Good news from McLaren Vale
There is no denying that plenty of issues are causing upset and confusion in the wine industry at the moment, but there are also people who are just getting on with life despite the hurdles.
Among them is the Leask family, which owns the Hither & Yon brand based in McLaren Vale. Malcolm Leask, in an email exchange over the weekend, said:
“We are keeping our heads down, growing grapes for others and with two brands now, we are seeking out new markets.
“More and more we are looking at other opportunities in the agricultural sector. Cattle, sheep and vegetables are now part of what we do. Small scale but it gives us a healthy release from the wine stuff.”
Another reader emailed this:
“I’m Facebook friends with many winemakers and it can’t be all too bad judging by the first-class travel, 50+-year-old French vintage wine, and 3-star restaurant meals being enjoyed.”
I am also a friend of many wine folk and it’s true, they do often enjoy a very good lifestyle.
Good news from New York
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards were announced in New York this week. Number one was Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. The full list is here. One Australian restaurant made the top 50: Attica in Melbourne came in at 33.
All good stuff, but the better news is that the 2017 awards will be held in Melbourne.
The annual awards are based on the votes of The Diners Club World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of almost 1000 international leaders in the restaurant community. Australia has been strongly represented on the list in recent years, with the restaurants Attica, Quay, Sepia and Brae receiving recognition in 2015. In the list’s 14-year history, other notable Australian restaurants including Rockpool, Tetsuya’s, Marque and Momofuku Seiobo have featured.
Apparently Sydney is not best pleased that Melbourne will be playing host, but it will have to get over it.
The event will also showcase Australian wines.
Tourism Australia reports that a rise in annual visitation and visitor spend is down to its Restaurant Australia food and wine tourism campaign, launched in December 2013.
Since then, the amount that international tourists spend on food and wine experiences has gone up 21.1 per cent, according to the latest figures to the end of March.
Wine Australia (WA) matched Australian wines to the dishes served at a Tourism Australia brunch event held in New York this week, including Jansz Premium Cuvée (Tasmania), Pewsey Vale Riesling (Clare Valley), Leeuwin Estate ‘Art Series’ Chardonnay (Margaret River), Cirillo ‘The Vincent’ Grenache (Barossa Valley) and Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir (Mornington Peninsula).
WA also hosted key US influencers at some of the events held in celebration of World’s 50 Best Restaurants, including:
- Tom Matthews, executive editor, Wine Spectator
- Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous
- Michael Engelmann MS, master sommelier, The Modern
- Max Pearlstein, Old Bridge Cellars
- Mike Madrigale, sommelier
- Elish Healy, Little Peacock
- Gregg Perkins, Broadbent Selections
WA will work with Tourism Australia on the Melbourne event. It should showcase Australian wines to the world and show what we really are capable of.
Good news for New Zealand
Vinomofo, the Australian online retailer that has made a huge impact the past five years, is to start its global push this week in New Zealand. The company turns over $50 million-plus, with a customer base of 400,000.
Its NZ launch kicks off with a two-day online pop-up event showcasing 60 wines from New Zealand, Australia and Europe, including offerings from Oakridge, Tahbilk and Champagne Verve Fourny plus locals such as Schist Hills pinot noir. The wines on offer are in limited quantities. No doubt this will be a huge success and many wines will sell out within a day.
Also on the cards for New Zealand is Vinomofo’s VinoDirect, which helps wineries maximise direct sales to their own winery members. It’s a growing part of the Vinomofo business.
The next Vinomofo outposts will be Singapore and the US. Nikki Palun, Vinomofo head of global, told TKR:
“We are really excited about the US market – there is such incredible potential there in online retail, even with the challenges surrounding distribution. We are hoping to launch both of these markets by October / November and then we will launch Hong Kong, China and the UK early next year. Then after these markets, we will keep on rolling out other markets that show potential.”
Good ancient news
An article on the Hvino News website, the official wine site for the Republic of Georgia, says an archaeological discovery at the Gadachrili Gora archaeological site in south-eastern Georgia’s Kvemo Kartli has produced “grape seeds and vine dust dating back to 6000 BC”.
The area is located near Imiri village, 35 kilometres south of the capital Tbilisi, and is the site of an international expedition jointly organised by the Georgia National Museum and the University of Toronto, Canada.
Apparently vine dust residue was found in ceramic vessels. The Georgians claim this is the “the first location where humans had turned wild vine vegetation into domestic culture”.
I hope the coming week brings good news for all TKR readers.