Packaging & Other Snippets

Friday, April 23, 2021

In this week’s Blog I get back up on my soap box about reducing the carbon foot print when it comes to bottling wine here in Australia. I also cover a few other snippets of news which you may find interesting…


For quite some time now, I have been rabbiting on about the need for environmentally friendly packaging innovation such as cans, casks, paper bottles, as well as the Garçon elliptical bottles which are space and weight saving wonders.

I bring this up again because recently I received some Barossa wines for review which were packaged in bottles that weighed a tonne.  There were three bottles in a six pack carton but it felt like it was a full six pack until I opened it. Obviously designed to impress former customers in China, they left me singularly unimpressed and contemplating the possibility of refusing to review wines which come in bottles any heavier/chunkier than the biggest size made by the main mass producing bottle makers. Another thing is that these ten-ton-indi-bloody-vidual bottles are imported, so that have already left a carbon footprint bigger than most wines BEFORE they are even filled.

I was therefore delighted to read that one of Spain’s leading Albariño producer, Mar de Frades from Rías Baixas, is in the process of reducing the weight of their signature blue bottle as part of their environmental drive. Their sustainability plan includes: aiming to become a zero waste producer, using sheep as lawn mowers and fertiliser in the vineyard and drones so as to be able to localise vineyard treatment to just the areas that need treatment. Oh, and in another minor point, they are replacing their current ‘plastic’ labels by going back to good old fashioned paper labels.

So Aussie winemakers what are you doing to reduce your carbon footprint? There are an increasing number of wineries converting to organic or even biodynamic practices and some are becoming solar powered or water self-sufficient. BUT what is being done in the post-winemaking area? Have you thought about the weight of the bottles you use and the plastic labels applied to all wines these days?

Now is the time to do so, before somebody else steals the march and makes you look like another “me too”.


Pernod Ricard Winemakers has recently expanded to their successful and popular Jacob’s Creek ‘Double Barrel’ wine range by adding a Cabernet Sauvignon which has been finished in Irish whisky barrels.

Lévrier by Jo Irvine has scored big time in the London Wine Competition, winning: Wine of the Year, Best Wine in Show by Country-Australia, Best Wine in Show by Varietal Category and Best Wine of the Year by Quality with her 2015 Anubis Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon. The icing on the cake was that the Lévrier by Jo Irvine 2015 Argos Shiraz and Lévrier by Jo Irvine 2017 Peritas Zinfandel both won gold medals as well.

Winery Link:

►Another winery that performed excellently at this year’s London Wine Competition was Adelaide Hills based Hahndorf Hill Winery. Their Gru Gruner Veltiner 2020 was the highest rated Gruner in the competition, ahead of the Austrians, followed into second spot by their Hahndorf Hill Reserve Gruner Veltliner 2019 – both winning gold medals. In addition, their Hahndorf Hill 2018 Shiraz also won a gold medal, whilst their 2018 Blue Blood Blaufrankisch, 2020 White Mischief Gruner Veltliner and their 2020 Rosé all won silver medals – Most impressive indeed!

Winery Link:

►A recent Wine Australia report advised that Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted grape variety on the planet, with around 151 million cases (dozens) of Cabernet wines being consumed worldwide in 2019. Of which approximately 11% was Australian Cabernet.

The top five markets are:

1st – China

2nd – USA

3rd – Chile

4th – UK

5th – Argentina

With Australia in 7th spot, just in front of Germany.

Well that’s it for this week, have a great weekend and remember to #chooseaustralianwine and drink #emergingvarieties. Cheers!

This Week's Wine Review:

I have been a fan of Aldi wines since they first appeared on the scene here in Australia a few years ago. So much so that it has been suggested that I am in their ‘pay’, which is not the case. I am simply awed by the fantastic value for money that their wines offer and curse the antiquarian laws in South Australia that prevent Aldi and Foodland from selling wine. This is done by a bunch of dinosaurs who think that IF two more retailers start selling wine here, we will all become alcoholics, as has (obviously) happened in Victoria and NSW, where they are allowed to sell wine.

Aldi carry a small, very tight-knit range of wines, probably in total less than what Uncle Dan (Dan Murphy’s) carries in the fridge, but each and every wine represents great, even awesome value, and in most cases they are the best value wines in the country. For example, in October last year the Aldi ‘Blackstone Paddock’ Margaret River 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon won a raft of medals at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, including the Max Schubert Trophy for the most outstanding red wine of the show. Wow, that was an awesome achievement, even more so due to the fact that it retailed for under $20 a bottle as opposed to previous winners which sold for anywhere between $35 and $200 a bottle.

Another example of their amazing value for money is that in either 2019 or last year they had a Spanish Tempranillo which sold for $4.99 a bottle – no big deal, except that this wine won a gold medal in Berlin!!

OK, enough rabbiting on. So this weeks wine is the new release, VINATERO 2020 McLAREN VALE OLD VINE GRENACHE, a stonkingly good, hand-picked GRENACHE made from vines planted in 1947. It is in a lighter style in colour, with an appealing bouquet of red berries and a hint of dried herbs. It is lighter bodied but extremely tasty with lashing of red fruit vibrant flavours and a softly, acidic finish which lingers nicely. At present this wine is at its best accompanying food, or tuck it away for a while for it to round out and become a really classy wine. At an RRP of $10.99 it is a superb bargain.

Have a great week, enjoy cracking wines and remember to #chooseaustralianwine