Tag: Yalumba

Aug 08 2011

Wine Education: The benefits of the Screwcap Closure

Posted on August 08, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

When I was researching my post on Australian aged rieslings, Buy Wine Ideas: Australian Aged Reislings: Beautiful Expressions of Terroir 28 July 2011, I came across a very good explanation about the merits of bottling wine under screwcap on the Pewsey Vale website.

James Halliday notes that Pewsey Vale was the first winery to bottle its riesling under Stelvin screwcap in 1977. Unfortunately the screwcap was not well received by the public and the initiative was put on ice for almost 20 years. Now, of course, use of the screwcap in Australia, especially for white wines, is considered best practice!

Below is a description of the benefits of the screwcap with respect to Pewsey Vale The Contours Riesling, one of Australia’s best rieslings, which is only released after five years of bottle age. It is made by Yalumba’s Chief Winemaker, the multi-award winning Louisa Rose. According to Halliday, “Pewsey Vale never lost faith in the technical advantages of the closure. A quick taste (or better, a share of a bottle) of five-to-seven year-old Contours Riesling will tell you why.” (James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2011 Edition).

Sealing a bottle under a screw cap removes the variability and taints associated with cork. A screw cap also ensures that the wine in the bottle will age under the best possible conditions. The perfect seal of the screw cap ensures that no air or oxygen can enter the bottle. In these reductive conditions the wine undergoes “pure bottle aging” where the fresh citrus flavours remain, and are overlaid with flavours of toast, lemon grass and eventually some honey and possibly marmalade. Since there is no oxygen getting in to the bottle, there is no oxidising or “drying out” of the wine. This means that the colour, while it will deepen into Read the rest

Sep 09 2010

Climate Change and the Wine Industry

Posted on September 09, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

As recently reported in the press, leading Victorian winery Brown Brothers has acquired Tasmanian producer Tamar Ridge Estates. The reasons for the deal, as stated by Brown Brothers CEO Ross Brown,  highlight how commercial winemakers are now actively developing strategies to accommodate the effects of climate change.

“The Brown Brothers Board has been carefully considering how global warming may impact our vineyards through drought and high temperatures and recently adopted a strategy to source grapes from cooler areas,” Brown stated the company’s media release. Tasmania is fast developing an excellent reputation for pinot noir and sparkling wines in particular, and Brown acknowledges that “[Tamar Ridge] is a very sound business that ticks all our strategic objectives for growth in pinot and sparkling, and at the same time reduces the risk of drought and associated high temperatures and scarcity of water.”

Winemakers are not the only ones trying to assess the possible impact of climate change on future grape production. Dr Leanne Webb from CSIRO, and the University of Melbourne have spent years studying the effects of climate change on wine growing and what this will mean for the growers and consumers.

Climate change is throwing up three main challenges for wine growers: phenology changes, limited water access and rising temperatures. Phenology is the timing of biological events, like bud burst, and evidence suggests that earlier ripening of fruit and a narrower picking window are already occurring in places like the Hunter Valley.

Higher temperatures and the reduced availability to water, especially in inland growing regions which rely on irrigation, are by far the two biggest concerns for Australian winemakers. But according to Dr Webb, climate change actually varies regionally, with temperatures accelerating at a faster rate in the central parts of the country and a lesser rate in coastal … Read the rest