Let's kick off the new year with a little heresy, shall we? I would like to suggest that Australia's most famous red wine grape, shiraz, might not in fact be the best variety for many of our most famous warmer-climate wine regions such as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. I would like to suggest that if you want a grape variety that most faithfully expresses terroir – that captures the unique combination of country, climate and culture in a glass – then in many cases, in many places, grenache might be a better option.
Treasury Wine Estates has won a legal dispute in Beijing over its right to use the "Ben Fu" trademark in China, a transliteration for its flagship Penfolds brand, the company said on Thursday. The judgment, handed down by Beijing High People's Court, found that a Chinese individual who had registered the Ben Fu trademark in 2009 had "failed to demonstrate any genuine use of the trademark for wine or related business activities," Treasury Wines said in a statement. "This trademark will subsequently be cancelled, allowing for TWE to claim its right to ownership of the Ben Fu trademark registration and to freely use this trademark across China."
You’ve probably heard the saying that Australia was built by “riding on the sheep’s back”.
This may have been true up to the 1950s, but roll forward to today and we in South Australia are still an agribusiness-driven economy, you just have to look at the numbers. South Australian wine makes up 70 per cent of Australia’s premium wine exports. Exports of differentiated and processed food and wine is to exceed $3.5b this year. This year, Adelaide joined the Great Wine Capitals Global Network adding to the state’s global reputation for premium food and wine tourism.
The world of wine is still a long way from being an equal-opportunities employer. "The current estimation of women in the Australian wine industry is 8-10 percent," says Fiona Donald, senior winemaker at Seppeltsfield Wines. "How can this be when, at graduation, the gender ratio is 50:50?" Such accusations of sexism are, of course, levied at many industries, particularly in areas like engineering, aviation and the armed forces. Yet, the general perception is that wine is a "nice" or softer industry, full of passionate professionals who love their craft.
Wine importer Buckingham Schenk is expanding its Antipodean portfolio by adding Kreglinger Wine Estates and its brands Pipers Brook and Norfolk Rise. Tasmanian label Pipers Brook garnered a reputation in the UK in the early nineties when its wines were distributed through a number of independents. Craig Durham, managing director at Buckingham Schenk, said: “We are really delighted to be working with Kreglinger Wine Estates who are highly respected by many in the trade. Australia has a reputation for some amazing wines and we hope these wineries from Tasmania and Mount Benson can offer a real point of difference for our customers.”
Wickman's Wine Gossip
With the new release of the Penfolds Grange (2006) hitting the retail outlets
at $599 a bottle, you have to ask yourself where the investment in Grange is these
days. Remember, just because it initially sells for $599 doesn't mean that's what
it is worth; it is only worth as much as the next person who wants to buy it is
willing to pay. In the mid-1990's Penfolds decided to release Grange at Market price,
which is set by the auction market of course. Hubris seems to suggest pricing policy
at Penfolds is out of touch these days as the average market price of the last few
releases is only $400 !!
The Noon mailers are now out and the cellar door will only be open for
3 weekends from the 13th of November. No eclipse this year and everyone on the mailing
list is limited to 3 bottles each of the reserves.
The Greenock Creek mailers are now out and in circulation. The Wendouree have
been and gone and Noons will be coming up very shortly.
The Christmas & New Years retail period had a few surprises in store as
discretionary spending was down on wine (considering the time of year this is unusual).
Historically this will see more wine bargains at the retail end which will affect
the price paid at auction for at least the 1st quarter of 2010.
The Noons mailers are out again and there will be NO Reserve Cabernet or Reserve
Shiraz available this year.
The Noons mailers are out and the cellar door will be open for 3 weekends only
from Saturday the 15th of November. Very, very strict limits per customer this year
only 1 reserve cabernet, 1 eclipse and 2 reserve shiraz per person.
The Wendouree mailers have been out for some time and wines have started arriving
to select customers already. If you are one of the lucky few to be on the list and
if you are puzzled by the crayon marks that appear on your order form, head to one
of the online wine forums like
Auswine and read the
inevitable annual discussions about it.
The latest release of Robert Parkers wine advocate was published to the internet
last week, with a specialised Australia Report containing many of our current releases.
However, mixed reactions to this publication are being noted because Robert Parker
is no longer doing the tasting, but one of his employees has been contracted to
taste through the Australian wine. How this affects the demand for these wines will
be interesting, but not really significant at the moment until the US / AUD exchange
rate settles down a bit.
The Noon mailers have started to arrive with the cellar door opening on Saturday
the 17th of November and closing the 2nd of December. Drew is announcing their advancement
into the internet era with their very own website.
Well done to Bremerton in Langhorne Creek! The national press have been having
a field day with James Halliday's latest scores released this week. It seems that
the 2004 Bremerton Old Adam shiraz rated up with Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill
of Grace. The problem is that the 2004 Old Adam is in short supply and people seem
to be turning to the secondary market and pushing up the prices of earlier vintages.
A massive amount of wine from the failed Heritage Wine Investment fund
is hitting the secondary market in June and will have an affect on auction prices
over the next few months.
The latest Wine Advocate has just been released earlier this week. Robert Parker
has assigned very high points to a number of Australian wines, in particular a relatively
new winery, Mollydooker, has had its wines awarded points from 99 (for the Mollydooker
Carnival of Love shiraz) through to 92 points for the Mollydooker Cabernet. The
2003 Greenock Creek, Creek Block Shiraz along with the 2001 Chris Ringland
Shiraz have hit perfect 100 point scores and have sent their secondary market values
The latest 2005 Noon wines are being delivered and the cellar door is due to
open on the 18th November for those that are not on the mailing list it is probably
the only opportunity to pick up these sought after wines at cellar door prices.
Tasting notes on back vintages of Oliver's Taranga wines have just been published
An excellent article on collecting wine by Louis Coutts has been published
There appears to be a lot of wine suddenly appear on the grey market. Large
stocks of Clarendon Hills, Howard Park, Katnook, Redbank and more are being discreetly
offered for sale. Possibly the first wave of stock to be released under the liquidators
orders from failed wine investment fund Heritage.
The Kalleske 2004 Greenock Shiraz has hit a limited number of retailers. I will
let my mailing list know which retailers will be stocking it shortly.
The Noon mailer has arrived. A good vintage by the sounds of it with limits
imposed to 6 per person of the 2004 Noon Eclipse, 2004 Noon Reserve Shiraz and 2004
Noon Reserve Cabernet. Drew has also released a new label called Twelve Bells which
was formerly the house red cleanskin.
Drew Noon told me this week that his mailing list will be getting their order
forms for the 2004 vintage in the next week or so.
The 2003 Greenock Creeks are out at cellar door. By all accounts they are massive
wines that are as good as the 2002's but more savoury.
Tasting notes on back vintages of De Bortoli Noble One have just been published
Tasting notes on 1996 Australian Cabernet Sauvignon have just been published
Tasting notes on 1997 Australian Shiraz have just been published
The Kalleske newsletters started to arrive in peoples inboxes yesterday. Those
people who have been on the mailing list since the beginning were rewarded with
an offer to buy a single bottle of the remarkable Johann Georg shiraz and some of
the 2003 Old Vines Grenache (Which I personally believe is a stunning wine). The
few retailers that stocked the wine are reporting that they have already sold out
A recent tasting of the 2003 Kalleske Grenache leads me to believe that it will
be as well received (if not better) than the 2002. Robert Parker gave the 2003 a
potential 96-99 points when he tried it from barrel. The 2003 will be released shortly
but will be very limited, your best bet for obtaining a few bottles would be from
an online retailer such as Auswine or sign up for the
mailing list at Kalleske wines.
An imperial of 2002 Torbreck Les Amis was auctioned off at a recent charity
wine auction in Florida for over $89,000. This is a world record paid for an Australian
wine, the previous record set by an imperial of 1998 Penfolds Grange, auctioned
for $64,000 in 2003.
Tasting notes on 1990-1991 Cabernet Sauvignon have just been published
Tasting notes on new release, 2002 Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon have just
been published here »
Another small winery that is attracting a lot of interest are the wines of Glaymond
in the Barossa. Limited availability at
Numerous internet forums are buzzing with the latest Wine Advocate by Robert
Parker which has many Australian wines scoring in the high nineties. The effect
of this will be to see huge jumps in demand for some of these wines, pushing the
current prices way, way up.
The post office has its work cut out for it with those on the mailing lists
of some of the more hard to get cult wines being flooded with offers at the moment.
Recently Wendouree and now within a few weeks of each other are Greenock creek,
Noons, Rockfords and Kalleske. Greenock creek sold out of their 1999 Roennfeldt
Road cabernet within a few days, Noons allocations are very low this year with a
limit per person of only 4 of the 2003 Eclipse and Drew Noon advising everyone not
to expect too get much at cellar door this year with very strict allocations per
Well, the Kalleske cellar door has sold out of their 2002 releases now, as have
most retailers in Australia. If you are quick, Edinburgh Cellars
in Adelaide still have some of the Greenock Shiraz in stock (2 bottle limit per
Penfolds just last week released their 1999 Grange. Apparently retailers are
reporting that sales and sales queries are much, much lower than last years release
of the 1998!
Heads-up! A couple of recent tastings of the 2002 Sandow's End Pinot Noir Reserve,
some trade gossip and the fact that it is made in micro quantities makes me think
that this will be a highly sought after wine within months. You may like to investigate
yourself by contacting the
Keep your eye out for the 2002 releases from Kalleske wines. Demand already
exceeds supply of these wines. If you have any you wish to sell at in our wine auction
Today Seppelts released their latest 100 year old Para port from 1904.
The 2002 Massena 11th Hour Shiraz has now hit a very limited number of retailers
in Australia. This wine scored (94-97) Points from Robert Parker and has limited
availability. The Auswine online store has these available for approx.
The latest edition of Robert Parkers 'The Wine Advocate' is now being delivered
to subscribers in Australia.
2001 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz is now available from the Cellar Door.
The 2001 Rockford Rifle Range Cabernet Sauvignon is all SOLD OUT and by all accounts
a wonderful wine, anybody got a few to sell ?