Dan's Blog


Friday, March 16, 2018

This week we have a few snippets of wine news from around the world, some of which question the status quo and get one thinking.

DRINKABLE WINE BOTTLES:  It might not be as far-fetched as one would imagine! A mob called, Skipping Rocks Lab, in the UK has created edible water containers in the shape of a sphere. The edible product called – “Ooho!” – is made from plant and seaweed which can be coloured and flavoured. It is a “fresh” product as it only has a shelf life of a few days.

So how long will it be before we are popping water orbs into our mouths? And how long after that will we be able to buy wine orbs? Talk about convenience wine packaging for the football, etc. With the added benefit of how easy it would be to keep track of how much one has consumed. “I have only had three orbs of Chardonnay so I am under the limit” says Mr or Ms X when pulled over to the side of the road by a police officer.

Check out some of the other amazing innovations currently being worked on so as to reduce the damage we cause the environment by clicking on this link:


CHINA:  In January, two women in Macau were nabbed by China Customs trying to smuggle 13 bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild plus some Cognac into the country. The items were hidden in two baby prams. This adds a new meaning to the old expression, “give baby a bottle”!!!

TURKEY:  With growing restrictions and higher taxes, it could soon be easier to find a bottle of quality Turkish wine in London or New York than in Ankara or Istanbul. Due to the increasingly anti-alcohol attitudes and actions of the Erdogan Government, Turkish winemakers are focusing entirely on export sales in order to survive.

Given the excellent quality of the Turkish wines that I have tasted so far I believe that this will be Turkey’s loss and the rest of the wine world’s gain.  If you ever come across a bottle of Turkish wine, my recommendation is to definitely try it. They are a class act, especially the Cotes d’Avanos 2011 Narince (native variety)/Chardonnay that I recently enjoyed with my wine judging panel.

PERU:  A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Peru should ease the way towards rectifying the current imbalance (we export $7million to them and import $115million) – mainly through lamb and wine exports. Currently almost all of Peru’s wine comes from Chile and Argentina – near neighbours but not exactly best friends.

So here is an “out of left field” opportunity for some of the more adventurous Aussie wineries to have a go. Hopefully, over the next few years we can add Australia to that list.

AMERICA:  When somebody mentions the state of Nebraska, most of us think of snow and ice, and maybe grizzly gears. Right?

Well, Nebraska now has a small but rapidly expanding wine industry, which they are trying to add to that image. While they will never rival the “biggies” of American wine (California, Oregon, Washington (state) and Texas – Yes, Texas!), Nebraskans are hoping that more and more of their fellow citizens will over time learn to appreciate their wine – made mainly from specially selected hybrid grape varieties.

GEORGIA:  Hvino, the official arm of the Georgian wine industry has recently advised that some of their wine producers have started adding Braille labels to their wines. For a very small wine producing country, albeit the oldest in the world, Georgia has become very forward thinking and progressive in their marketing. This is somewhat reminiscent of how proactive and ‘avant garde’ Australia used to be in the 1980s and 1990s before we became “mainstream” and more mundane.

Well, I hope that you found these updates interesting. Have a great weekend and enjoy some awesome wines – wherever they may come from. Cheers!


GRÜNER VELTLINER is a native Austrian white grape variety that has taken off like wildfire here in Australia. Yes, it is still minute in the overall terms. BUT since Canberra’s, Lark Hill Winery (biodynamic) launched the very first one in 2009, followed by Hahndorf Hill Winery the next year, we have gone from two producers to 36, in nine years. No other variety has EVER done that in Australia.

Grüner is a fantastic variety that I like to describe as being “Riesling with a bit more oomph” or body.  It is delicious when young and can age fantastically. In 2015, I attended a Grüner tasting in Vienna that included wines going back to 1983 and these oldies were bloody gorgeous!

So, to sum it up the variety is yummy when young, magnificent when middle-aged, and awesome when ancient!!

This week’s wine is the latest release from the guy dubbed as Australia’s “Grüner Grandfather”, Larry Jacobs of Hahndorf Hill Winery, situated in the Adelaide Hills. To give you some idea of the Hahndorf Hill mob’s dedication to this variety: They have six different clones. The grapes are hand harvested over three different stages of ripeness to add complexity and each batch is treated separately. Some are wild yeast fermented, some are fermented in old oak and some are cold fermented (with extended lees contact) before assembling the final wine. Wow!

HAHNDORF HILL 2017 GRU GRÜNER VELTLINER: Complete with the new look label that as they say, “represents the beautiful patchwork of vineyards and fields of the Adelaide Hills”.

On the bouquet there are delightful aromas of citrus, peaches and a smidge of spice. On the palate there are great flavours with a degree of savouriness and a great textural mouthfeel. It is perfectly balanced and very appealing.

This is a very elegant wine which has steely backbone that gives it the ability to age gracefully for a very long time. WORLD-CLASS!