Creative Times

April 25, 2020

In these ultra-challenging times that we are living in, all the “norms” and “usuals” have gone out of the window. Restaurants, pubs and cellar doors are closed, bottle shops are struggling and only some online sites are powering along.

Therefore, it is time for the wine industry to do things different/smarter and more creatively rather than doing the “same old, same old”.

Given the current coronavirus situation, here are a few examples of what some wineries are doing:

► For their “Pig in the House” wine, Cowra’s Windowrie Wines have set up a “Thank a Nurse with a Rosé” scheme, whereby people can buy and send (postage paid by the winery) a bottle (or 6-pack) of Rosé to a nurse to say thank you, for their incredible dedication during these most difficult of times. Bloody brilliant! You can go to this link to learn more:!/Pig-in-the-House-Rosé-2019-Thank-a-Nurse/p/188092711/category=26599497

►McLaren Vale’s boutique winery, Hastwell & Lightfoot, has partnered with other local beverage producers to launch, “McLaren Alcohol Delivery”, via the website:

At present, the site consists of Hastwell & Lightfoot, boutique brewer Swell Brewing Co. and winery Zonte’s Footstep. They are currently in discussions with a local boutique spirits producer and other wineries.

They deliver around Adelaide and are in the process of adding a “click & collect” function to the site, with a number of collection points being organised so that customers don’t have to drive all the way down to the winery to collect their purchases.

►Likewise Queensland’s The Good Beer Co. has organised with a group of boutique breweries around the country so that for $20 you can shout an Essential Services Worker a 4-pack of local beer. A grand concept that says thanks to some of the people who are responsible for keeping us safe and at the same time keeps a local micro-brewery from going belly-up. We funded several packs the other day and would have funded many more if only we’d had any paid work this year.

To check it out and say thanks to some of our unsung heroes go to:

I would urge you to please express gratitude to our brave and dedicated frontline troops who are risking their lives every day to keep the rest of us safe. And, if you hear of any other innovative selling solutions that wineries are using to survive the Coronavirus lockdown, please let me know. Thanks!

On another note, a recent “invention” is smart or cleverly designed wine bottles – see my blog 10-05-2019, “Packaging News”. The shape of the bottles we have is because of the way glass was hand-blown several centuries ago, when bottles were made one at a time by artisan craftsmen.

In these times of 3D printers, etc., and environmental concerns, there is no real reason to continue to package our wine in the inefficient standard wine bottle. We are currently seeing the proliferation of:

►Wines in cans – for portability, practicality and personal safety reasons.

►Wines in casks (Bag in a Box) – for practicality and environmental reasons.

And now thanks to Garçon Wines we are seeing the start of logistically practical and environmentally, ubber friendly, oval (ellipsoid), plastic wine bottles.

To give you an idea of how environmentally friendly they are, a case of their wine consists of 10 x 750ml bottles which is almost exactly the same space-size as four conventional bottles of wine. This is because the bottles have been designed to have flat sides rather than being cylindrical, with eight bottles being stacked vertically (as per normal) and the other two being laid flat in the neck space of the vertical bottles. The bottles are made from 100% recyclable PET so that the weight of this carton is around 8kg, or roughly the same as an ordinary 6-pack. Ten bottles for the weight of six – easier to carry and much more efficient to ship with twice as much wine fitting onto a standard pallet.

In a world first, last month Accolade Wines announced that they are launching the popular Hardys range in the UK, in Garçon bottles (we need to find a generic name for them - like “flat bottles” or “skinny bottles”). These are the first steps in “a thousand mile march” as this evolutionary form of packaging gains momentum – just like screwcaps have over the last 20 years.

Garçon are currently targeting the Scandinavian countries as in almost all, the sale of wine is regulated by the government and they have shown themselves to be very green focused, thus making them an ideal opportunity for these environmentally friendly bottles. We must remember that the bottle’s job is simply to get the wine to the consumer as the winemaker intended it to be. No more, no less.

So that’s it for another week – please stay safe and enjoy great quality wine from wherever and however it is packaged.

This Week's Wine Review:

This week I’m looking at a unique wine which combines two of my favourite red varieties – the native Georgian, SAPERAVI, with the French, DURIF.

Both varieties make big, bold reds in their own right, as I have espoused often enough in the past, especially about DURIF over a long period of time, and more recently since 2009 about the divine monster called, SAPERAVI. Now the fourth generation at BALLANDEAN ESTATE, in Queensland’s Granite Belt, have combined the two to make a big, superb and thoroughly enchanting wine. Unknown to most Aussie wine drinkers the Granite Belt at around 850 metres above sea level is a cool-climate region and they have been busily experimenting with a raft of Emerging varieties. Many of these wines are exceptional and truly world-class.

The BALLANDEAN ESTATE 2017 ‘SINATLIS’ (ironically, Sinatlis in Georgian means ‘light’ - which this wine ain’t!) is a magnificent wine that has a long and illustrious future in front of it.

It starts with its appealing, deep-purple colour. Then the bouquet is big and bold with lashings of vibrant fruit aromas. Leading to the big, svelte palate full of rich earthy flavours with a tight, slightly acidic finish which is long and lingering, making it a delightful, big, rich wine.

Right now this wine is excellent with rich food, especially if it has been decanted. However, if you have the patience to give it 3-5 years in the cellar, it will reward you by becoming a superb, smooth, sophisticated wine that will be bloody gorgeous on its own.

This is a top-class wine as this blend works ever so well – and in my opinion should be pursued by more wineries. Cheers!