News from Casella, 31 March 2017:
“Casella Family Brands (CFB) has today announced that it has acquired ownership of assets from Shaw Family Vintners. Completion of the transaction follows a period of confirmatory due diligence.”
The Key Report, 23 March 2017:
“This hasn’t been confirmed, but word has reached TKR that Casella has acquired Shaw Family Vintners (Ballast Stone), situated in Currency Creek, South Australia. If true, Casella will pick up 1200 acres of vines in Currency Creek and McLaren Vale. It will also have a winery to process the fruit from these acres and the 400 acres of Hawthorn Ridge and Reedy Creek vineyard in McLaren Vale it bought for $12.4 million last July. At the time of publication there was no response from Casella and a ‘no comment’ from the Shaw Family.”
Good of Casella to confirm TKR’s week-old news.
Terroir – or as it become known in my mind, f****** terroir – certainly excites wine folk. It’s either the most important factor in wine or not, and strong opinions are voiced either way. Opinions continue this week, with two academics getting stuck in. Full report in Australian Wine News.
I have known Bob Berton since the ’80s. He’s a good bloke, the sort I have time for and like to have a drink with. And he’s an achiever. Over the years he’s built up the Berton Vineyards brand with steady purpose. The wines range from sound to very good and prices are always attractive to the consumer. It was good to read in the April 2017 Decanter magazine that the top wine in the magazine’s tasting of Top New World Cabernets from £13 to £40 ($21-$66) was the Berton Vineyard ‘Reserve’ Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. It won with 96 points, and was also best value at £13. Overall, Australia did well, with eight wines in the top 10.
A great wine man I have known since the ’80s is Don Lewis, who was at Mitchelton and later Tar & Roses. It was a sad Tuesday when I heard of his death. Tributes will pour forth and many will mention his dry sense of humour, his gentle manner and his great skill as a winemaker. Don was all those but he was also a whole lot of fun and when in London a bloke I enjoyed having a beer or six with after tastings or lunches when all the pompous stuff that wine involves had been done and dusted. The world is indeed a darker place without the light of Don Lewis shining.
With his winemaking partner Narelle King, Don made some fantastic wines at Tar & Roses, with their pinot grigio being the best in Australia I have tasted. To all who knew him, raise a glass or two in his honour over the coming weekend.
Others also paid tribute:
Friend and former colleague Brian Miller:
“Don Lewis – a friend, colleague, fine winemaker and a profound influence. At Mitchelton winery Don took some convincing to allow us to include his name on the back label, so I smiled years later when I saw his photograph on his own Tar & Roses bottles. He largely let his wines speak for themselves, and they spoke volumes. Wine writer Mark Shields wrote that a Don Lewis silence was eloquent. So long, Don. We wish you could have stayed.”
Nick Bulleid MW: “What a tragedy! What a genuine, gentle guy, as well as a skilled winemaker.”
Huon Hooke: “I wish there were more around with Don’s brand of understatement. He let his wines do the talking.”