Dan's Blog


Friday, May 11, 2018

In these days of instant everything it is difficult to keep up with the pace of change, so here are a few snippets you may have missed and might find interesting.

SRI LANKA:  The Sri Lankan government has advised that it will be repealing Section 12(c) of the 1955 legislation which stated that “No liquor shall be sold to or given to a woman within the premises of a tavern (licenced premises)”.

The law not only prevented women from purchasing alcohol, but also of being in possession of it. Thereby effectively ruling out the possibility of women working in an on-premise situation such as bars, clubs and licenced restaurants as bar staff or waitresses.

While the law has not been strictly enforced for quite a while and many women don’t drink for religious or cultural reasons, its repeal has been widely welcomed.

ENGLAND:  Sales of English wines rose by 31% over the last two years. As a result the plantings of vines are expected to skyrocket this year, with some experts predicting new plantings of up to 6,000 acres across the land, which would represent a 70% increase in new plantings. Best estimates have the 2017 production at around six million bottles, of which two-thirds was sparkling wine which is starting to gain a good reputation around the world. Of the still wines produced, the majority was white wine mainly made using cold tolerant hybrid varieties.

The peak wine body WineGB (Wines of Great Britain) is forecasting that by 2040 England could be producing around 40 million bottles of wine and be employing between 25,000 and 30,000 people. It is also expected that over that timeframe the proportion of “mainstream” or classical varieties will gradually increase at the expense of hybrids – watch this space!

FRANCE:   It has been known for a while now that the French are working on a number of ways to safeguard their wine industry against global warming. In Champagne they are conducting trials using hitherto non-authorised varieties (capable of handling warmer climate), to test the impact on the flavour.

Recent reports have it that Bordeaux is well into the process of creating/breeding several new varieties so as to be able to assure the flavour of their famous wines into the future. It will be interesting to see how the roll out is handled and how it is accepted by the consumers.

On a recent trip to Languedoc-Roussillon for Winestate Magazine, I attended a seminar on how they are working on reducing vineyard inputs by breeding vines that are resistant to both powdery and downy mildew.

This region, the powerhouse of the French wine industry, which produces as much, or more wine than all of Australia, is making positive and practical steps towards ensuring its sustainability. The INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) at Montpellier, has been working for a number of years on crossing Muscadinia rotundifolia with various Vitis Vinifera varieties so as to impart the mildew resistance of the Muscadinia rotundifolia to these varieties, thereby reducing the need for anti-fungal sprays on the vines. Spraying is a much bigger issue than here, due to the wetter weather necessitating a greater number of sprays and also as spray residual toxicity becomes an increasing problem in France. It must be pointed out that all these trials are done through plant breeding techniques and not through any form of genetic modification.

Well, I hope that you have a good week and enjoy some delicious wines irrespective of where in the world they come from.  Cheers!


Wow! Here we are just in the middle of May and I have already received the first vintage 2018 white wine to review.

As it happens, the ARTWINE ADELAIDE HILLS 2018 “THE REAL THING” ALBARINO is an absolute cracking wine.

Naming the wine “THE REAL THING” is brilliantly appropriate after the 2008-2009 scandal when it was discovered that most of the Albariño planted in Australia was in fact, Savagnin. Savagnin is a great variety – I love it! But, it ain’t Albariño – which is what the growers thought they had bought and planted. So they had to start again.

This wine could have equally been called “The Real Deal” as it is a great young Albariño which would fit in nicely in a line-up of young Spanish Albariño.

It is redolent with enticing aromas of citrus and a smidge of steeliness. Is zippy, crisp, bright with delightful citrus flavours and a palate cleansing, lingering finish.  A CLASS ACT!

I also like the fact that they have included the “dryness scale” on the back label, to show that it is a dry wine. I would encourage white wine makers to use this. Especially Riesling producers, so that consumers can see when they pick up a bottle whether it is dry, semi-dry or sweet, rather than possibly get an unexpected surprise when they taste the wine. It’s a great idea! White wine winemakers please use it (IT’S FREE!) to help people buying your wine know what they are getting.

If the rest of the 2018 whites are as good as this one we are in for some bloody brilliant wines my friends!!!

Cheers and enjoy good wine!