Over the past 20 years dozens of new Australian wine regions have been discovered, and many of these regions are now flourishing. Just look, for example, at the success of wines from Orange, Geelong, the Great Southern and the Canberra District. Even within regions winemakers are becoming far more attuned to the nuances of terroir and how subtle differences can influence the character of the wine.

Consumers are also becoming more terroir savvy. I have friends who say they prefer the tropical fruit flavours and crisp acidity of Orange sauvignon blanc, for example, even if they can’t recall exactly which wines they’ve tried.

Family-run De Bortoli, one of Australia’s best independent producers, has re-labeled its entry level Windy Peak brand, and now the region where the wine is made is clearly displayed on the label. De Bortoli owns substantial vineyards in the Yarra Valley, Hunter Valley, King Valley, the Riverina and even has a vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand.

The move to include the region on the Windy Peak label looks like smart marketing for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s recognition that even the budget-minded consumer is becoming more discerning about where and how a wine is made. Secondly, it highlights that Windy Peak is a quality product sourced from De Bortoli’s own vineyards. (Unlike some of those wines I’ve seen from the so-called critter brands – you know, the ones with the cute little marsupials on the label – that vaguely state that the wine is from ‘south eastern Australia’!)

De Bortoli launched the new label for the Windy Peak range at a luncheon in Sydney at Matt Moran’s and Peter Sullivan’s new Woollahra venture Chiswick. The setting reminded me of a stylish but comfortable Southern Highlands home. Our room overlooked a beautiful lawn and a kitchen garden brimming with fresh herbs. The food was delicious and, while the flavours were sophisticated, the presentation was unpretentious. A perfect complement for wines designed for every-day drinking.

The highlight for me was the fish and prawn pie… [Read More]