The future of Small Australian Winemakers

Trends in the wine world are quite common, things falling in and out of fashion but for sometime now especially here in Australia  we have witnessed the development of a trend of ” bigness” & the creation of  mega wine brand organizations. Today 4 brands own more than 80% of all wine brands in Australia. We have at the same time witnessed  the growth of the big box liquor retailers who now represent more than 45% of all wines sold here in Australia, both of these factors have really changed the game and not so much for the better. Mark Watson from Wine and Grapegrower commented recently  “Like it or not, retail consolidation has changed the face of the Australian wine industry forever. Its impact has been far-reaching and varied. For...

Europe’s 2012 Vintage is in full swing

The 2012 Vintage is well under way in Europe and by all accounts despite a pretty damp and wet winter we are going to see some stunning examples of great European wines being made. I just received a number of great pictures of the harvest in full swing at one of our favourite wine makers and partners Weingut Ziereisen, where Hanspeter and his wife Edel (pictured below) have been in full swing with preparing their fruit from the harvest. What I love about Hanspeter and indeed many of our wine making partners is that the bulk if not all of their fruit is hand picked, which allows the wine maker to be ultra selective in the fruit that he finally crushes and converts into his wines. this attention to detail and care really does come through when you get to taste the...

Switzerland the Land of Vines & Wines

  Switzerland is usually associated with banks, watches, great skiing, resorts, cheeses, alpine walks, cows & chocolate. But for hundred of years local wine makers & farmers have been keeping their wines secret, often only sold locally within the village or occasionally making their way across the Italian, French and German borders …but not   that often I Iove the look I get when I  mention to people here in Australia that we import Swiss wines….” do the Swiss actually makes wines” they say, well yes they do & normally my stock standard answer is that there 4 good reasons why- they are called Italy, Germany, Austria & France, so why should the Swiss miss out becuase they are surrounded by these great wine growing...

The benefits of Red Wine- always knew that they existed

The benefits of Red Wine- always knew that they existed

If you have been following the many and numerous debates concerning the consumption of alcohol and especially wine there take heart those wonderful scientists have found that it is OK for us to drink… especially red wine well still in moderation A recent study in the US has shown that  a chemical found in red wine prevents some of the fatty food we eat from being converted in fatty tissue. The well respected Journal of Biological Chemistry found that the piceatannol which is found is grape skins and red wine , effectively acts as a blocking agent for the formation of fat cells- this has to be great news for all of us red wine drinkers. As humans when we consume food it either converted into energy or fat , so it is a pretty simple equation that most of us...

A Rose by any other name-English Sparkling wines or is it all just Fizz?

A Rose by any other name-English Sparkling wines or is it all just Fizz?

I remember it was about 4 years ago a great English mate of ours Mark Bostock and his lovely wife Helen first introduced us to the concept & delights of fine sparkling wines from the UK. (sorry we cannot call them Champagne) We were living in Switzerland at the time and I thought how could these wines ever compare to the fine French champagnes we had tried so many times before? Well much to our surprise they were great and showed great style and finesse- mind you I love being proven wrong about things especially when it comes to wine. The British wine industry and especially those makers of sparkling wines continue to grow and develop, exceed the critics assessment & determinations and continue to deliver quality which is as good as many  ” big...

Wine Ratings: what do they really mean?

Wine Ratings: what do they really mean?

I am not sure if you have ever noticed that now more than ever when you see an advertisement for wines you see that they are normally given a rating of some form or shape. Wow this looks impressive ” Wine X has been given a rating of 92/100 by wine merchant Y”, well I should be impressed as clearly this must be a good wine if it has received this type of rating. Its funny I was discussing this very issue with friends of mine just yesterday when I twigged that like me they struggled to really understand what this really mean as they asked me ‘ what the ratings for some of our wines  really mean’”.  Do they in fact provide a fair indication of wines quality or do they simply help us to  better understand and benchmark our wines (...

Off the beaten track

Off the beaten track

You know one of the great things of wine is you never know what surprises you are going to find and what great wines are just tucked away in places you would never think to discover. This past weekend we decided to explore a little more about our won backyard and the wines of the Shoalhaven region just 2 hours to the south of Sydney. These wines whilst not of world renowned status have really come on in leaps and bounds and the quality and variety of wine being produced in this region is really starting to improve greatly and is one of those regions I would say along with the Southern Highlands of New South Wales that you should be keeping a closer eye on. We were staying with friends in the stunning Kangaroo Valley and they recommended that we take a drive an...