Wine writer Max Allen spoke with Geraldine Doogue on SaturdayExtra, about his new book, The Future Makers: Australian Wine for the 21st Century. Allen is a self-proclaimed subversive and romantic, who sees wine as a cultural product. He believes that the best wine being produced in Australia today is an expression of the skill and talent of the winemaker and the vineyard’s unique terroir or sense of place. Fortunately, many of Australia’s best winemakers are moving in that direction!
Allen mentioned that the Strange Bird wineries are making wines that are very evocative of their sense of place. (Huh? That was my reaction too!) Strange Bird is the name of a loosely affiliated group of over 30 wineries in the Granite Belt of Queensland that are interested in trialing alternative varieties and developing new wine styles. Boireann, rated by James Halliday as the top 5 star winery in the region (Australian Wine Companion 2011), is typical of the Strange Bird wineries in the sense that it has planted a range of alternative grape varieties in addition to the standard varieties of chardonnay, shiraz, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Boireann’s highly rated The Lunea, for example, is a Bordeaux blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Definitely a region worth exploring in more detail!
USA Today reported that Chinese investors are looking to buy Napa Valley wineries, Chinese investors acquire a taste for Napa Valley wineries, USA Today, 25 October 2010. Last month Chinese investors bought Silenus Vintners and a parcel of land for $6 million. As discussed in The Two Speed Wine Market, the Chinese appetite for wineries is in response to a boom in wine sales in China in the last 10 years. China does in fact make a lot of its own wine. One company in particular, Changyu Winery, stands out for its adherence to quality in this emerging market. Changyu is the oldest and biggest winery in Asia. In the 1990s it formed a joint venture with the Castel Group, the largest grower and distributor of wine in France. Currently producing approximately 30 million bottles a year, it can’t keep up with demand! Changyu: The Wine Rush on Wine Portfolio is a very informative video!
Photo Credit: The Stange Bird Logo