Posts Tagged ‘Australian’

Ripe for the picking.

Ripe for the picking.

 

Australian wineries are proving popular with Chinese buyers keen to ensure their supply of wine.

 
WINE PRODUCERS in every corner of the globe have set their sights on China’s vast and increasingly wine-friendly population, but nowhere more so than in Australia.

Australian wineries see themselves as particularly well placed to service the growing Chinese interest in wine; partly because Australia is an English-speaking country that’s geographically within easy reach of the Asian continent, and partly because their softer, rounder styles of wine seem to be suited to the Chinese palate.

However, it’s been well publicised that Australian wineries have been through some challenging times in recent years. With tough market conditions, excess production and falling grape prices, numerous small businesses have been hitting the wall. In many ways, it’s an investor’s dream.

Some Australian wineries have launched an attack, opening export offices and even cellar doors in major Chinese cities. However in recent months the tide has been turning, and the Chinese have been travelling to Australia to ensure their supply of wine in the best possible way: buying wineries.

At any given time, it’s difficult to pinpoint the precise number of Australian wineries that are in negotiations to sell to a Chinese buyer.

In some cases it’s simply that some level of financial backing has been taken on board, but rumours of takeover bids and potential new ownership swirl around companies large and small in every wine region in the country. Many of the buyers approaching Australia already control routes to market in their homeland.

 

Read on …

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Australian Vintage is proving its determination to overcome challenges posed by a strong domestic currency with the announcement of a flurry of new product launches for the UK this year.

 

Julian Dyer, general manager for the UK & Europe at Australian Vintage, highlighted McGuigan’s position as “one of the fastest growing Australian brands” in the UK at the moment.

Despite acknowledging that, with the strong Australian dollar, “you have to be really lean to stay competitive” – the European office now bottles “over half” of all its wines in the UK – Dyer insisted: “The UK is a great market and we shouldn’t talk it down.”

Read on …

 

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Australia’s commodities boom created the $200,000 high-school dropout, the world’s richest woman, and the least affordable housing market on earth. And it could soon put a dent in the makers of Yellow Tail, the best selling Australian wine in America. From the WSJ’s Caroline Henshaw:

Australia’s largest family-owned winery relies on the U.S. for three-quarters of its sales, but the Australian dollar’s rise against the U.S. dollar has made its products less competitive against wines from rival regions such as California’s Napa Valley and South America.

Casella Wines is looking to shave costs and secure a deal with lender National Australia Bank ahead of an extended Jan. 30 deadline. A failure to secure a new loan could force the company to sell off vineyards or other assets, Chief Executive John Casella told The Wall Street Journal.
Read on …

(Image courtesy of Martin Philbey)

(Image courtesy of Martin Philbey)

 

A soaring Australian dollar, cash-rich mining industry and continuous in-store promotional discounts has led Australians to develop a serious thirst for Champagne.

In 2011, Champagne sales in Australia jumped by more than 30% to 4.8 million bottles.

With the average Champagne consumer in their late thirties, in Australia Champagne is often enjoyed at outdoor social gatherings such as horse racing, weddings and festivals, where it is drunk as an apéritif without food, meaning sales tend to be seasonal.

In Australia, twice as many people buy Champagne to drink themselves rather than to offer as a gift, with women accounting for 66% of the consumption.

The state of New South Wales alone accounts for 37% of Champagne consumption and Sydney’s “diamond collective” –  women in their 20s, 30s and 40s with high incomes, is its heartland.
Read on …

Get rid of your bad wine!

Get rid of your bad wine!

 

Think your Christmas wine is only fit for cooking? An Australian winery has the answer.

For wine lovers, the holiday season is a tricky one. While wine gifts may be gladly received, all too often the bottles presented are best suited to making risotto. But in Australia, marketers have come up with a positive solution.

Fifth Leg, a Western Australian brand owned by Treasury Wine Estates, is organizing a “Bad Taste Amnesty” for later this month. Under the one-day scheme, any Australian who wants to get rid of an unwanted wine can trade it for a bottle of Fifth Leg wine.

Whether the boss has handed over a basic table red, or a dinner guest has brought a bargain-bin pinot grigio that resembles vinegar, those bottles in the back of the cupboard can be exchanged for a more palatable wine.
Read on …

 

You devil, you!

You devil, you!

 

 

We consider the fast-growing interest and investment in Tasmania in our second of ten installments on Australia’s evolving wine industry.

In keeping with Australia’s continued search for yet cooler regions and leaner wine styles, its southernmost state, Tasmania, is becoming one of the most fashionable sources for grapes.

The fact the so-called Apple Isle exhibits a similar climate to New Zealand – both North and South Islands – is a further incentive for Australian winemakers, particularly those attempting to produce Down Under’s best Pinot Noir.

While plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay may be nothing new to Tasmania, grapes once exclusively destined for sparkling wine – the island’s most famous export – are increasingly being used to make still wines.

And proof of the island’s quality potential has been powerful in recent times: for example, Penfold’s Yattarna 2008 was crowned best Chardonnay in the inaugural James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge in September, and the famous producer had sourced 89% of its grapes from Tasmania in this vintage.

As Peter Gago admitted in a meeting with the drinks business at the end of last year, “If there is a trend in Yattarna Chardonnay, it’s that there’s more and more Tasmanian fruit in it” – pointing out that 96% of the Chardonnay in the more recent 2010 vintage had come from the island.

However, with the other 4% from the Adelaide Hills, he added, “Tasmania is more important but not all important”.

Meanwhile, Australia’s prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy was won by the Glaetzer Dixon Family’s Mon Père Shiraz 2010, which was made exclusively from grapes grown on the Apple Isle.

Read on …

 

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The third of our 10-part analysis on Australian wine trends considers the country’s embrace of Italian grapes and newfound success with the Moscato wine style.

Although the planting of Mediterranean varieties from Greece, Spain and Portugal is in vogue, it’s the potential of those from Italy that really seems to be exciting winemakers Down Under.

Historically, as André Bondar, at McLaren Vale’s Mitolo, records: “Australia used to plant French varieties regardless,” but today growers are realising that many Italian grapes are more suitable to certain climates in Australia.

For Corrina Wright, director at McLaren Vale grower and producer Oliver’s Taranga: “Italian varieties in general are gaining traction because they have high natural acidity and a lovely texture and they are well adapted to heat spikes.”

Notably she has planted five acres of Sagrantino. “We’ve had it for 12 years and it’s hard to grow and low cropping, but produces wines with fabulous tannins.” She would like to plant white grape Greco too, she says, but has run out of vineyard space.

For many, Sangiovese elicits excitement. Coriole’s Mark Lloyd points out that he was the first to grow Sangiovese in the country, having planted it in 1985 in the McLaren Vale because, he recalls: “It was going to be the antithesis of big, sweet Shiraz.”

Read on …

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Click the link to read the full report:

Australian Wine Grape Production Projections for 2013-14

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Penfolds has announced its most expensive collector’s item to date – a complete vertical for £1.2m.
The centrepiece of the one-off ‘Penfolds Collection’ is a complete vertical of Grange from its first experimental vintage in 1951 (pictured) through to the current 2007.

It comes hot on the heels of its controversial £100,000 Ampoule launch earlier this year,

Each bottle of Grange has been authenticated and signed by one of Penfolds’ Chief winemakers including the late founder Max Schubert, John Duval and current incumbent Peter Gago.

The deep-pocketed purchaser of the collection will also receive a set of 13 magnum cases which include both the ultra-rare 2004 Bin 60A and the 2008 Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet-Shiraz. They will also be sent a case of Penfolds icon and luxury wines for the next ten years.

That’s not all. An additional part of the package is £50,000 to spend on acquiring other older Penfolds wines to add to the collection. Also included are two business class tickets to Adelaide, followed by a VIP tour and tasting at Penfolds Magill Estate. This comes with two nights’ accommodation and dinner at the Magill Estate Restaurant.

Gago believes this is probably the finest set of Penfolds wines ever to be… read on

A distinctive eucalypt smell makes Australian reds easy to spot in a blind tasting. But how does it get into the wines?

 

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Would you like some mint in your cabernet? Or perhaps a dash of eucalypt in your shiraz? If so, you’ll need a vineyard near eucalyptus trees and Australia has plenty of those on offer, endowing the country’s red wines with a distinctly minty character.

The aromatic compound that causes this character is called 1,8-cineole. First identified by a German scientist in 1884, it is the main component found in the oil from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. But to this day, nobody has quite fathomed out its journey from tree to bottle.

There have been conflicting theories. A French study suggested that the compound originated in eucalyptus trees surrounding vineyards and was airborne, while an Italian group proposed that aromatic compounds in grapes, known as terpenes, were the creators of 1,8-cineole.

In an attempt to get to the heart of the issue, the Australian Wine and Research Institute (AWRI) in Adelaide set out to confirm just why so many of the country’s cabernet sauvignon and shiraz-based wines are affected. In a study of 190 wines, it found that the existence of eucalyptus trees near grapevines can influence the concentration of the compound. The closer the trees, the higher the concentration of the minty smell.

Digging deeper, the AWRI then discovered that the machine harvesting of rows close to eucalyptus trees was likely to result in leaves from the trees being mixed in with the bins of grapes. Among their key findings, the scientists reported that even hand harvesting could “result in a surprising number of eucalyptus leaves in the picking bins.” From their experiments, they concluded that the “presence of eucalyptus leaves and, to a lesser extent, grape-vine leaves and stems in the harvested grapes” were the “main contributor to 1,8-cineole concentrations in the wine.”

But that didn’t explain how even meticulous producers, who remove the eucalyptus leaves from their grapes before processing the fruit, still end up with a minty smell in their cabernets. The answer, it appears, can be found in the… read on