Independent wine commentator Jeremy Oliver estimates up to 50 per cent of wine costing $35+ per bottle sold in China is fake – either with a fake label, a refilled bottle or a copycat brand.

“Early counterfeit wine was easy to spot in China, because the labels were inferior, the English on the labels was unusual, and even the bottle shapes were often incorrect,” Oliver said. “But lately wine counterfeiters have become more professional. They are putting fake wine labels on cleanskin bottles, or refilling empty bottles with inferior wine – often from countries like Chile and Argentina – and then recorking and recapping them.”

“I have heard stories that the average bottle of champagne in China is filled seven times and in November 2012 police in Wenzhou Province seized nearly 10,000 bottles of counterfeit Chateaux Lafite Rothschild. Estimates are that around 30 million bottles of so-called Chateau Lafite are sold in China each year, from a winery whose total production is around 200,000 bottles and whose China allocation is around 50,000 bottles.”

YPB Group’s tracer is made under a patented process from rare earth inorganic materials, it is invisible, indestructible, unable to be copied, and can be incorporated into almost any material, in the case of wine it can be applied to the capsules that cover the tops of wine bottles, wine labels or boxes. Hand-held readers detect the tracer on the packaging or bottle thereby proving the authenticity of the product. The hand-held readers, which can be used by distributors, wholesalers, and retailers are inexpensive and simple to use.

YPB’s tracer can be used to protect many types of goods including food, wine and clothing. It meets FDA Food contact standards in China, Europe and USA.

In May this year YPB announced an agreement with global packaging company Orora, permitting Orora to offer YPB’s ‘Protect Detect Connect’ solutions to its clients. Orora, which has annual turnover of around $3.5 billion, provides packaging solutions to the manufacturers of beverages, fruit and vegetables, meat and seafood producers within Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and Mexico.

John Houston, executive chairman of YPB Group, said global counterfeiters were growing in sophistication, affecting both consumers and manufacturers.

“Consumers are often not getting what they think they are buying and manufacturers’ brands are at risk,” he said. “Each year the worldwide counterfeit trade in all goods is worth $US 1.7 trillion. More and more companies are realising that nothing will change unless they actively combat the counterfeit trade.”

YPB’s anti-counterfeit technology has also been adopted by governments and is currently in 18 million e-passports worldwide.