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Old vines for premium wines, says Wine Australia

Home to some of the oldest vines in the world, Australia needs to keep telling the fascinating stories of its proud heritage, according to a panel of experts at Wine Australia’s Old Vines seminar in London recently.

Hosted by wine journalist Sarah Ahmed and featuring Wynns Head Winemaker Sue Hodder, journalist Jamie Goode and Hewitson Winemaker Dean Hewitson, the seminar explored Australia’s old vines through 15 premium wines.

Ahmed said Australia has a proud story to tell about its old vine history and all 15 wines had great stories behind them.

“What we know for sure is if these old vines are still there, then they are great vineyards and that’s what it’s about and where it all starts’, she said.

Australia has been growing vines since the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 and today continues to make fine wines from plantings that date as far back as 1847.

The seminar was the first of its kind for Wine Australia, and featured wines including Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne; Turkey Flat Shiraz, with a winemaking lineage that goes back to the 1860s, and Schild Estate Moorooroo, which is produced from 1847 vines.

Guest and wine personality Oz Clarke said Australia should continue telling its old vine stories.

“They are older than almost any other wines in the world and it’s a part of the Australian culture that you should emphasise again and again,” he said. “It’s thrilling that Wine Australia does these small seminars for us. It allows us to learn in a way that you simply can’t from big, general tastings.”

Laura Jewell, Wine Australia Head of Market UK and Europe, said the audience was clearly captivated by the history of Australian vines.

“Australia has some of the oldest vines in the world – certainly the oldest Shiraz and Mouvèdre – and South Australia in particular has vines unaffected by Phylloxera that were planted in the mid-1800s,” she said. “This seminar explored how that affects the resulting wines and their complexity.”

Jewell said the Old Vines seminar was an opportunity to remind attendees of the rich winemaking history, in spite of our nation’s relative youth, and to champion the stories that set the foundations of Australia’s fine wine story.

“We were delighted by the lively discussion and questions from guests.”

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WID 2018