Odds & Sods

Friday, April 16, 2021

This week’s Blog covers a few snippets of different news which you may find interesting….

TEXAS BIG FREEZE:  The state of Texas is home to 471 wineries and more than 5,000 acres of grapes. There are five different grape growing regions which stretch from the Gulf Coast to the High Plains and North Texas, the Hill Country around Fredericksburg and West Texas north of the Rio Grande. In mid-February, all regions suffered a week of extremely cold temperatures down as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit (water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit). In some regions budburst had already started and there will be a loss of almost all the 2021 crop while in others the vines were still dormant. Even vineyards with anti-frost irrigation systems suffered as in some instances the water in the irrigation pipes froze therefore not protecting the vines.

SUNKEN TREASURE:  In recent years there has been a small move towards maturing wine under water, such as by the winery that I reported on from Yantai China in 2019. However, recently in a typical Latin twist, a brewery in Mar de Plata, Argentina, has reported that barrels containing 600 litres of beer that they were maturing on-board a shipwreck at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean have been stolen. This takes piracy to a new low level!!

ALTERNATIVE PACKAGING: Recently I reported on Best Bottlers at Mildura putting in a canning line. Now despite Australia’s reluctance/rejection of premium cask wine, in other markets the category is growing significantly. In the UK there has been a 25% increase in the value of cask sales over the last twelve months. In line with this, Kingsland Drinks, one of the largest bottlers and suppliers of “buyers own brand” wines, is installing a new high speed cask line, so that when commissioned next year they will have the capacity to cask 28 million litres of wine a year. They currently package into 1.5L, 2.25L and 3.0L casks.

Packwine 2021, which showcases the latest wine packaging innovations will be conducting a number of virtual seminars on wine packaging in May this year as well as the inaugural packaging awards. The keynote speaker will the “Wine Thinker”, Robert Joseph, and there will be a number of other sessions including on “Technology joins the fight on fake wines”. If you are interested in keeping up to date with what is happening in wine packaging, like I am, go to the website link below, check it out and register.

Website Link:  www.packwine.com.au

ORGANIC GROWTH: If you thought wine was a phase or a fad, think again. The WBWE (World Bulk Wine Exhibition) reports that since 2019 there has been an increase of 23%, in the number of hectares of organic grape growing in France, so that today there are around 115,000 hectares of organic vineyards.  This represents a trebling in size from ten years ago, and the conversion rate shows no sign of abating.

This growth has been mainly driven by the increase in domestic demand rather than by exports. Currently, Germany is the biggest market/consumer of organic wines. However, the growth in demand in France means that in the near future, France could oust Germany from the No. 1 spot. The UK was showing significant growth in the demand for organic wines until recently, when the challenges of Brexit created rules and documentation which led to a considerable slowdown in organic wine imports. It is expected that this trend will be reversed in the near future and imports of organic wines will grow again.

So it is expected that the ranking ladder for organic wine sales in 2023 will be:

No. 1 – France

No. 2 – Germany

No. 3 – USA

No. 4 – UK

And that organic wine sales will have grown from 1.5% of total wines in 2013 to 3.5% in 2023. This is a massive level of growth in production when you consider how long it takes to convert a vineyard over to certified organic practices.

So organic wine is not a fad and won’t be going away anytime soon, rather it will continue to grow and become a considerably larger part of total wine sales.  Food for thought for grape growers.

Well, that’s it for this week. Stay safe and remember to #chooseaustralianwine and #emergingvarieties.

This Week's Wine Review:

In the mid-1980s I spent some time in Mudgee, as the father of a mate of mine’s girlfriend, had a small vineyard there. A group of us would go up and spend the weekend camping in the vineyard, helping out with odd jobs, drinking and cooking on a camp fire.

Then from the time I moved to South Australia in 1990 and up until four years ago I hardly saw a wine from Mudgee, Orange or the NSW Hilltops and had no idea as to what was happening there. That all changed when I came across, David Cumming of Define Wine Marketing. Since then David has not only kept me abreast of most developments but has also sent me a stack of excellent wines to taste and review. He has done such a great job that these days I review more wines from Central NSW than from SE South Australia (Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Robe, etc.) let alone Victoria or Western Australia.

This week is about a couple of cracking Rieslings from Orange-based, BLOODWOOD WINES. Established in 1983 (so no newbie to the area) today BLOODWOOD WINES covers just over 8 hectares of vines, amounting to 21,274 vines all planted on their own rootstock.

The BLOODWOOD 2018 ORANGE RIESLING is made from vines on the upper reaches of the property (true cool-climate). This wine has a vibrant, citrus bouquet with a mere hint of talc. It is just starting to evolve in the traditional Riesling manner. It has a delightful, flinty mineral palate with delightful, citrus flavours and a smidge of savouriness on the long, lively, finish. The acid balance is excellent making this wine an equal proposition as a “drink now” or “tuck away” wine. Either way it is superb and will continue to be so as it develops over the next decade or longer. OUTSTANDING!

To my joy, BLOODWOOD WINES also sent along a bottle of their 2010 Riesling!

The BLOODWOOD 2010 ORANGE RIESLING was sensational! Amazingly young for 11-years-old with at least another decade of life in front of it. The colour is barely light, bright yellow, no golden hues as yet. The bouquet is complex with most of the primary fruit aromas having been supplanted by bottle age complexity and the characteristic aged Riesling aromas which are just starting to develop. The palate is still bright and crisp and is just starting to develop some of the classic premium Riesling honey characters that are the hallmark of top Australian Riesling. This is an awesome, classic style, maturing Australian Riesling. BLOODY BRILLIANT!

A couple of outstanding wines that show that the house style has been maintained but subtly evolved so as to make the wine a bit more consumer friendly in its youth so as to take into account the “drink now” times that we live in. A great achievement.

So if you get the chance, try these cracking Orange Rieslings and go to their website and check out their full range of wines.

Have a great week and remember #chooseaustralianwine

Winery Link: www.bloodwood.biz

Website Link: www.definewine.com.au