The Big and the Small

Friday, February 11, 2022

This week is about the big and small ends of town. Starting at the big end with the vast volume of bulk wine and finishing with the minute end with wine in Tibet.

BULK WINE:  I recently read the latest insightful Bulk Wine Report from Jim Moularadellis of Austwine at around the same time that I received notification from the World Bulk Wine Exhibition mob advising that they will be holding their first exhibition in the USA this year – June 8-9. Apart from their regular Exhibition which they have been conducting in Amsterdam each year in late November over the last 13 years, in 2019 they conducted their first WBWE Asia in Yantai China, which was very successful as I reported in WBM Magazine (see link below). Given the turmoil in the global wine market over the last two years, the move to Santa Rosa (Sonoma County) California makes huge sense.

Article Link: WBM - Bulking Up

The US market is the biggest wine market in the world, and with growing environmental awareness, more are more wine is being shipped in bulk and being bottled at destination. Therefore, the sale of bulk wine is becoming increasingly more important across the globe. The current shipping container supply crisis is helping to further enhance the appeal of bulk wine sales and shipments.

Contrary to popular belief “bulk wine” does not mean inferior wine. It means wine that is produced, usually by co-operatives or larger wineries, and sold in bulk rather than under a producer’s brand. Some of these wines are outstanding. In my tenure as one of the 25 international judges involved in the competition for WBWE in Amsterdam, I have seen a considerable number of gold medals awarded – including a Coonawarra Chardonnay and some truly world-class Uruguayan Tannat.

Given the oversupply in Australia caused by China, larger wineries should seriously consider participating in this year’s WBWE and smaller wineries should talk to Austwine and Ciatti about having their wines included.

If the past WBWE are anything to go by, the WBWE USA will well be worth a trip to see how the global bulk wine market operates and what the opportunities are – Oh, and if you are Covid-19 concerned, WBWE Amsterdam was one of very few events held successfully in November last year, under very strict rules imposed by the Netherlands government, without any incidents.

Think about your bulk wine strategy and then contact WBWE at the links below.



TIBET:  These days wine grapes are grown just about everywhere in the world other than in the Antarctic. Yep, they make wine in Bali, Alaska, Sweden and now even in Tibet.

A retired couple Hua and Lu Sheng in Tibet, who learned grape growing from Catholic nuns, have set up a vineyard in the town of Tsalna just outside the city of Lhasa (3,600 metres above sea level). They currently have just under seven hectares of cold and drought resistant vines (varieties not named), organically planted on a sunny plateau on the outskirts of the town.

Well that’s it for another week, have a good one, stay safe and remember to #chooseaustralianwine and when possible enjoy #emergingvarieties.


This Week's Wine Review:

I rarely review imported wines, as I focus on the fabulous wines we make here in Australia. However, this week I am reviewing a couple of wines from a most prestigious estate in Alsace France. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to visit Alsace as yet, I have tried a number of outstanding wines from the region, especially through a Winestate Magazine Alsace tasting several years ago, and more recently through the tastings with Peter Jackson from Wines of Adelaide (helping in finding Australian importers for quality European wines). In fact I will be tasting some late morning today at the latest Wines of Adelaide tasting.

Alsace produces some outstanding wines, including some of the best, most underrated Pinot Noir, as well as terrific sparkling wines, Crémant d’Alsace.

Today I am looking at a couple of wines from premium producer, Dopff Au Moulin that are available here in Australia through Dan Murphy’s. They are the excellent DOPFF AU MOULIN 2018 ALSACE PINOT BLANC and the DOPFF AU MOULIN 2016 GRAND CRU SCHOENENBOURG RIESLING.

The DOPFF AU MOULIN 2018 ALSACE PINOT BLANC was tasted as part of an article on Pinot Blanc that I wrote for WBM magazine. This wine is the epitome of Alsace Pinot Blanc. It has a fragrant bouquet with a hint of sweetness and subtle aromas of pine nettles and freshly washed linen combining to make it very attractive. The palate is uber smooth, slick and sophisticated with stacks of appealing flavours and a silky-smooth finish. AN OUTSTANDING WINE!

As the name implies, the DOPFF AU MOULIN 2016 GRAND CRU SCHOENENBOURG RIESLING comes from the prestigious 9.0 hectare Schoenenbourg Grand Cru vineyard. It has powerful, intense, steely, flinty, tight aromas of lemons – very attractive. The tasty palate has great density, is rounding out with bottle age maturation yet still has divine, tight, flinty characters and a tight refreshing finish. Wow what a complex and delightful wine – SENSATIONAL!!

So if you get the opportunity to try wines from Alsace, and especially those of Dopff, which also make Crémant d’Alsace, Pinot Gris, Sylvaner, Gewürztraminer and “Vendage Tardives” (sweet, late-picked dessert wines), jump at the chance as each and every Alsace wine that I have tasted so far has been anywhere from “damn good” to “bloody sensational”!

Winery Link:

Cheers, have a great week, stay safe, enjoy interesting and exciting wines, and when possible #emergingvarieties.