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18/06/2009

Unsung hero of the Adelaide Hills takes gold in London

The 2008 Tomich Hill Riesling has been awarded a gold medal at London’s 2009 International Wine Challenge, the world’s largest and most prestigious wine competition.

Only six Australian Rieslings of the 240 Rieslings from around the world achieved gold from more than 9,500 entries. The International Wine Challenge (IWC) has cemented its place as the best and biggest blind tasting in the world.

Judges comments in summary were “Lime and citrus nose. Young and fresh acidity. Beautiful floral Riesling. Complex. Tasty. Needs time to bring out the delicacy, but has a good future ahead of it”.

Tomich is a new name in the Adelaide Hills but the Tomich family has an expansive history in agriculture that stretches three generations. From the humble beginnings on a Sunraysia fruit block, to today’s interests of beef production, cropping, viticulture and now, winemaking.

“It’s not only a passion, but a dream to be making top quality wine. We’ve nurtured every berry from our vineyard into the bottle. It’s our first gold medal,” said Randal Tomich about the award.

The Adelaide Hills region of South Australia is best known for producing Australia's purest and most desirable Sauvignon Blanc. However this region is fast challenging other regions’ claim to the crown over other varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and now Riesling. New varieties such as Pinot Gris, Viognier, Nebbiolo and Zinfandel are being embraced and nurtured by Adelaide Hills winemakers.

The Tomich family chose to establish their prize-winning vineyard in the Adelaide Hills because of the region’s water quality and soil profiles, which suited Randal’s passion for focusing on premium white varieties.

The Tomich vineyard was a mixed farming property first established in 1840, by the South Australian Company, located on Onkaparinga Rd at Woodside in the Adelaide Hills.

Planted in 2002, the four main Riesling clones selected and planted were the German clone GM 98 which produces the amazing fruit lift, Pewsey Vale which offers excellent mid palate lift, Leasingham heritage clone and Penfolds High Eden clone, both of which develop the structure.

Minimal input farming, soil conservation and improvements have been almost an obsession. Randal uses natural methods such as mulch additions and composted organic cow manure to minimise any impact on the biodiversity of flora and fauna in the natural wildlife corridor and water catchment that exists through the Adelaide Hills property.

Fruit quality and character is entirely linked to the vineyard and management decisions, however Randal Tomich firmly believes that the performance of his vineyard and fruit quality directly relates to the specific site selection and soil preparation.

Randal was so convinced that he masterminded the Vibrosoiler, a unique vibrating winged soil ripper that breaks up sub soil compaction and more effectively mixes the topsoil with the underlying subsoils improving water penetration and root growth.

“The Riesling blocks are planted on very gravelly soils depleted in organic matter. With yearly deep ripping and soil conditioning, canopy growth has been uniform and excellent. It’s the extra canopy growth that the vines produced that made the difference in 2008,”Randal said.

Consultant winemaker Peter Leske commented on the award and related it to warmer, dryer seasonal conditions.

“This is clearly impacting on everyone,” Leske said. “But contributing positively to the style of our Riesling and our success. South Australian wine regions are becoming warmer, but for the Adelaide Hills, this means stylistically we are producing terrific Riesling.”

“The impact of this award on all of the wines, in particular the Riesling, has been dramatic. This award couldn’t come at a better time for us. We’re just expanding our market presence across Australia by appointing InWine Distribution in all eastern state capital cities and Perth together with our existing distributors.

“A new range of wines are about to be released; our new reds – a Bordeaux inspired blend and a Shiraz. We also will be releasing a range of sparkling wines and a wonderful dessert wine. The renovation of our tasting rooms on King William Rd Unley is also about to commence,” he said.

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