SA wineries make a positive and lasting impression

South Australian wineries are setting new benchmarks as they embrace history, culture, new investments and alternative varieties.


Culture and practices project

A PROJECT DESIGNED to capture the history and cultural practices of the wine regions in South Australia's Limestone Coast is underway.
A production team has been filming on-site interviews with key identities - in some cases original grapegrowers and winemakers.
'The project provided a rare opportunity to document and interview wine pioneers who were instrumental to the birth and development of the industry,' said Sue Bell, chair of the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council.
'It's important to understand the personality of each region, why it exists and its reason for being - and the only way that we can move forward is to understand the past.'
Prominent national wine writers Nick Ryan, Mike Bennie and Jane Faulkner were flown in to perform the first series of interviews, in order to bring out the best in the talent, foster new relationships and ultimately help expose the Limestone Coast to a broader global marketplace.
The key objective is to produce one 15-minute historical summary episode from each region, capturing the essence of why and where these pioneers planted vineyards and where they found the technical and anecdotal inspiration. 
The videos can be viewed at:


Petaluma invests in new winery

Woodside, a suburb nestled in the Adelaide Hills, will be the location of the new multi-million dollar winery by Petaluma.
The new site, with views of Mount Lofty, marks the next chapter in Petaluma's story, with planning already underway to build the winery.
Petaluma senior winemaker Andrew Hardy said the announcement was fantastic news for the winemaking team.
'We have always known we would eventually move to a new home and the Petaluma team is delighted to have found such a perfect location. We can now move forward with confidence doing what we love most: growing grapes and crafting regionally distinctive wines,' he said.
The first Petaluma vintage at the new winery is expected to be 2015.

Winestate awards Geoff Hardy top accolade

One of Australia's most influential wine magazines has awarded Wines by Geoff Hardy the prestigeous accolade of Winery of the Year.
Winestate magazine reviewed more than 11,000 wines to come to its decision regarding Australia's finest wine producer, which is awarded to the winery achieving the largest number of high ranking wines during the tasting period.
The magazine also credited the winery's winemaker, Shane Harris, with the title of Winemaker of the Year.
Wines by Geoff Hardy owner, Geoff Hardy, said it was wonderful to be recognised by Winestate.
'The family and I have been working so hard over the last few years to ensure our vineyards are producing the best grapes possible, introducing new varieties and experimenting with what works in the various South Australian climates we can draw from. This commitment has really paid off for us with this result,' he said.


Alternative varieties shine

The Riverland Alternative Wine Group has received a positive response from the wine trade in Melbourne and Sydney following a recent showcase of the region's alternative varieties.
The group, in conjunction with leading wine stores and restaurants, hosted a series of sell-out dinners and activities over five days to show the cities that the Riverland does produce premium wine.
'The great thing about wine consumers in those cities is they don't have a preconceived view about Riverland wine. In fact many of them don't even know that the Riverland is a wine-producing region,' said Chris Byrne, chief executive of the Riverland Winegrape Growers Association.
The trip proved to be a good opportunity for members of the RWGA to meet sommeliers, restaurant owners and wine retail specialists.
'The feedback was strong and positive, with much encouragement to continue to developing the wines from alternative varieties grown in the Riverland,' Byrne said.
Winemakers involved included Yalumba, Oak Works, Angove Family Winemakers, Bassham Wines, Whistling Kite, Kingston Estate, Selena Estate and Cock + Bull.

Riverland viti group holds field days
The Riverland Viticultural Technical Group kept busy towards the Christmas break, holding two special field days on spray technology and vineyard mulching.
The spray technology workshop took place on 14 December at Kingston Estate vineyards, where six spray plant manufacturers demonstrated their machines and answered questions from more than 130 growers. The workshop also featured supporting presentations from Peter Magarey and Alison MacGregor.
On 21 December, more than 30 members attended a vineyard walk to observe a local mulching trial at Loveday near Barmera. During the recent drought, irrigation restrictions pushed the price of temporary water to well beyond $1000 per ML.
RWGA chief executive Chris Byrne says the ongoing financial repercussions can still be observed.
'Many growers sold off assets, removed parts of vineyards or borrowed to buy water to enable vines to survive,' he said.
'Lessons were learned, however, and Ricca Terra Farms (RTF) - with properties in Barmera, Loveday and the Barossa - instigated a mulching programme.'
For the past two years, RTF management have been conducting trials to determine the extent of potential water-savings through the use of mulch with variable irrigation outputs between 1L/hr and 2.3L/hr.


Mature wine pays off for Fox Creek

The 2009 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz has won the trophy for Best Shiraz/Syrah for its 2009 Reserve Shiraz at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London.
The award comes on top of two trophies and 14 gold medals awarded to six different Fox Creek wines at international wine shows.
Fox Creek senior winemaker Scott Zrna said the 2009 Reserve Shiraz was an example of wines that improve as they mature in the bottle.
'We thought it was a good wine when we bottled it, but over time we have seen it open up and grow into an amazingly elegant, balanced and finessed wine, showing flavour and complexity on many levels,' Zrna said.
The announcement of IWSC results come after Fox Creek 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon won the judges award for the Best Cabernet Sauvignon in Class 14 at the South Australian Wine of the Year Awards in September.
The same Cabernet Sauvignon also won the Australian Red Bordeaux Varietal Regional Trophy at the inaugural Decanter Asia Wine Awards in Hong Kong.

Brash on Nero
McLaren Vale winemaker Brad Hickey of Brash Higgins Wines has just bottled his second vintage of Nero d'Avola - and is expecting some sound results.
Planted to the Omensetter vineyard in McLaren Vale, the 2011 Nero d'Avola wine under Brash Higgins went on to win the best emerging red title at this year's Good Wine Guide Awards by Nick Stock.
Known as NDV, the 2012 Nero d'Avola spends seven months on skins in a 200L beeswax-lined amphora that was made especially for Brash Higgins by Adelaide master potter, John Bennett.
'Being a sommelier in my past life, I wanted to try to make something new and interesting in McLaren Vale,' Hickey said.
'Nero d'Avola seemed like it would be a good fit, since our climate in the Vale is remarkably similar to Sicily: warm and dry.'
Hickey recently tasted the 2012 wine for the first time and was impressed with the results.
'The 2012 Nero is clearer than the 2011 version and has a better mid palate, darker colour and more structure due to the warmer year,' he said.
'It's a finer wine, I believe, with more brightness than the 2011 wine at this stage, but a lot of the same aromatics of lavender, candied ginger and black cherries. The terrific acidity leads me to think it's built for the longer haul, too.'

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