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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 · Volume 27 Number 5

SME TECHNOLOGY REVIEW • What's new in winery toys for SME wineries • Online tools for predicting botrytis risk • Regional focus: Canberra District • Varietal report: Savagnin • Profile: Ken Helm

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Publisher: Hartley Higgins General Manager: Elizabeth Bouzoudis Editor Sonya Logan Ph (08) 8369 9502 Email Associate Editors Gary Baldwin Mark Krstic Markus Herderich

Sonya Logan, Editor Fax (08) 8369 9501 sonya@winetitles.com.au Peter Dry Armando Corsi

Editorial Assistance Lauren Jones, Write Lane CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Samantha Anderson Cory Black Armando Corsi Robin Day Mark Downey Paul Evans Brendan Freeman Prue Henschke Gareth Hill Helen Holt Dan Johnson Mark Krasnow Dean Metcalf Sharon Nitschke Paul Petrie Anna Pullen Alex Russell Robin Shaw Darren Smith Tony Spawton Maurizio Ugliano

Rob Beresford Dimitra Capone Martin Day Jean-Baptiste Dieval Kathy Evans Leigh Francis Damien Griffante Markus Herderich Cathy Howard Joanne Irvine Tony Keys Larry Lockshin Simone Mueller Wes Pearson Curtis Phillips Mark Rowley Pietro Scafidi Richard Smart Mark Smith Lawrie Stanford Stephane Vidal

Advertising Sales Ph (08) 8369 9515 Email

Fax (08) 8369 9529 widsales@winetitles.com.au

I

t was early in 2009 when Australia’s Albarino growers found out that they weren’t growing Albarino at all, but little-known Savagnin Blanc, a variety mostly grown in Jura, in eastern France, where it is primarily made into a sherrylike wine called vin jaune. While many plantings in Australia have been subsequently grubbed, several growers have persisted with Savagnin to make a dry white wine that is barely produced by anyone else in the world. And, if our recent tasting of 33 Australian Savagnins (see page 92) is anything to go by, the wines show much promise, both as young and older styles. Couple this with the variety’s suitability to Australian climate conditions, could Savagnin become another feather in our cap? This issue of the Journal has a focus on small to medium wineries. This includes Tony Keys' look at life as an SME, where he asks five SME producers to explain how business really is for them at the moment (page 12); Cathy Howard’s look at what’s new in winery toys for SMEs

(page 29); an article reproduced from Wine Business Monthly in the US on managing oxygen in a small winery (page 34); and some advice for cellar door operators from former Winemakers’ Federation of Australia manager of tourism and business development, Robin Shaw, on how they can stand out from the crowd, starting with old– fashioned good service (page 66). In viticulture, botrytis and bunch rots share top-billing, including an article describing the trans-Tasman development of an online botrytis decision support tool (page 46) and a biological botrytis control (page 56). This issue also marks (no pun intended) the first profile and regional report by our newlyrecruited roving journalist Mark Smith who, for his first outing, travelled to the Canberra District. Mark’s contributions begin on page 80. Your feedback on any of the articles in the Journal are welcome and can be forwarded to sonya@winetitles.com.au

Cover: C  anberra District wine pioneer Ken Helm, who features in this month's profile column which starts on page 80.

Production and Design: Nathan Grant Administration: Esme Parker Subscriptions One-year subscription (6 issues) Australia $77.00 (AUD) Two-year subscription (12 issues) Australia $144.00 (AUD) To subscribe and for overseas prices, visit: www.winebiz.com.au The Wine & Viticulture Journal is published bi-monthly. Correspondence and enquiries should be directed to Sonya Logan.The views expressed in the Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Journal or its staff.

Regular features

News Opinion WFA ASVO Tony Keys Richard Smart AWRI Report

6 8 10 11 12 17 20

Alternative Varieties Mark Rowley Industry profile Regional report Super Wines Varietal report Tasting

63 78 80 82 87 88 92

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Website www.winebiz.com.au Printed by Newstyle Printing, Adelaide, South Australia. Adelaide ISSN 1838-6547 © Winetitles Pty Ltd, 2012. All rights reserved

A snapshot of wine business, research and marketing content gleaned from international wine media sources, with a focus on Australian news and content. Distributed to over 10,000 subscribers (and growing) daily

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Win e & V iticultur e Jo ur na l

SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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I n t h is iss u e

R E GULA R F E AT U R E S

co n te n ts

V I T I C UL T U R E

8 OPINION (Lawrie Stanford, Paul Evans): WGGA and WFA respond to GWRDC 5-year plan

46 Botrytis decision support: online tools for predicting seasonal risk of botrytis bunch rot

10 WFA (Damien Griffante): Regions the key in Entwine Australia review 11 ASVO (Paul Petrie): A successful seminar and the ASVO Awards for Excellence 12 KEY FILES: Life as a small to medium wine producer – sans the rose-coloured glasses 17 RICHARD SMART: Climate mapping in Tasmania to encourage vineyard investment

53 Pre-flowering defoliation effects on fruitfulness in the subsequent season

W I N E M A K I NG

20 AWRI REPORT: Aged Riesling and the development of TDN 29 What’s new in winery toys? New technology for SME wineries

56 A biological control system for botrytis 59 Hot winegrape production: Italian lessons 63 Garganega - an enticing variety with fruit, flavour and finish

business & marketing

66 Cellar doors: Why being good enough isn’t good enough

34 Managing oxygen in a small winery; why tank size may be the key to excessive oxidation in small wineries 38 Oxygen management during wine bottle ageing by means of closure selection; current trends and perspectives 69 Customer loyalty: The impact of customer satisfaction on loyalty; how does it affect customers’ repurchase behaviour for Australian wine? 73 Promotions: The sales impact of regional and environmental in-store promotions

pro f i l e

80 Helm marks nearly 40 years of shaping the course of the Canberra District

R E G I O NAL R E P O R T

82 Canberra District V2 7N 5

78 Export: Emerging Asian markets

V A R I E T AL R E P O R T

88 Soldiering on with Savagnin W i n e & V i t i cultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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N E W S

Australia’s first Assyrtiko plantings

South Australia’s Clare Valley has become home to the nation’s first plantings of the Greek variety Assyrtiko (a-sert-ti-ko). Jim Barry Wines has planted 600 Assyrtiko vines, or half a hectare, at its Lodge Hill vineyard in the eastern ranges of the Clare Valley, following a chance tasting of the white wine by managing director Peter Barry while holidaying on the Greek island of Santorini in 2007. More than 60 per cent of the world’s 1200 hectares of Assyrtiko are grown in Santorini. “I love dry acid wines,” Peter Barry told the Wine & Viticulture Journal. “I really enjoy the acid structure of Assyrtiko. After tasting it in Santorini, I had the opportunity to taste it again at the London Wine Trade Fair the following year and it just stood out. It’s particularly great with seafood.” Barry said he was also attracted to the variety’s drought resistance and low water requirements. Unable to source cuttings of Assyrtiko in Australia, Barry began the slow process of importing cuttings from Santorini, securing the Australian planting rights. The cuttings spent two and a half years in quarantine, then two vines were sent to Yalumba Nursery for propagation. First planted in 1979, Lodge Hill vineyard was “pushed out” to accommodate the Assyrtiko cuttings, which has an altitude of approximately 400m and comprises lime over slate and lime over limestone soils. “We could have taken 200 cuttings last year and planted them but we decided to leave them in the nursery until we had a greater volume,” Barry said. “However, we took some buds out and grafted them onto a couple of Riesling vines in our Watervale and Lodge Hill vineyard just so we can see how the vines and fruit are going to perform a year ahead of the other plantings.

With the tablet erected to commemorate Australia’s first Assyrtiko plantings (from left) Tom, John, Peter and Sue Barry, Graeme McDonough, Nancy, Sam and Olivia Barry. “Assyrtiko has a very low pH of about 3 and a high natural acidity of about 7g. Sunburn and wind are two things it doesn’t cope well with. Wind won’t be a problem in Clare and we’ll make sure the fruit is shaded. We’ll trellis it to about 80% VSP; a 100% VSP would expose the fruit too much.” Barry said Assyrtiko was quite a vigorous variety that fruited on canes. “The basal buds are quite unfruitful so we’ll have to learn how to crown prune,” he said. The first fruit is expected to be harvested in 2015. “To make fine wine, you must exercise patience. By the time we release this wine, I will have committed 20% of my life to this project – at least 10 years – but it is preferable to passing from this world and wondering ‘what if’!” Barry said. Not surprisingly, then, he intends to keep a tight reign on granting the planting rights to others interested in the variety in Australia to ensure quality is maintained. “I want to control it so it doesn’t get grown in the wrong areas where it might produce a very thin white wine. If I release the cuttings, there will be a few provisos to go with it,” he said.

New South Wales gets its own AWRI node The Australian Wine Research Institute has established its fourth regional node in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley. The node – the second for the state officially commenced operation in early September and is based at Keith Tulloch Winery. The other AWRI nodes are based in the Riverina, Tasmania and Victoria. Winemaker Sam Connew has been recruited to establish the Hunter Valley node with the support of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association and the NSW Wine Industry Association.

Andrew Margan, president of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association, worked closely with the AWRI to establish the node in the Hunter Valley. “The presence of the AWRI in the Hunter Valley will facilitate increased adoption of R&D outcomes by wine businesses in the Hunter, Mudgee and Orange wine regions. The aim is to achieve outcomes of improved wine quality, productivity and sustainability for wine and grape producers through

the application of those technologies,” Margan said. Sam Connew has held winemaking positions in Italy, USA, Spain and Australia. She was formerly senior winemaker at Wirra Wirra Vineyards, in McLaren Vale, before moving to Tower Estate, in the Hunter Valley. She is currently a senior wine show judge and panel chair at regional and national shows throughout Australia. She is also a board member and head of the Wine Show Committee for the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology.

New GWRDC executive director expected to be announced soon The Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) is expected to have a new executive director by October following the resignation of Neil Fisher. While the person taking up the position had not been announced at press time, GWRDC chairman Rory McEwen said the search for a replacement for Fisher came at a crucial time for the organisation, as it transitioned into a new statutory corporation with Wine Australia, to be known as Grape and Wine Australia, targetted for 1 July 2014. “A key role as we transition into Grape and Wine Australia will be to foster and further enhance our existing relationships

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with our key stakeholders, the Commonwealth, Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA),” McEwen said. McEwen thanked Fisher for his contribution to the corporation, including the process for the development of the new five-year plan, and noted that the GWRDC was now much more active than passive in its relationships with the research community and its key stakeholders. Fisher has accepted the role of chief executive of BSES Limited, the principal provider of research and development to the Australian sugar industry.

W i n e & V i t i c ult u r e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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N E W S

Don’t get in a tight spot with confined spaces

W

inery operators may not be aware of the presence of confined spaces on their properties and that they pose one of the most dangerous risks to their employees. Occupational health and safety consultant Sue Bottrell, of Simple OHS Solutions, recently contacted a number of operators to advise them of the need for their workers to be trained prior to entering a confined space, but was left with the impression that some did not appreciate that confined spaces could be on their properties. Bottrell explained that a confined space was defined as being an area that was entered by workers, was difficult to access and exit, and had a contaminated atmosphere, reduced oxygen levels or posed a risk of engulfment by water, wheat or other liquids. “Think tanks and vats. There are plenty of these in the average winery. The main risks include asphyxiation, drowning or death from exposure to a toxic atmosphere,” Bottrell said. “The problem with confined spaces is you can’t see the risk until it is too late. The other danger is that those working near a confined space may see someone in trouble inside the space, not recognise the danger and enter the space to try and rescue them and fall victim themselves.” Bottrell said the figures on fatalities in confined spaces showed that 30 percent were supervisors attempting a rescue, another 30% were co-workers attempting

Anecdotal evidence suggests that not all winery operators are aware of the presence of confined spaces on their properties. a rescue, and only 3% had received training. “As you can imagine, once someone inside a space that is small is in difficulties and potentially panicking or unconscious, it is almost too late and a common scenario is that rescuers fall victim to the same fate. In 2010, an employer was fined $500,000 after a worker died in a confined space. Not only do you want to avoid a fine like this, but also the trauma of a workplace death,” Bottrell said. She advised winery operators to take the following steps: • identify all confined spaces at their workplace; get expert help if necessary • ensure there is signage identifying confined spaces

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WGGA and WFA respond to GWRDC 5-year plan In late July, the Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation (GWRDC) finally released its strategic research, development and extension plan for 2012-17. Together with the Australian Government, Wine Grape Growers Australia and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia are primary stakeholders in the GWRDC as the representative bodies of the GWRDC’s levy payers. WGGA and WFA were invited to identify the key research priorities for their members during the development of the five-year plan and we asked both organisations to comment on the degree to which they feel their priorities have been satisfied. By Lawrie Stanford, executive director, Wine Grape Growers Australia

B

oth the content of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation’s 2012-17 plan and the consultation process that led to its development have been welcomed by Wine Grape Growers Australia. The consultation process was nothing short of exemplary and the resulting five-year plan has been responsive in satisfying most of the needs of growers that were raised by WGGA. At the time of writing, the 2012-17 plan had only been released for a few weeks, so feedback to it from growers was still being realised. However, if what growers told WGGA about the areas of research they wanted prioritised over the next five years is anything to go by, then they should be very happy with it. Of the four programs outlined in the plan, three are directly relevant to growers and line-up very well with the priorities set down in WGGA’s strategic plan. Of particular note is the importance given to biosecurity-related issues (Program 1). WGGA is responsible for coordinating the management of industry’s biosecurity arrangements. While those arrangements are in the process of being devised, the five-year plan ensures that some important fundamentals will be in place in the event of an exotic pest incursion and, in the longer-term, important elements determined that will fit into the industry management plan. WGGA is also pleased that the five-year plan will explore objective measurements of winegrape

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characteristics that are sought in the marketplace (Program 3). As a sector, the winegrape industry is very interested in this subject not only because, in many cases, such measurements are used to set prices, but also because we believe such measurements establish important whole-of-value-chain signals that can ensure that the industry delivers what consumers want and, thereby, address the current supply/demand imbalance. Through such signals, it is important that winemakers convey to growers what they need to meet demand. Program 4, which aims to accelerate the adoption of R&D outcomes to the wine sector, is also a welcome initiative. This means better enabling people to pick up on the research that the GWRDC is funding and put it into practise. The recent ASVO seminar held in Mildura on Objective Measures of Grape and Wine Quality revealed that the industry’s focus on quality started some 30 years ago, with a lot of good research carried out in that time in the pursuit of improving winegrape and wine quality. However, this research has not necessarily been applied in Australia by growers and winemakers. Although more research in this area might be useful, the seminar demonstrated that we could improve our uptake of good existing research. Feedback from growers during the consultation process for the development of the five-year plan urged a stronger focus on extension and adoption and the plan responded with this. While the fourth priority area of the five-year plan, Consumers and Markets, doesn’t have a direct impact on growers, it is important in that it aims to ensure that the appropriate research is done to push out the demand equation. As such, WGGA supports this program. W i n e & V i t i c ult u r e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

At a glance 2012-17 GWRDC RD&E Programs and themes Program 1: Environment and sustainability 1.1 Climate adaptability 1.2 Germplasm (grapevine) 1.3 Vineyard profitability 1.4 Pest and disease management 1.5 Biosecurity Program 2: Consumers and markets • 2.1 Consumer insights • 2.2. Market access Program 3: Improving products and processes 3.1 Objective measures of quality and assessment systems 3.2 Germplasm (yeast and bacterial) 3.3 Process efficiency 3.4 Vineyard characteristics Program 4: Extension and adoption 4.1 Adoption 4.2 Developing people 4.3 Evaluation A complete copy of the 201217 RD&E plan is available at: http://www.gwrdc.com.au/ webdata/resources/files/GWRDCStrategicPlan-web.pdf

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opi n io n

Paul Evans, chief executive, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.

At the time of writing, the GWRDC’s new strategic plan was still relatively fresh on my desk and was yet to be formally considered by the WFA board. However, my initial response is overwhelmingly positive and there are a few comments I can make in relation to its content, its direction and its likely impact. In so doing, I must note that the plan reflects the reality that the need for innovation in the wine sector has never been greater. I suspect this is something the GWRDC team heard many times during its consultation process. It is significant that the plan represents a shift from a largely researcher-led prioritysetting process to an industry-led approach. The GWRDC makes it clear that winemakers and grapegrowers have to define and specify what challenges they want solved 1 3 9 _ v 1 C R T _ N u f a r m3 . (or,3at1 very least, need assistance with) and

that it sees part of its role as directing R&D investment. WFA made this point strongly in its written submission to the strategy process and I think its position was misunderstood by some. We were neither critical of past performance by our research institutions nor dismissive of their views, and we certainly did not underestimate the importance of maintaining a professional research infrastructure and capability. Our point was simply that with diminished resources we need greater focus, greater flexibility and access to a broader range of research options. If we are to achieve the GWRDC’s vision of an ‘Australian wine sector that is profitable, competitive and sustainable through innovation’, then that innovation needs to address the issues that threaten or at least weaken the profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of wine businesses. This is also reflected in a shift from a research agenda dominated by technical issues to incorporate business performance improvements – the value-add of R&D investment. This is important, and it is not just a short-term view. There is important business-related research to be done that will inform long-term planning. pdf Pa ge 1 2 5 / 0 6 / 1 2 , 1 2 Similarly, the GWRDC appears to

have broadened its scope and is looking to invest in R&D across the whole value chain, not just grape and wine production. A commitment to understanding consumer preferences, developing people, and improving process efficiency from vineyard to point-of-sale sits comfortably with traditional wine research areas, such as germplasm and pest and disease management, and makes for a more compelling R&D strategy. Two other themes warrant comment. The first is the very strong commitment to adoption. The GWRDC makes it clear that it will place “an even stronger emphasis on the pathway to market for R&D”, with the implication that its priority will be on research that can be applied by businesses. That is very much in line with WFA’s thinking. The second is support for flagship projects – such as the Winery of the Future – that require collaboration between several disciplines to provide holistic solutions. This also is welcomed, although we must be careful to ensure we do not insist on collaboration for collaboration’s sake. Sometimes one researcher or one team does have the answers, just as blue sky research will continue to have its place in a : 5 3 PM WVJ well-rounded research program.

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9


W FA

Regions the key in Entwine Australia review By Damien Griffante, Coordinator Natural Resources, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia

WFA is undergoing a formal review of Entwine Australia, the Australian wine industry’s national environmental assurance program, to determine the correct steps to take towards its next milestone.

T

he best time to take stock is when things are going well. Entwine Australia membership passed the 650 mark at the end of July – pretty much in line with our original expectations – and we have begun a formal review of the program to assess its overall performance, the lessons we’ve learned and where things should go from here. An important part of the process is a review day, which was scheduled to take place shortly before this issue of the Journal hit your mailbox. This session brought together members of the Wine Industry National Environment Committee (WINEC), regional participants and a selection of independent experts. WINEC provides environmental policy direction to WFA, and was a driving force behind the development of Entwine and its launch at the end of 2009. As you might expect, a major focus of the review was to be the role of regions. Evidence shows that Entwine membership has been

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strongest in those regions that have embraced the concept and engaged with us, and there is no doubt that regional associations play a critical role in on-the-ground, day-to-day activities that are difficult to coordinate at a national level. In particular, we have spent a lot of time recently working with regions that have been heavily involved with environmental issues, such as McLaren Vale, to develop a model that will allow us to incorporate regional sustainability programs and activities under the Entwine Australia banner. This work will continue, and is vital to ensuring the industry as a whole is moving in the same direction. While the first few years of Entwine focussed on establishment, promotion and information for industry, the emphasis will now shift to improvement and provision of greater value to members. A priority is to release our first national report – hopefully before the end of the year. Since Entwine began, we have been collecting data from members about their environmental performance, and the original aim was to produce a national report each year against which individual members could benchmark their performance. In reality, things were a little more complicated than expected. In the first year, the initial data set lacked sufficient definition around the scope of the question, contained sparse data from a small membership base and included some misinterpretation of questioning, resulting in data with little value. We sorted things out the following year by introducing a reporting guide to help streamline the data set, but still things were not quite ready to provide useable results. At the time of writing, the third year’s data is still being collected but we have some very positive indications of accurate and reliable data. Once the national report becomes a reality, we hope to be able to provide Entwine members with tailored, individual benchmarking reports. Looking back on the first 30 months of Entwine, the current membership position is not one that was expected, but makes sense considering the makeup of the Australian wine industry. Entwine membership comprises both grapegrowers and winemakers, and it is the growers who are currently dominating, accounting for more than 90 per cent of program numbers. This skew is a result of the large portion of growers compared with winemakers. Critical to this have been the efforts of some of Entwine’s larger wine companies, including Treasury Wine Estates and Pernod Ricard Pacific, including their supply chain within the company. The breakdown of membership by state also is interesting. Unsurprisingly, it is South Australia that dominates membership numbers, but Western Australia is in second place, driven by support in Margaret River. While WA provides a relatively small portion of the total wine industry’s production, Margaret River has led the way for independent wineries becoming involved in the program. This was a rather pleasant surprise, and has highlighted the importance of coordinated efforts between national, state and regional bodies. NSW and Victoria have continued to hold significant numbers and, in recent times, we have also seen a surge from Tasmania. WVJ

W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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ASVO

A successful seminar and the ASVO Awards for Excellence By Paul Petrie, President, Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology

W

e have received a lot of positive feedback on our seminar ‘Objective measures of grape and wine quality’, which was held recently in Mildura. Highlights included an insightful introduction to the potential benefits and hazards of measuring quality by Wendy Cameron, from Brown Brothers. Other thought-provoking presentations included those by Ashley Keegan, from FABAL, who reminded everyone of the critical value and financial impact of correctly valuing fruit, and Dr Sue Bastian, of The University of Adelaide, who included a ‘show bag’ of sensory reference samples. Dr Anthony Saliba, of the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre, presented a novel method of assessing consumers’ wine preferences, and Dr Terry Lee, editor of the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, did an excellent job of looking at what the future may hold. The inclusion of two overseas speakers was supported by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation: Professor Antonio Silva-Ferreira, of the University of Porto, in Portugal, spoke about the VinePAT system for measuring grape quality in the field; and Dr Mike Cleary, of E&J Gallo, in the US, talked about how many of the quality measures developed in Australia have been implemented in California.

The ASVO extends thanks to all of the speakers who are critical in making the event a success, and our editorial team is working hard to compile what should be a very interesting proceedings. If you did not attend the seminar, you will still be able to purchase a copy of the proceedings from the ASVO website when it is completed in about six months’ time. Copies of the proceedings of many of our previous seminars are also available for purchase, or free to members. The ASVO formally launched its awards for excellence at the seminar in Mildura. These awards recognise professional excellence in viticulture, winemaking and research. The awards will be made to individuals who have demonstrated technical mastery and excellence in their respective fields of expertise. The ASVO is offering three award categories to recognise dedicated professionals within our industry: ‘Paper of the year’ is sponsored by the GWRDC and is open to all scientific papers published in the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research. It will be selected by the expert industry and research Journal advisory committee, with a focus on how the research can be applied to industry. The ‘viticulturist of the year’ award is sponsored by Bayer CropScience, and will honour an outstanding viticulturist involved in the development of a novel and significant

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viticultural innovation, or introduction of a novel viticultural practice over the previous five years. The ‘winemaker of the year’ award (sponsor still pending) will recognise a winemaker within the industry who has demonstrated technical mastery over technical aspects of winemaking. ASVO members are invited to apply for these awards electronically using the forms and guidelines available from the ASVO website. The awards will be presented on 21 November this year at a dinner at Enoteca Cucina as part of the ASVO Winery Efficiency and Sustainability seminar, to be held from 2122 November at the Italian Club, in Adelaide. Planning for this seminar is progressing well, and will focus on new and innovative winemaking practices and new winemaking technology that reduce wine movements, input costs and, more importantly, improve wine quality. Topics will include cold and heat stability, cross-flow lees filtration, improved barrel handling and storage, embracing better harvesting and fruit sorting technology and improved winery plant sterilisation. Sustainability topics will include line pigging, re-use of winery cleaning chemicals, and innovative energy management in winery plant and buildings. The speakers will include local and international winemakers who are able to talk about their practical experiences with these new technologies. WVJ

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Life as a small to medium wine producer – sans the rose-coloured glasses By Tony Keys

In keeping with the focus of this issue on small to medium wineries, Tony Keys asked five producers that fit into this category to comment on just how tough business is at the moment, and how they’re managing to survive.

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hy do so many small wineries exist in Australia? What is the fascination about wine that entices people to often risk whatever wealth they have gathered and invest it in an enterprise that produces an alcoholic fruit drink? If the answer is to increase wealth, make a killing and retire to an island in the sun, then it has to be asked why 400 wineries have come into existence post2007, the year considered to be the peak of the current wine cycle. If homework had been done, it should have been obvious that the industry was in decline and who, apart from an under-researched gambler or fool, invests in something that is risky and on the wane? Taking the average that one tonne of grapes equals 720 litres of wine, or 80 cases of wine, then according to the 2012 Wine Industry Directory there are 470 wine producers turning out 800 cases or less of wine per annum, and a total of 1783 producing 8000 cases or less. That means that 70 per cent of Australian wine producers are (in my opinion) small. The reasons why so many wineries came into existence after 2007 are numerous; whatever the original reason, after a few years the answer from the proprietor often is, it seemed like a good idea at the time. How many of these small wineries are stand-alone profitable is hard to judge, but from gathered intelligence, I suspect very few are nowadays. Some are weekend ventures supported by off-farm income, while others are part of a larger farming or tourism enterprise. Passion and commitment aside, all winery proprietors want to produce quality wine, sell what they make and book a profit. The fact that most can’t get all the pieces to fit snugly together may be frustrating but, ultimately, it often boils down to expectation being greater than knowledge and ability. Time is a great leveller in the wine industry. Over a period, normally at least three decades, if the foundation work has been put correctly in place, various

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factors do come together. Margaret River producer Cullen is a good example. Established just over 40 years ago in 1971, Cullen Wines is now firmly recognised among the higher echelons of Australian wine producers. How it became so is worth looking at, but if anyone is naive enough to think it’s solely because of the supreme wine quality Cullen produces, they really need to think deeper and longer. When Dr Kevin Cullen established his vineyard it was on Dr John Gladstones’ theory, but not financially proven in the marketplace that Margaret River was a good place for quality wine production. For the first few years, Cullen was one of a handful of wineries in the region. If more hadn’t come into production, it’s likely the reputation of the region wouldn’t have escalated as it did. Of Cullen in the early 1980s, James Halliday wrote, “the prices for the wines are too low, so buyers should act quickly”. Production then was just 5000 cases; now it’s 20,000 cases and prices are far from cheap. Wine quality is a chicken and egg scenario. There is no doubting its importance, but quality in the finished product also requires vines that have some age. Readers may recall the boast of Yarra Valley wineries in the early 1980s: how they were the Bordeaux of Australia and the wines they produced fully deserved equal status and were worth equal price to the Grands Crus. Those same readers may also recall the thin, green, stalky Cabernet Sauvignon wines that many produced. The early Tasmanian Pinots were much the same; the taste far short of the producers’ pronouncements. Now, 30-40 years later, the excellent quality coming out of the Yarra Valley and Tasmania can truly be judged. Planting a vineyard in the right terroir is a must, but if the region is unrecognised it’s rare that success will follow quickly. Exceptions to this are when a large company invests in a new or fledgling region, or when someone with a strong reputation, such as Brian Croser, establishes a vineyard. When Croser set up the Foggy Hill Vineyard on South W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula specifically to grow Pinot Noir, many were sceptical as it was unproven territory. Due to Croser’s reputation, the curiosity of industry, trade and media was huge. On the first release, all eyes were on Croser and palates were ready to be disappointed. Due to the care of vineyard and skill in winemaking Croser exhibited, the wine was a success and the vineyard reputation made. Should others plant in the region, they will already have a building block as part of their foundation. Choose the terroir (wherever) that is the most suitable for the variety to be planted. Employing a winemaker with outstanding credentials adds good access to money to commission an awardwinning structure, both beautiful and functional. It still doesn’t equal success in the wine game. The main aspect that can’t be pinned, despite legions of marketing people saying it can and presenting consumer surveys they say prove what they predict, is fashion. Who really knows why Australia is losing its edge in markets it has been so successful in? Why has Sauvignon Blanc usurped Chardonnay? How does Champagne stay top of the global sparkling wine table? A thousand theories can, and no doubt will, be put forward. Theories are fine, academic papers helpful, surveys, graphs and prediction all very well and should be read. Ultimately, the best advice comes from those who have done it; those who have struggled and come to realise it’s always a struggle, with hard work and commitment the only true answer. As for the product, make good wine; sell it at prices that are justifiable to the product, region and recognition of the winery. Following is the story of five wineries from five regions, comprising three that can be considered small wineries and the other two medium-sized. The oldest was established in 1969 (vineyards) while the youngest began in 1999. The proprietors or chief executives of these wineries tell how it really is in the world of wine, the rose-tinted spectacles having been put V27N5


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in the bottom drawer several years ago marginal visitation increases, but along with corkscrews, old Christmas significant spend improvement at cellar cards with odd envelopes and bits of string door”. too short to be of use, but too long to be Capitalising on cellar door visitors discarded. and the consumer database, a customer Marc Allgrove is chief executive of relations manager has been appointed McLaren Vale-based winery Chapel Hill. to focus on direct winery sales and social At a production of 50,000 cases, it’s firmly media. This year, Chapel Hill launched placed in the medium bracket on the ‘The Faithful’, which brings together wine production table. However, the business is enthusiasts and Chapel Hill supporters. bigger than wine production. Apart from Chapel Hill buys in fruit from many the cellar door, the property also has growers. Allgrove says it’s important 10-bedroom accommodation and small to, “ensure strong relationships with its conference facilities. grower base during these challenging Allgrove sees the challenges the times.” “We recognise that unless the Australian wine community faces as supply base is sustainable and profitable unchanged over the past year and for the grower, Chapel Hill won’t be,” lists them as: “pressure from global Allgrove continues. “This effort requires economic conditions, concentrated close collaboration throughout the domestic retail and increased presence year, regular communication of Chapel of online discounters; persistently high Hill’s goals to growers and a shared foreign exchange, falling consumer understanding of the pressures facing the confidence and supply/demand imbalance industry”. remaining”. Allgrove also brings up one Despite being aware of the challenges constant that remains unpredictable, “the and problems the industry faces and doing vagaries of vintage”. their uppermost to meet the challenge To tackle these issues and maintain and overcome the problems, Allgrove Chapel Hill as a sustainable business, admits, “required goals remain below Allgrove sees the solution in, “improving expectation”. Marc Allgrove, chief executive of sales mix, growing distribution both Allgrove offers this advice to the 3 1 0 7 7 _ v 1 C R T _ N u f a r mH . p d f Pa ge 1 1 8 / 0 6 / 1 2 , 1 1 : McLaren 0 8 A MVale-based Chapel Hill. domestically and abroad, along with industry: “refine its representation

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Jon Heslop, proprietor and winemaker for Witches Falls, based at Mount Tamborine, in Queensland. structure from a regional, state and federal perspective, ensuring that grapegrower and winemaker are brought together at all levels. The industry needs to be more proactive and urgent in addressing the supply issue, as current plantings will still deliver a grape surplus in an average year. Furthermore, the wine community, particularly in South Australia, needs to recognise its contribution to the nation’s and the state’s culture, identity and economy and ensure that it is promoted and invested in as such”. Chapel Hill has distribution in all states and several overseas markets. It’s a recognised wine name for many consumers, although I would venture it’s a knowledgeable wine drinker that will know the name. Operating a cellar door has more of a chic presence to it than farm shop but, in essence, that is what they are. I suspect that cellar door combined with mailing list is what keeps the pennies rolling in. Looking at a winery operation from this aspect, the question arises, are they wine producers seeking to reach the heady heights of global oenophile recognition and respect, or become known as a tourist destination? Tourism plays a huge part in Australian wine profitability, as it does in Australian export figures. The strong dollar not only makes wine expensive in overseas markets, it prevents tourists coming to

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Australia for holidays, with the double whammy being it makes it cheaper for Australians to go overseas. Allgrove knows this, believing regional tourism will have an, “increasing impact on the viability of wine businesses as traditional channels become more restricted and reliance on direct sales increases”. The Queensland Gold Coast is tourism personified: beaches, surf and accommodation suitable for every purse. Add in funparks, casinos, pubs and restaurants catering for all tastes, I wonder where wineries fit in. Wineries and vineyards as visualised in other states don’t, but behind the beaches is the Gold Coast Hinterland, home to several cellar doors and the odd production facility, like Witches Falls winery at Mount Tamborine. The region is not a prime area for grapegrowing, therefore, Witches Falls sources its fruit from the Granite Belt. Witches Falls owner/winemaker Jon Heslop disputes the question of tourism reliance: “Cellar door is our largest revenue stream, however, it is not the tourist trade providing this income; it is our base of members providing the largest contribution”. Work on the members’ club has paid dividends, as cellar door visitors are down but spend is up due to members’ purchases. Heslop speaks for many wineries across the country when he says, “we don’t feel we have been able W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

to increase prices in this market, as it will simply not be stable to do so and not accepted”. The harsh reality that has broken many wine producers’ faith in consumers’ approach to wine is the price barrier. It still seems to baffle wine producers that consumers like to taste and talk quality, hence expensive wine, but parting with the cash to back the words is not so forthcoming. Heslop has introduced cheaper brands to meet the priceconscious market and extended the Witches Falls range to cater for a broader, knowledgeable market. The move has paid off, as the last financial year returned increased revenue. Although revenue has increased over recent years, Heslop points out: “The massive increase in our labour costs and input costs, such as labels, packaging, bottles, electricity, just to name a few, makes our margins become very slim”. Outside of cellar door and the mailing list, hard work has been put into retail via independent bottleshops. Harder work has gone into the on-premise trade which, due to tourist numbers being down, has also been struggling. Witches Falls wines are exported, but the constant demand for cheaper prices makes it hard to maintain. Echoing the strategy of the much larger Chapel Hill, Heslop said that over the coming financial year he wants to, “become more and more creative in the way we market our brands, to utilise social media, create more branding and look for ways to increase our presence in the markets which, in turn, should increase sales.” Situated on the coast at Berry, in New South Wales, is Silos Estate, which could be said to sit roughly halfway between Witches Falls and Chapel Hill in size. It also sits between the two in what it offers consumers. As a winery, its production is small, just 2000 cases a year under the Silos Estate brand sourced from vineyards established in 1985. However, owners Rajarshi and Sophie Ray have a second range (Wileys Creek), which is sourced from other regions. The business also includes accommodation and a restaurant. Cellar door accounts for 70% of the business, followed a long way behind with wholesale at 25%. Online business sits at around 5%. In the 2011-12 financial year, cellar door visitors increased 10%, which has increased spending by 5%. But, as Rajarshi Ray points out: “In real terms, it’s down 5%; 10% more people, but only 5% more spend.” Price increases for Silos Estate wines have not been implemented for four years. The advantage of having a broad business V27N5


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is having other products that can help smooth over this aspect. “To overcome this problem, we have squeezed down our production costs aggressively, and also introduced ‘special run’ products, such as reserves, gift products, etcetera, which we can sell at higher prices,” says Ray. What they haven’t done is introduce cheaper ranges of wine. Exports have been wound back to zero, but Ray has increased wine sales fourfold since taking over the business in 2007, including outside cellar door to retail outlets. The last financial year was breakeven, but that is better than it sounds as investment for the future was made. For the coming year, Ray thinks it will be tougher, but: “We are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not 100% certain what the growth of private labels means at this time, but even looking at half-a-dozen of the big box outlets, I see much less cleanskin presence. Perhaps (I don’t have a lot of industry data on this) some of the oversupply is starting to come down (wishful thinking perhaps).” Silos Estate is a member of various official bodies, “even though I have mixed feelings about some of them”, says Ray.

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Rajarshi and Sophie Ray, owners of Silos Estate, at Berry, on the New South Wales coast. “It is important that we have one voice as an industry, as there will be much pressure coming down the line. For smaller places to succeed there needs to be substantial reform in employment conditions; $38-40/hour for a cellar

Legend

door person on a Sunday can’t really be supported.” Canberra District winery Lerida Estate is less reliant on tourism and closes its café for two months of the year, reopening it at the beginning of August.

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Brian ‘Prof’ Lynn, of the Coonawarra’s Majella wine company. The decline in visitors hasn’t been all bad, as proprietor Jim Lumbers explains: “Spend per head is up with fewer casual drop-ins and more destination-focussed wine enthusiasts.” Juggling the wine offerings to maximise profitability is ongoing. Recent success in the UK for Lerida Estate Shiraz Viognier has meant the wine can stand a price rise, but wine at the other end of the range has been reduced. Lumbers is proud that revenue has increased year-on-year since 2006, albeit “sometimes very little”. Domestic retail and on-premise sales have increased and Lerida wines are now exported to China. With Lerida Estate gaining greater domestic and global recognition it’s not time to sit back and take it easy for the coming year. Lumbers plans to: “Focus on helping the distributor build volume, also build China but not ignoring cellar door. (We are) also trying to do better than last year and improve on being runner-up at the national tourism awards.” Lumbers has direct views on the official bodies: “I am very disappointed with Wine Australia and would prefer to see it disappear and that portion of our levy refunded. Bureaucrats have never helped an industry. Technical research and development has been and is essential, whereas marketing and promotion research and assistance from government is absolutely useless and should be stopped. The Winemakers’

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Federation is very disappointing in failing to see the contradictions in and futility of government-conducted promotion (will primary producers never learn?). What would be useful would be more energy put into tax issues and combating the myths propagated by the anti-alcohol lobby. We also need to fight impediments to trade in inconsistent labelling laws and allowable residues and additives. Add to the list eliminating expenditure on membership of useless international bodies (better still, campaigning to have them wound up).” As a region, Coonawarra works hard to attract tourism and on certain weekends, or the annual Coonawarra Cup race day, the region is buzzing. At other times, Coonawarra appears deserted; it’s not close to any large city - around four hours from Adelaide and five from Melbourne. The Lynn family have been in the district for generations and run a mixed farming enterprise. Grapes were first planted in 1968, but wine under the Majella label was not produced until 1991. Brian and his brother Tony Lynn are the current heads of the enterprise, with Brian the face of the wine side. On tourist visitors and the business they bring, Brian Lynn says: “Believe it or not, cellar door is a large part of our operation. We have noticed a slight increase in visitor numbers overall, and I think we have an excellent ‘hit’ rate compared with some other wineries”. Mail order is also a strong contributor W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

to the business, with Lynn trusting that the younger generation prefers to purchase online. Lynn also believes that overall discretionary spending is down, saying: “An accountant I was recently speaking to called it the ‘winter of discontent’. I think the economy is going okay, but people would rather put any spare cash in the bank rather than spend it on wine, restaurants, etc. Bankers are telling me that they are awash with deposits and working hard to get the money out there to make a profit for the bank.” Lynn backs the hearsay with personal experience: “We’ve done a number of consumer shows around Australia this year, and we have certainly noticed a lower spend rate”. Despite the general difficulties both domestic and global, Majella is holding its own and still selling out of product each year. The reason for this, Lynn says, is: “We have gotten off our backsides and gone out to meet the customers whenever we can. You can’t wait for the market to come to you; it’s imperative to get out there and meet and greet”. A third of Majella’s production is set aside for export and the rest for domestic sales. For the domestic allocation, Lynn likes to see a third sold via cellar door and mail order, with the rest going to both on- and off-premise. Majella hasn’t introduced cheaper brands, and price increases have not been implemented for most of the existing lines for the past five years. Of those that have been raised, the increase has been slight. If there is any justification in holding prices, Lynn puts forward this explanation: “I really think our customers know (and appreciate) the fact that we have held our prices, and that’s been a big factor in us maintaining sales”. Contrary to many in the industry, Majella is holding its own in its export markets. “Canada is firing, as are Singapore, Hong Kong and China,” says Lynn. “We’re getting some renewed interest from the US, although there is a weakening demand from the UK, and Ireland is dead. Northern Europe is okay as well. The high dollar is not helping at all, and it’s fair to say that we have had to absorb some costs to stay competitive in a few of our markets.” Lynn’s statement on lower margins raises the question: is it worth it? “It’s the old dilemma – do we sell and take a lower margin, or keep it in the warehouse where it brings no income? It’s always an arguable point,” says Lynn. He says he’s not sure what the next year will bring, but he reckons Majella will “still be going okay at the end of the next fiscal year”. So will most of Australia’s small wineries; well, those that fully realise it won’t be easy and the only solution is hard work and more WVJ hard work. V27N5


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Climate mapping in Tasmania to encourage vineyard investment By Richard Smart. Email: richard@smartvit.com.au

This article discusses the genesis of a recently-announced research project that will map potential vineyard sites in Tasmania based on climatic attributes with the aim of encouraging expansion. Richard Smart has spent most of the last 12 years working in Tasmania, during which time he developed an appreciation of the opportunities there for viticulture, based on the years he spent in New Zealand in the 1980s where he perceived the potential of cool climate, New World wines in the international marketplace. Encouraging interest in growth

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uring consulting work for Josef Chromy, at Tamar Ridge, in the early 2000s I studied the remarkable similarity of the Tasmanian and New Zealand climates. After Tamar Ridge was purchased by Gunns, subsequent homoclime studies led to the purchase and development of the White Hills vineyard (temperature homoclime of Martinborough) and Coombend (temperature homoclime of Marlborough). I shared my convictions with the Tasmanian Government's Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts (DEDTA), which led to the Department introducing me to Professor Jonathan West, of the Australian Innovation Research Centre (AIRC) at the University of Tasmania. Professor West had reasoned from an economic viewpoint that the wine sector had growth potential and could contribute to the Tasmanian economy in a significant way. In 2010, I organised and accompanied a visit to New Zealand by DEDTA officials to study the substantial regional economic benefit of a developing Tasmanian wine sector. The wine sector was included in the State Economic Development Plan. Around this time, I wrote two articles for the Wine & Viticulture Journal about Tasmania’s wine potential. The first, 'Tasmania, might it become the Pinot Isle?’, reviewed Tasmania’s resources compared with those elsewhere in Australia. The second discussed wine trade between New Zealand and Australia with a subtitle ‘How Goliath might learn from David’. This showed how the smaller New Zealand sector was out-performing Australia in trade

The proposed Pinot Noir vineyards in which measurements of vine growth, development and fruit composition will be taken over two growing seasons and compared with temperatures measured in the vineyards.

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between the two countries. This analysis showed the international trade success of well-made and well-marketed genuine cool climate wines, and reinforces the potential for Tasmania. More recently, the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement between the Federal and Tasmanian Governments has concentrated on diversification opportunities in the Tasmanian economy in response to the declining forestry sector. Climate study is proposed A joint, multi-faceted climate study of existing and potential new vineyard areas with Dr Reuben Wells was subsequently approved. It aims to define the quality potential of sites within Tasmania, and also to minimise risks of high rainfall and spring frosts. Such a study could guide new vineyard plantings in Tasmania, and should encourage investment. In 2010, Tasmania produced only 0.6 per cent of Australia’s wine from 0.9% of the vineyard area. It is one of very few genuine cool climate wine regions in Australia and has, despite small production, begun to establish reputations for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling table wines, and for sparkling wines. With an important irrigation scheme now being implemented, there is a good potential to expand production. Climate study is announced The study of potential vineyard sites in Tasmania was officially announced by Hon Simon Crean, Minister for Regional Australia, and Lara Giddings, Premier of Tasmania, on 11 April 2012 at Moorilla winery, Hobart. It is part of a $525,000, two-year wine industry development project co-funded by

the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments and the University of Tasmania. The grant to undertake the climate study is part of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement $120 million diversification package, and follows grants to the dairy and aquaculture industries, which are also predicted to grow. The study will build on knowledge gained from detailed vineyard studies in the Loire Valley, in France, over the last several decades, which showed that differences in vine development rates were correlated with wine quality. Scope of the study The study has several components. First, there will be temperature measurements made in the landscape in five potential wine regions, north of Scottsdale, the East Coast, Southern Midlands, and Derwent and Huon Valleys. This information will be used to refine existing computer models of the temperature climate in Tasmania, the most important tool used in vineyard site selection. A second important component will be to select 21 Pinot Noir vineyards around Tasmania and to take measurements of vine growth, development and fruit composition over two growing seasons, and to compare these with temperatures measured in the vineyard. This will allow an understanding of the relationship between temperature and the growth of Pinot Noir vines and, eventually, wine quality for Tasmania. The vineyards have been selected to cover the range of temperature conditions presently used in Tasmania, and will rely on cooperating vineyard owners to record phenological stages. At the time of writing, around half of the vineyard owners had agreed to participate, and data loggers will be

installed before budburst. There is an opportunity for a student to undertake a Masters or PhD on this project, and I will enjoy hearing from parties seeking further information. A special study will be made of frost occurrence in several regions, since frost can limit vineyard expansion in Tasmania. This will involve frost experts Dr Steve Wilson and Stu Powell, of New Zealand, and their measurements will be combined into models to allow prediction and management of frost. Dr Reuben Wells is developing a mobile platform to enable measurements to be taken on frosty nights. The final stage of the study will combine all elements of climate into a definition of potential vineyard regions, which will include consideration of wine quality and climate hazards. The proposers hope that their studies will apply to Pinot Noir for table wine, as well as for sparkling wine. The output will be presented as maps. Such information will provide confidence for future investment in vineyard plantings. Results from the study will be made available to investors and present land holders in a series of publications and presentations. This will be the most comprehensive study of vineyard climates undertaken in Australia to date, and will increase our understanding of the relationship of Pinot Noir to climate and wine composition and quality. The project is being managed by Dr Dugald Close, of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, on behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport and the Tasmanian Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts. It concludes in June 2014. WVJ

2012 Edition OUT NOW Complete Wine Industry Directory NOW ONLINE Access via www.winebiz.com.au PROVIDING SOLUTIONS TO THE WINE INDUSTRY

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A W R I

Aged Riesling and the development of TDN Mangaging director By Cory Black, Leigh Francis, Prue Henschke*, Dimitra Capone, Samantha Anderson, Dan Johnson Martin Day, Helen Holt, Wes Pearson, Markus Herderich and Dan Johnson The Australian Wine Research Institute, PO Box 197, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia. Email: cory.black@awri.com.au *C.A. Henschke & Co, PO Box 100, Keyneton, SA 5353, Australia

Understanding and managing aged Riesling flavour has proven to be both complex and elusive. Some older Riesling wines have been described as having an aroma of ‘kerosene’, while most winemakers will describe the wines as displaying toasty, lime/marmalade flavours. This AWRI report provides winemakers with the most up-to-date information and advice on the management of the TDN compound in aged Riesling.

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here are few aroma compounds in wine that are more distinctive or more polarising than TDN (1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2dihydronaphthalene). It has been described as ‘delicious’, but ‘undesirable’ in excess, as it can give a kerosenelike aroma in some wines, depending on the age of the wine and individual preference. It is an important part of the bottle-aged bouquet of Riesling wines, with levels up to six times higher than in other varieties. The tightrope of TDN

There is no doubt that TDN is potent. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry earlier this year (Sacks et al. 2012) revealed that 50% of the population should be able to perceive (but not necessarily recognise) TDN in most Riesling wines, and the detection threshold is much lower than previously thought. Until recently, the sensory detection threshold of TDN was believed to be 20µg/L, but that figure has now been dramatically revised. The new threshold is just 2µg/L, a concentration 10 times lower. It remains difficult to predict, however, what concentration of TDN will make the aroma apparent, as other compounds can mask or strengthen TDN’s flavour. Complex chemical interactions can mean that the compounds responsible for floral, fruity or citrus characters (monoterpenes) or other fruity characters (esters) in young wines may enhance or mask the effects of TDN, even when it is present at moderate levels. In the acidic environment of wine, these young aromas slowly break down and, coupled with an increase in TDN, they can make TDN a dominant factor. Accordingly, measuring TDN alone may not give an accurate picture of the likelihood of a wine to display or develop a strong ‘aged’ aroma.

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Occasionally, particularly in warmer climates, younger wines can develop this aged character early, in which the heady aroma of TDN can overwhelm the highly attractive, delicate aromas of a young Riesling and disturb the balance of the wine. In fact, TDN can be used as a tool to distinguish whether a given Riesling wine has been made with grapes from warmer or cooler climates. Early harvesting and managing sun exposure by shading berries are two management strategies that will be explored later in this article. First, the formation of TDN requires further explanation, particularly given the mystery concerning its chemical ‘ancestry’. The formation of a flavour Strangely, free TDN is generally not present in significant quantities in grapes and in juice. Its formation depends on the presence of non-volatile compounds called carotenoids, which occur in many plant species. In fact, these carotenoids give much of the colour to the autumn leaves of deciduous plants. At least a dozen carotenoids have been identified in grapes, falling into two categories: carotenes (which include beta-carotene) and xanthophylls. Both build up in the early stages of fruitset, then break down from veraison onwards (see Figure 1), forming smaller molecules called C13norisoprenoids. The norisoprenoids, including compounds that give rise to TDN, become attached to sugar molecules. This provides a slow-release flavour reservoir – TDN can emerge during storage, although once formed, the compound is stable in wine. It is known that higher carotenoid concentrations in Riesling grapes lead to higher TDN levels in the final wine. Wine scientists have discovered that carotenoids can be present in concentrations up to eight times higher in grape leaves and W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

At a glance The ‘aged’ character in Riesling is linked to the formation of TDN and its precursors, which increase in concentration when grapes are exposed to sunlight and warm temperatures. High concentrations of TDN are also linked to bottle age, and higher temperatures when bottles are stored. Closures also play a role, though winemakers seeking to ‘fix’ high levels of TDN should be wary of basing closure choice on this parameter alone, since the performance of the closure has a major impact on wine quality. To reduce TDN levels, modifying canopy density early in the season can be effective; where possible, grapes should be harvested from cool locations; in warmer years, consider harvesting earlier. three times higher in grape skins when compared with berry pulp. Still, the conditions that produce higher concentrations of TDN in Riesling have not yet been completely established. Investigations have targetted sun exposure, cluster temperature, grape maturity, water stress, soil nitrogen levels, ageing, storage temperature, wine pH, and yeast strains. This report looks at some of those factors in more detail, so as to offer the most up-to-date advice regarding TDN management. Sun exposure – a key factor By far the most studied and accepted contributor to TDN is sun exposure. A number of scientific studies have shown that higher concentrations of TDN and its precursors are found in wines made from sun-exposed grapes. V27N5


A W R I

Figure 1. Carotenoid and norisoprenoid precursor concentration changes during maturation of Muscat berries. (From Baumes et al. 2002, reproduced with permission). In one study (Gerdes et al. 2002), researchers measured TDN concentrations in Riesling at increasing levels of exposure. They found that anything higher than 20% of full sun exposure on the grape cluster from veraison onwards increases TDN levels. Another, more recent investigation of Riesling produced in the US – in the Finger Lakes region of New York State – has pin-pointed a key period in the growing season when carotenoids develop due to sun exposure. In this study (Kwasniewski et al. 2010), researchers removed 75% of the leaves in the fruiting zone at three time points (two, 33 and 68 days post-berry set) to assess the effects of berry shading and increased sun exposure on the precursors that lead to TDN – the carotenoids. The study measured levels of carotenoids in grapes, as well as wine made from grapes at each time point. They also measured the free and total TDN in each batch of finished wine. They discovered a spike in the levels of one carotenoid, known as zeaxanthin, mid-season at the 33-day mark. This correlated well with high TDN levels in the finished wine made from grapes harvested at that time. Scientists were already aware that zeaxanthin forms in direct response to sun exposure; at lower temperatures its formation is strongly suppressed. A direct link between sun exposure, higher concentrations of carotenoids and TDN production does not tell the whole story, however. Researchers have found that

Sunlight and temperature alone do not account for all increases in TDN – other factors also play a part (Lee et al. 2007). As grape berries ripen, TDN precursors will naturally increase in concentration. Sun-exposed grapes will show a more rapid accumulation than shaded grapes, but concentrations of TDN can also be enhanced, or reduced, by other factors during the winemaking ▶ process.

V2 7N 5

W i n e & V i t icultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER

concentrations of other carotenoids remain stable – despite increased exposure to sunlight – and do not multiply in the same way. This finding is in keeping with one line of thought that increased sun exposure leads to relative amounts of carotenoids being altered, rather than a rise in overall carotenoid concentration. The mid-season spike at 33 days remains significant, however. More than twice as much TDN was detected in the wine produced from the 33-day grapes, compared with the other two time points and the control sample. The minimal effect of sun exposure on carotenoid/ TDN levels at the other time points (two and 68 days) suggests that the strategic exposure of grape clusters to sunlight can still be used at other time points to optimise grape quality. Grape and wine producers may consider shading berries or harvesting early to reduce the amount of TDN in a finished wine, for example.

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A W R I

Bottle age and temperature It is now well accepted that TDN concentrations increase with bottle age. Cellar or storage temperature is also a factor. In one study, wine samples stored at 30°C showed considerably higher increases in TDN than was found in those stored at 15°C. Oxidation Oxidation can also play a part – in some cases, it has been shown to contribute to an increase in TDN; in other cases, high levels of oxidation in fortified wines have been found to severely decrease levels of the compound. Water stress and soil nitrogen Although water stress is not directly responsible, partial drying of the rootzone has been found to have an indirect affect on the production of TDN: it reduces canopy size and, therefore, increases sunlight penetration. Nitrogen deficiency in soil has also been examined as a possible cause for high TDN levels. Some researchers have hypothesised that fertilisation has an effect by encouraging more leaf cover and berry shading.

Yeast activity The activity of different yeast strains has been shown to have little effect on TDN levels in Rheingau Riesling, according to one study (Sponholz and Hühn 1997). Closures Closure choice is also a significant factor. When AWRI researchers investigated the ability of five different closure types to absorb different aroma/ flavour compounds, they discovered that TDN was affected the most. The study showed that cork and synthetic closures absorbed more than 50% of the TDN present in a wine over two years in bottle. Wines under screwcap were found not to ‘lose’ any TDN. Wine acidity Finally, pH can play a part: more acidic wines have been shown to develop TDN more quickly than others. Understanding TDN and temperature To understand the impact of Australia’s climate on Riesling’s aged character, AWRI researchers, working with the Adelaide Hills Wine Region

and , carried out a survey of Riesling wines from a number of vintages and regions, also collecting mean January temperatures (MJT). A comparison of Adelaide Hills and Eden Valley was particularly important since, anecdotally, TDN levels are said to develop earlier in Eden Valley Riesling than the Adelaide Hills. The study followed similar work overseas: a comparison of South African and European Riesling found that lower rainfall, higher sunshine hours and higher average temperatures in South Africa coincided with higher TDN. For the AWRI study, 116 Riesling wines were collected from regions including Adelaide Hills (40), Eden Valley (36), Clare Valley (14), Tasmania (12), and Victoria (7), with smaller numbers from Canberra (1), France (1), Germany (3), New Zealand (1) and Slovakia (1). The wines spanned a range of vintages and included nine vertical series (defined here as three or more wines of different vintages from the same winery). The largest number of wines were drawn from the 2010 vintage (26 wines) in order to investigate TDN levels in younger wines. A majority (89) of the wines were sealed under screwcap, while 26 had cork stoppers and one was under a glass seal.

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A W R I

The wines underwent an informal sensory evaluation with 12 panellists, including winemakers and members of the AWRI’s Technical Quality sensory panel. The wines were scored on a ninepoint scale for ‘TDN’, ‘floral’, ‘fruity’ and ‘oxidation’ characteristics, and were then given an overall quality score out of 20. It should be noted that due to issues with sample volumes available, the tasting was not replicated and the data are indicative only. Immediately after sensory evaluation, concentrations of TDN and a selection of other flavour compounds (monoterpenes) were determined by gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry. The minimum, median and maximum TDN levels found in each region are displayed in Table 1. This analysis found all of the wines to be at or above the recently reported sensory detection threshold (2µg/L) for TDN. However, the tasting panel found far fewer wines to have a ‘an undesirable character’ aroma. In the younger wines, there were also higher concentrations of flavour compounds (monoterpenes) that may have masked TDN . Wine colour was also assessed to indicate the extent of oxidation. Varying degrees of oxidation were detected by the

Table 1. Minimum, median and maximum TDN levels found for Riesling wines in the survey.* Region

N

Minimum (µg/L)

Median (µg/L)

Maximum (µg/L)

Adelaide Hills

40

2

36

172

Clare Valley

14

12

74

115

Eden Valley

36

5

88

255

Tasmania

12

10

63

103

Victoria

7

25

47

210

Non-domestic

6

2

14

33

* Canberra not shown – only one sample with 21µg/L. sensory panel in older wines (>7 years), irrespective of closure. Oxidation was considerably more variable under cork, however. In general, higher oxidation scores were given for those wines. When oxidised wines were excluded from the data set, the panel’s ratings of TDN related much better to the measured concentrations. There was no significant relationship between quality score and perceived TDN, with a number of wines containing high TDN levels (including the second-highest TDN concentration of 246µg/L found in a 1998 Eden Valley Riesling) having high quality scores. This indicates that even very high levels of

TDN do not mean that the wine concerned will be considered objectionable. In fact, consumer testing at the AWRI in a previous Riesling study showed that kerosene aroma alone was not important to consumers, as long as there were other bottle-age flavours present, such as honey, toast and lime. The wines with oxidised flavour, however, were not liked by consumers. Careful investigation of the data showed that there was a link between TDN concentrations and the age of a wine, the closure used and MJT in the region concerned. The TDN levels for each vintage are shown in Figure 2. As expected, age was

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reach of childre AL INSTRUCTIONS in a cool, well-ve at the See GENER pre-emergentbanana • Keep out of closed, original container Short term 1 DO NOT use as a tissue culture direct sunlight. with control • Store in the for prolonged periods in ners before dis Grasses: time of planting . (up to 4 for Use Barnyard planting material Do not store ably pressure rinse contai undiluted che months) a only: Directions Guineagrass e of 2 Western Australi loam or heavier 4.5 L • Triple or prefer tank. Do not dispos clean container on medium with crabgrass CROP GROUP ring fruits) Love a Vineyards heavily infested 9.5 L/ha of Paradox (see also non-bea 1 rinsings to spray replace cap and return soil types, with up to pome fruit Banana Pigeon ng, Pear with may be sprayed Nectarine site. If recycli collection point. Spiny burr these soils Grape2 nocent Weed) Long term Surflan 500 and together Apple Peach species on ately after re and bury emp fruits) (Gentle Annie/In ated ring Prunus punctu prune all design Fruit or & or and control Plum Pome g be immedi Apricot (see also non-bea le, bury Summer grass break, crush 3 sprayin g canfrom nurseries providinal (6 to 8 Cherry (Crabgrass ) Orange Stonefruit If not recycling, ity landfill. If no landfill is availabmarked Walnut transplanting dormant and no function months) Grapefruit Pecan Broadleaf Weeds: buds are stillpresent. in a local author in a disposal pit specificallyvegetation 6.8 L d herbicide which Citrus Fruit Deadnettle leaves are early in Almonds Raspberry surface applie crops listed. Fumitory below 500 mm of waterways, desirable be burnt. a only: Apply mia ria Fathen ergent Australi Macada (Digita 3 Nuts the Currant ss pre-em Western clear in not is a crabgra with Portulaca this purpose rry Gooseberry product should ble Herbicide summe r forcontrol and incorporate broadleaf weeds established weeds. ts Blackbe y (Pigweed) containers and of Loganberry ring berryfrui sanguinalis) Surflan 500 Flowa ied annual grasses and Blueberr tle free . Empty Non-bea Olive be Sowthis irrigation before d erry specif should soil from overhea Boysenb Passionfruit Lemon Wireweed to be treated e, prunings, etc) into the will control the weeds may range CTIONS 4 Control of these depending upon soil Pawpaw Litchi (Hogweed) ration: Areas Avocado residu SAFETY DIRE t and skin. on 4 depth n (weed eyes excellen fruits, tion, apple to Persimm Soil Prepa with trash Mandari ring t poor species is Non-bea and ghly mix time of germina Brassica nightshade stock Custard • Avoid contac spray mist. Rambutan Mango on (12.5 mm) temperature, in the soil, and amount Feijoa including nursery Blackberry Remove or thorou t. : menziesii Nashi or sprinkler irrigati of weed seed moisture. efficacy Guava of the following Pseudotsugaor Oregon pine) • Do not inhale produc Caltrop ) the form of rain te the product otherwise timing of soil Kiwifruit applying the (Douglas fir Picea (spruces Paddymelon irens de : Moisture in orate the activa or Poisons Pinus (pine) orientalis Sequoia semperv Silverleaf nightsha Abies (fir trees) period, incorp Soil Activation21 days of application to FIRST AID l redwood) AL INSTRUCTIONS at the dus and/or cyparis , contact a doctor See GENER ed within the (Japanese yew) Nursery stock conifers Chamae and false cypress) Platycla arborvitae) (Coasta Short term a pre-emergent Taxus cuspidata (oriental required within d. If moisture is not receiv If poisoning occurs . Phone 13 11 26. 1 DO NOT use as tissue culture banana seedling stage of the (Lawson eria control Thuja with Podocarpus Grasses: Cryptom (cypress) including species time of planting . (up to 4 Information Centre may be reduce top 2.5 cm of soil. Barnyard SHEET Cupressus(Junipers) following genus: planting material months) al Sa Guineagrass tank and SAFETY DATA Juniperus a only: product into the Grevillea of the genus: 4.5 L 2 Western Australi MATERIAL ation is listed in the Materi ide w Love loam or heaviers a half-full spray to native species Casuarina n rilla) Hakea medium over on added a Australia (sarsapa be Paradox Vineyards heavily infested with crabgras Hardenbergia (Oaks and sheoak) Additional informSurflan 500 Flowable Herbic t solutions to stand n 500 should L/ha of Acacia (wattles) MIXING Nursery stock,and Pigeon ucium uncinatum Hibbertia soil types, Peppermint, with up to 9.5 on reques amount of Surfla of filling. Do not leave spray Agonis (WAHoney) myrtle) Chamaelaon wax) burr Sheet for horus ornamentals, s be sprayed together with pome fruit a Spiny Weed) Data may Phosp nocent Kennedi (or term The required (Geraldt planting soils etion Long United Willow Annie/In amenity of the Surflan 500 and species on these after during compl Lechenaultia and Melaleuca (Gentle grass Clematis control is available from e 02 9580 9790. Allocasuarina comprising Summer 3 ) agitated well and all Prunus g be immedi ately Correa myoporoides Leptospermum (6 to 8 Banksia following: (Crabgrass on sprayin g canfrom nurseries providinal ially Customer Servic (teatrees) (Mintbush) Phosphorus months) Boronia (Bottlebrush) Eriostem night. transplanting dormant and no function uniformly, espec Prostanthera SALE: United p Broadleaf Weeds: 6.8 L Callistemon s pine) (Wax flower) buds are stillpresent. ITIONS OF per hectare. Apply label rates does quality of the (Cypres ON Thryptomene Eucalyptus tent Deadnettle COND water Callitris ICATI are in consis litres ia above leaves APPL early 450 the for the Westring Fathen Fumitory Calytrix a only: Apply that application ide sprayer. 500 in 200 to responsibility the use and application of res (Digita ria 3 Western Australi Portulaca Cassia Apply Surflan e of trees and shrubs, so re (170 to 340 kPa) herbic crabgra ss with (Pigweed) summe r forcontrol and incorporate tank before however since l, the company accepts no within the driplin properly calibrated low pressu spray suspension in the resu Sowthistle sanguinalis) . cultivated a is beyond controany loss, damage or other from Wireweed overhead irrigation agitation of the product may be shallow not occur. Use weeds may range (Hogweed) whatsoever for product whether used in accor 4 Control of these depending upon soil glyphosate, by-pass or other this 4 t tor Provide good ation. Soil treated with compatible with paraquat, tion, depth Brassica species poor to excellen de the use of the other than those manda and time of germina is Blackberry nightsha temperature, in the soil, and amount not; rep or and during applic dal activity. Surflan 500 to the directions Caltrop of weed seed moisture. herbici liability is limited Paddymelon without loss of simazine. timing of soil de by statutes, the is conditional upon a claim CTIONS and Silverleaf nightsha nt GENERAL INSTRU rgent at the oxyfluorofen the goods and necessary, a sufficie Short term See a pre-eme NING 1 DO NOT use as tissue culture banana control WEEDS WAR with Grasses: writing and, where ed for proper examina (up to 4 time of planting . RESISTANT return Barnyard months) planting material goods being thirty days of sale. des. Guineagrass a only: Osmanthus 4.5 L group of herbici 2 Western Australi of the genus: Love loam or heavier company within Parahebe Felicia on medium with crabgrass dinitroanilines weed resistance Exotic species Paradoxa Vineyards heavily infested 9.5 L/ha of Philadelphus Gardenia For member of the Abelia Nursery stock,and Pigeon soil types, Herbicide is a formation mode of action. a with up to pome fruit Philodendron le tals, Gingko Acalyph sprayed burr ornamen Flowab be with Spiny ) s tubulin nocent Weed) Long term may 500 and together these soils Phoenix Hibiscus Surflan 500 Acer (maples amenity planting (Gentle Annie/In Surflan other Group the inhibitor of the herbicide. Photinia species on ately after Ilex control Arctostaphylos comprising of Summer grass m The product hasthe product is a Group D resistant to the product and population. and all Prunus immedi providing 3) Pieris 8 be Jasminu : to (6 ss can Ardisia g following s , (Crabgra sprayin any weed if these Pittosporum al from nurserie months) management occurring weed biotypes Azalea el bush) Justicia c variability in transplanting dormant and no function tion Populus (poplar) Kalmia lly Broadleaf Weeds: 6.8 L Baccharis (grounds h normal geneti ate the weed popula lled by this buds are stillpresent. Some natura Prunus Koelreuteria Deadnettle Bauhinia, domin y) may exist throug leaves are early in Pseudopanax Lagenaria Fathen Fumitory Berberis (barberr D herbicides individuals can eventually nt weeds will not be contro a only: Apply trees) (Digita ria Pyracantha 3 Western Australi Lagerstroemia Portulaca Betula (birch crabgra ss with The resistant used repeatedly. These resista Lantana (lavender) Quercus lepis (Pigweed) summe r forcontrol and incorporate Bignonia use, United Rhaphio Lavendula Rosa (roses) Sowthistled sanguinalis) Buxus (box) . detect prior to the failure herbicides are Group D herbicides. Rhododendron, Leucodendron Wirewee from is difficult to overhead irrigation Calluna Cistus from (rosemary) Rosmarinus weeds may range Leucothoe product or other ence of resistant weeds losses that may result (Hogweed) Ceanothus, 4 Control of these depending upon soil 4 Russelia t Ligustrum depth Clyostoma Since the occurr accepts no liability for any. bar Brassica species poor to excellen de your ma of germination, and ct Spiraea Liquidam time nightsha Coleone rry Conta ture, Ltd amount spermum Blackbe tempera Liriope in the soil, and Phosphorus to control resistant weeds resistance are available.or local United Coprosma uckle) Trachelo spermum) Caltrop of weed seed moisture. (Rhynco t ide Lonicera (honeys Cotoneaster Agriculture, Paddymelon timing of soil risk of herbic of this produc de Umbellularia Magnolia Cuphea Department of minimise the Silverleaf nightsha Viburnum Mahonia Cytisus (broom) h) Strategies to supplier, consultant, local Washingtonia Metrosideros TS Dodonea (hopbus after PLAN a ET soon farm chemical representative. Weigela and (heath) Monster Erica planting R NON-TARG and vines. Ltd 5 Apply at time of 200 to 450 L/ha water. Xylosma Myrtus Escallonia in AND OTHE Phosphorus 6.8 L parts of trees that may Yucca Nandina harvesting. Apply S, NATIVE Euonymus r) ent, leaves and other N OF CROP Nerium (oleande Eutaxia LATION. PROTECTIO g spray, avoid contact with or from spraying equipm susceptible PRIATE LEGIS Fatshedera UNDER APPRO Fuchsia • When applyin under weather conditions, or storm run-off onto nearby lia) S AUTHORISED (Melaleuca alternifo LABEL UNLES • Do not apply al movement by spray drift ns5 Tea-tree NT RARY TO THIS Tea-tree oil plantatio in chemic pastures.

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A W R I

Figure 2. TDN concentration (µg/L) by vintage, highlighting region and closure.

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A W R I

the most important factor, with older vintages displaying significantly higher levels of TDN. Closure type was the next most important, with wines under cork generally having much lower TDN concentrations compared with those under screwcap of the same vintage. Flavour ‘scalping’ of TDN by cork is a likely explanation, although high levels of oxidation cannot be ruled out entirely as another factor. Finally, although not as significant, there was some connection between MJT and TDN levels. Despite the data being relatively scattered, higher TDN concentrations were generally found in wines after a higher MJT. This finding supports other research that shows the 33 day post-berry set time-point to be a crucial stage in the development of TDN precursors. The study also found that wines from the Adelaide Hills (with one exception) had TDN levels below the average found for Eden Valley (23µg/L) in 2010. The results were not clear-cut, however, in that two of the six Eden Valley wines from the 2010 vintage had comparable levels of TDN to those found in the Adelaide Hills. The Clare Valley wines had a narrower range of concentrations, but were generally higher than the Adelaide Hills wines. Keeping character in check There is little doubt that TDN, with its low detection threshold and distinctive flavour, makes an important contribution to Riesling character. Identifying the precursors to TDN in wine has been a long, complicated process spanning three

Table 2. TDN concentrations for wines from the 2010 vintage from three regions. Minimum (µg/L)

Median (µg/L)

Maximum (µg/L)

9

5

12

37

4

12

20

22

6

9

25

33

Region

N

Adelaide Hills Clare Valley Eden Valley

decades, but flavour scientists are now closer to specifying which carotenoid precursors are the most important, and which conditions will bring about higher concentrations in the resultant Riesling wine. A number of interactions involving sun exposure and temperature, as well as indirect factors, make it difficult to accurately predict final TDN concentrations. What is known is that cool locations should be selected wherever possible if low levels of TDN are desired. Warm seasons may require an early harvest and/or attention to berry shading to reduce the build-up of precursors that could lead to undesirable elevated levels of this compound. Acknowledgements The authors acknowledge the assistance of numerous wine companies that contributed wines to the research described here. They also thank Peter Hayman, from SARDI Climate Applications, for supplying the temperature data. Sharon Mascall-Dare and Rae Blair are thanked for their editorial assistance.

References Baumes, R.L.; Wirth, J.; Bureau, S.M.; Gunata, Y. and Razungles, A.J. (2002) Biogeneration of C13norisoprenoid compounds: experiments supportive for an apo-carotenoid pathway in grapevines. Analytica Chimica Acta 458:3-14. Gerdes, S.M.; Winterhalter, P. and Ebeler, S.E. (2002) Effect of sunlight exposure on norisoprenoid formation in White Riesling grapes. In P. Winterhalter & R.L. Rouseff (Eds.), Carotenoid-Derived Aroma Compounds 802:262–272. Kwasniewski, M.T.; Vanden Heuvel, J.E.; Pan, B.S. and Sacks, G.L. (2010) Timing of cluster light environment manipulation during grape development affects C13 norisoprenoid and carotenoid concentrations in Riesling. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 58(11): 6841-6849. Lee, S.-H.; Seo, M.-J.; Riu, M.; Cotta, J.P.; Block, D.E.; Dokoozlian, N.K. and Ebeler, S.E. (2007) Vine microclimate and norisoprenoid concentration in Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and wines. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture 58(3):291-301. Sacks, G.L.; Gates, M.J.; Ferry, F.X.; Lavin, E.H.; Kurtz, A.J. and Acree, T.E. (2012) Sensory threshold of 1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2-dihydronaphthalene (TDN) and concentrations in young Riesling and non-Riesling wines. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 60:2998-3004. Sponholz, W.-R. and Hühn, T. (1997) Ageing of Wine: 1,1,6 Trimethyl-1,2-dihydronaphthalene (TDN) and 2-Aminoacetophenone. Proceedings for the 4th International Symposium on Cool Climate Viticulture and Enology (pp. VI-37-56). WVJ

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Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new in winery toys? New technology for SME wineries By Cathy Howard

T

he Australian wine industry is generally an innovative group of people, open to new ideas and technologies. We are continually searching for ways to improve the longterm sustainability and profitability of our businesses, looking at what we do in the vineyard and in the winery, right through to getting our wines into the bottle and into the hands of our consumers. We research and assess new technologies, and we actively seek opinions and feedback from our peers. We are eager to trial new equipment and new process control instrumentation, as well as novel production techniques. Our reasons for adopting this continuous improvement strategy may vary, depending on what role we hold in our small business

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or the company that employs us. For a winemaker, this may be driven by a desire to fine-tune wine quality, looking for that little â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;tweekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; that makes the difference. From a financial view-point, it is about looking for ways to make cost-savings and to improve the bottom line, and reducing labour inputs is often at the top of this list. From a business management point-of-view, it may be looking for a competitive edge over other wine brands in the domestic and global marketplaces, and to increase the long-term sustainability and viability of the business. After talking with a number of wine industry suppliers and winemakers, three relatively new processing technologies have caught my attention. They are the Bucher

W i n e & V i t i cultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

Vaslin Delta Oscillys, the Juclas EasyFloat discontinuous flotation system, and the CellarMate, from Rapidfil. Bucher Vaslin Delta Oscillys The body of this destemmer is at an almost vertical angle (not horizontal, as with other destemmers), and there is no central shaft. The grapes are fed into the top of the destemmer, passing by gravity down through two oscillating cages, which separate the berries from the stalks. The end result is a reduction in vegetal material carrying through into the ferment tanks or press. Monitoring trials of the process are showing amounts of vegetal material, such as petioles and stalks, in with the crushed grapes reducing down to less than 1%.

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wi n em a ki n g

SME EQUIPMENT

The Bucher Vaslin Delta Oscillys in action during vintage 2012 at Dominique Portet winery, in Victoriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Yarra Valley. Conventional destemmers generally result in closer to 5% green material carrying through to the press or red ferment tank. The cost of an Oscillys would be around $40,000-50,000. If extra equipment is required to complete the destemming and crushing set-up, such as a receival bin, an elevator to feed the crusher, and further sorting tables, then this will add to the cost. For more information, contact your state Bucher Vaslin agent. Winemaker Ben Portet discusses the Oscillys Dominique Portet Wines, in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, was the first in Australia to use the Oscillys in the 2012 harvest. Winemaker Ben Portet has been impressed by the results so far, and is enthusiastic about the potential quality improvements in their wines, particularly the Cabernets. Portetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s winemaking philosophy is to focus on the purity of red grapes and the unique characteristics of blocks across vineyards, especially the Cabernet vines. His winemaking aim is for the variety and specific block terroir to be the heroes, with less of the savoury characters from contact with stalks during ferment. Portet travelled to France to see the Oscillys machines in operation before making the final decision to purchase. He was originally looking at an optical sorter, but changed his mind once he saw the machines in operation, and felt that the Oscillys better suited Dominique Portetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s winemaking style and quality improvement aims. Quality gains are already being observed using the new technology from this vintage, with an evident leap in quality and increased fruit purity and expression in the Cabernet wines. Portet thinks that there will be an

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Ben Portet with the new grape receival set-up at Dominique Portet winery.

even greater difference in a cooler year, particularly for sorting and removing green fruit. Trialling of the Oscillys at Dominque Portet will continue next vintage, as Portet is not sure yet if it suits all red varieties equally well. The results with Shiraz have not shown the marked improvements in wine quality as seen with the Cabernets. The winery has only used the machine on hand picked fruit, not machine harvested fruit, and this may also be trialled. To get an idea of processing speeds, the destemmer was processing Sauvignon Blanc at around 7 tonnes/hour, and Cabernet at around 3t/hr. The winery also had two people manually sorting on a table after the destemmer to monitor the amount of green material coming through the Oscillys. The complete grape processing set-up at Dominique Portet has a vibrating receival hopper for removing matter other than grapes (MOG), followed by an elevator up to the top of the Oscillys, then a sorting table after the Oscillys. Portet said the costs can add up with this type of processing setup, and that the Oscillys was not suited to every variety, or for every wine style. For his winery, Portet believes that the small 1% quality improvements across their wines using technology such as the Oscillys will make a huge difference to their sales, and most importantly for them, their global sales, so making the investment in the equipment will give them a return in the long term. EasyFloat, from Beverage Systems Juclas Winequip is the agent for this equipment in Australia. It is a relatively low-cost separation system for the clarification of juice, enabling the winery to quickly clarify W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

juice straight from the press tray and then inoculate a few hours later, without the need for cooling and subsequently warming the juice. It is a flotation method for the batch treatment of a tank of juice, based on the continuous circulation of the juice in the tank. The flotation process is composed of two steps; first, the addition of the flocculating additives (usually gelatin) and, secondly, the over-saturation of the juice with gas. The system works with air or nitrogen. Continuous, large-scale flotation has been used for many years in a number of the medium to large wineries across Australia. This flotation technology is accessible in terms of both scale and cost for smaller wineries. As juices do not need to be chilled (temperatures of around 15oC coming out of the press are ideal), this technique significantly increases not only processing efficiencies, but also decreases the power costs as it eliminates the requirements for cold settling of juices for clarification, and the warming of juices for inoculation. A winemaker can also select his or her desired clarity level by varying the length of time that a batch of juice is recirculated and treated. If there is an extra requirement for a low percentage of juice lees, the treated tank can be left longer for the lees to settle out and compact. As a guide, an NTU of around 100-200 will yield a lees volume of around 6%, while an NTU of 10-15 will yield 3-3.5% lees volume. The EasyFloat 50 (for batch volume sizes of 500-1000L) would cost around $5500, the EasyFloat 100 (for batch volumes of 500010,000L) would be around $7500, EasyFloat 300 (for batch volumes up to 30,000L) would be around $11,500, and EasyFloat 500 (for up to 50,000L batches) would be $15,000. V27N5


SME EQUIPMENT

Assistant winemaker Stewart Byrne discusses the EasyFloat

they were recirculating a 10,000L tank for 20 minutes. Byrne adds some cleaning-related advice when using the EasyFloat: "You do have to be prompt and vigilant with cleaning, as the gelatin will block the dosing tubes on the machine. Our staff cleans the equipment routinely with hot water immediately after use, which is quick and easy to do. But, if left, the gelatin will harden and the whole machine will have to be pulled down and cleaned," Byrne said.

The Juclas EasyFloat model at Josef Chromy Wines, in Tasmania, is an EasyFloat 50. The winery processed up to 600 tonnes of sparkling fruit on contract over a three-week period this year, and by far the biggest advantage of using the EasyFloat for the team was the saving in time. For their small winery with limited storage space, achieving and maintaining a high turnover of juice through the winery leads to increased efficiencies, achieving their tight production schedules and meeting their clients’ needs. They were able to press, float a 10,000L tank, then, chill down to 4oC by passing the clarified juice through an inline heat exchanger onto the tanker, all within a few hours. The Josef Chromy winemaking team is using their EasyFloat mainly on sparkling bases but not, at this stage, on their white table wine juices. The gelatin that they use is ‘Vason Flottogel’, although assistant winemaker Stewart Byrne says that regular gelatin works just as well. The rates of gelatin used are typically in the range of 80-100ppm. To give you an idea of Josef Chromy Wines’ flotation treatment times,

CellarMate, from Rapidfil The CellarMate is a modified version of the BarrelMate, and at its core is a programmable PLC for undertaking a number of cellar operations remotely. The cellarhand or winemaker sets up the hoses and the vessels for the operation, programs in the relevant parameters, then walks away, leaving the CellarMate to carry out the operations remotely. The benefits of investing long term in equipment such as this are the savings in labour, as fewer cellarhands would be required on the floor, and the reduction in product losses. It can also be combined in-line with other items of winery equipment, such as a filter.

wi n em a ki n g

The Juclas EasyFloat at Tasmania’s Josef Chromy Wines during vintage 2012. As well as the ability to fill and empty barrels, the CellarMate is equipped with a radar sensor for tank topping. There is a back-up float switch for tank filling, which shuts off the pump if the radar sensor is not working, or falls into the tank. The machine has the added safety of a valve automatically closing on the pump either when a programmed operation is complete, or when the power is interrupted. It also has pressure transducers in-line to prevent vacuum or pressure build-ups due to tank lids not being open or receival tank valves being shut. Depending on requirements for a pump, which is a separate cost, the basic CellarMate PLC module pricing starts at $20,000, and with all add-ons, it would cost around $36,000.

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SME EQUIPMENT

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Conclusions SME wineries must keep up-to-date with new and emerging technologies, so that an opportunity to gain an edge in a competitive industry is not lost and, ultimately, to improve the sustainability and profitability of the businesses that we own, or work for. A good motto to follow is: Good management is not about doing one thing 1000% better; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about doing 1000 little things 1% better. This was my take-home message from attending a recent Building Farm Business Capacity Workshop, run by the Department of Agriculture & Food WA. We use it at my winery, Whicher Ridge, not just for our vineyard and winery, but across our farming business as a whole. An investment in a new technology, if thoroughly researched and considered, could make a huge difference to the resilience and viability of your business in the long term. Cathy Howard is winemaker and, together with husband Neil, proprietor of Whicher Ridge Wines, near Busselton, in Western Australia, and has been making wine for the past 18 years. She also consults part time to some wineries in the Geographe region. WVJ HCad-130x185-2011.pdf

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The Rapidfil CellarMate fitted onto a Waukesha pump. 2:07 PM

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oxygen management

Managing oxygen in a small winery Why tank size may be the key to excessive oxidation in small wineries By Curtis Phillips*

Befitting this issue’s focus on small to medium-sized wineries, the following article, recently published in the US-based Wine Business Monthly, explains why tank size may be the key to excessive oxidation in small wineries.

T

he received wisdom is that wine, especially red wine, has a large capacity to absorb oxygen. It takes about 6mL of oxygen to saturate a litre of wine. In the absence of SO2, the polyphenols in wine will then bind with this dissolved oxygen so that a red wine can be re-saturated with oxygen up to 10 times (60mL O2 per litre of wine) before the wine no longer has the ability to absorb dissolved oxygen. It is generally held that ‘normal’ winery operations introduce far less oxygen than this. Nevertheless, if I had to name the single winemaking flaw that I see most frequently, it would have to be oxidation. In thinking about this, it occurs to me

that, except for the rare occasion when a closure has failed, I rarely, if ever, encounter an oxidised wine from a midsized or large winery. This, of course, leads to the question of why this is the case. Is it simply a matter that small wineries employ less skilled and attentive winemakers than large ones? I would hope that readers find the mere suggestion of such a circumstance as being farcical. To be sure, smaller wineries often lack the sophisticated equipment of their larger brethren; but as I already noted, it is generally believed that the amount of oxygen introduced by ‘normal’ winemaking falls well short of the levels needed to oxidise wine.

The tiny two-inch opening in a carboy is actually a point of greater oxygen exposure than the two-foot opening in a 50,000-gallon tank.

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oxygen management

wi n em a ki n g

Full tanks: exposed area relative to tank size. The exposed area in a full 250-gallon (1000L) tank is 1.81 square inches per gallon (3cm2/L)

The exposed area in a full 1,000-gallon (3800L) tank is 0.452 square inches per gallon (0.8cm2/L)

I think the roots of the problem associated with oxidised wines are less due to winery size than to tank size, tank and barrel ullage (headspace), as well as the use of smaller equipment during all stages of wine production. What is Causing it? Rather than winery size, tank size may be a key to the whole issue of excessive wine oxidation in small wineries. Geometry As tank size decreases, the surfacearea-to-volume ratio increases, assuming the same ratio between height and width. Fortunately, for any oxygen-impermeable tank, we don’t really need to worry about the entire surface. When a tank or barrel is full, the only part of its surface area that can interact with the atmosphere is the bit directly under the lid or bung. This area is proportionally larger for small tanks and barrels than it is for large tanks. For example, the top opening in a five-gallon (19L) carboy is roughly two inches (5.1cm) in diameter. This gives a surface of 3.14 square inches (approximately 20 square centimetres) of exposed wine per five gallons (19L), or 0.628in2 per gallon (approximately 1.07 cm2/L. The exposed area in a full 50,000-gallon (190,000L) tank, with a two-foot (0.6m) diameter top door, is roughly 452in2 (2900cm2), or 0.009in2 per gallon (0.02cm2/L). I used this particular example to highlight the fact that the tiny two-inch (5cm) opening in the carboy is actually a point of greater oxygen exposure than the two-foot (600cm) opening in a 50,000-gallon (190,000L) tank. The difference is even starker once we consider that tank-top doors are standardised so that a 250-gallon (1000L) tank and a 50,000-gallon (190,000L) tank have the same top-door surface area, making the exposed area essentially constant and the ratio between the exposed area and volume a linear function for any

The exposed area in a full 10,000-gallon (38,000L) tank is 0.045 square inches per gallon (0.08cm2/L)

standard tank larger than 250 gallons (1000L). As noted in the sidebar, a 250-gallon (1000L) tank has more than four times the exposed area relative to its volume than a 1,000-gallon (3800L) tank and more than 40 times the exposed area relative to volume than a 10,000-gallon (38,000L) tank. When full, barrels have about the same size opening as do carboys and kegs; most are 50mm in diameter. This gives an exposed area at the bunghole of 3.05 square inches (20cm²) for a barrel or puncheon, or 0.052 square inches per gallon (0.09cm2/L) for a standard 59-gallon (225L) barrique. As we can see, and assuming no ullage (see below), this puts a barrel in the same league as a pretty big tank. Ullage Ullage is death to small volumes of wine. What ullage does in winemaking is take the manageable oxygen exposure from the previous example and turn it into a race against time by dramatically increasing the exposed surface of the wine. The exposed area of a 90 percent full 10,000-gallon (38,000L) tank (assuming an industry standard of approximately 2:1 geometry) would be approximately 9677in2 (62,400cm²) in total, or 1.08in2 per gallon (1.8cm2/L) for a volume of 9000 gallons (34,000L). Note that this is less than the area exposed by a full 250-gallon (1000L) tank. As noted in the sidebar, a partiallyfilled 250-gallon (1000L) tank has five times the exposure as does a partiallyfilled 10,000-gallon (38,000L) tank but 118 times the exposure of a full 10,000-gallon (38,000L) tank. Also note that a 90 per cent filled 10,000-gallon (38,000L) tank has only slightly more than half the oxygen exposure as a full 250-gallon (1000L) tank. This means that even partially-filled large tanks are less oxidative than small tanks that are full. In turn, this means that under normal circumstances the oxidation of wine between fermentation and bottling just ▶

www.seguin-moreau.fr www.seguinmoreau-icone.com Graeme Little

Mobile: +61 (0)437 060 943 glittle@seguinmoreau.com.au

Dan Eggleton

Mobile: +61 (0)438 824 493 deggleton@seguinmoreau.com.au

Partial tanks: exposed area relative to tank size. The exposed area in a 90 per cent full 250-gallon (1000L) tank (4:3 geometry) is 5.3 square inches per gallon (9cm2/L)

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The exposed area in a 90 percent full 1000-gallon (3800L) tank (2:1 geometry) is 2.5 square inches per gallon (4.3cm2/L)

The exposed area in a 90 percent full 10,000-gallon (38,000L) tank (2:1 geometry) is 1.08 square inches per gallon (1.8cm2/L)

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oxygen management

Premium Estate Bottlers Since it produces ample carbon dioxide, an active fermentation is very good at protecting itself from oxidation even when in modestly-sized open-top fermenters such as these. Photo: Scott Summers isn’t an issue for a large winery. Small wineries, which by definition have to use small tanks, are much more oxidative environments. Both the previous examples assume that the headspace can interchange freely with the atmosphere as a worst-case scenario. In theory, one should be able to purge the headspace in the tank dome and access door with an inert gas, but the minimal headspace in a ‘full’ tank is usually not gassed. Even if it were, one could argue that the simple act of closing the door would blow any blanketing gas out of the way unless the topdoor itself is equipped with a fitting that allowed the headspace to be gassed while the door is closed.

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Why Aren’t We Catching This? Oxidation should be an avoidable wine flaw. Cellar-palate Since oxidation can be a slow process, it’s not always obvious to winemakers, who are only tasting their own product. In essence they just get used to the taste of oxidised wine, and that is their ‘normal’. This is less of a danger in a region that gets a significant volume of wine tourism, but in less travelled regions, or in areas where most of the tasting room traffic is not made up of regular wine drinkers, this can be a real problem. An inexperienced tasting room customer isn’t going to be able to articulate that a wine is oxidised, or be able to enumerate any other flaws, but they will know that they did not like that wine. Pride (hubris) The assumption is always going to be that the wine is fine, and the anonymous ‘cork dork’ is wrong. At best, the winery is going to brush things off by blaming the closure failing or the tasting room for serving from an open bottle for too many days. The last thing anyone involved is going to admit is that the wine was tired and oxidised or otherwise flawed when it was bottled. Of course, this is all completely understandable. Who among us likes to hear criticism of their ‘children’? My point is that a winery can’t really rely on either internal evaluation or feedback from the tasting room to detect sensory flaws. And, in those rare instances where someone does spot the defect, it is even rarer for the criticism to find a willing ear and open mind. It is my experience that unless a winery has the foresight to seek some outside sensory consultation - and that is an enormous step that most wineries will forego - it is never going to realise that it has a problem. How Do We Fix It? These are my tips for managing oxidation in a small winery: • Awareness: Be aware that wine in small containers is going

W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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to oxidise more quickly than in large containers. • Stay full: The easiest way to absolutely ruin wine is to keep it in partially filled containers. Full small containers are much better than partial ones, but remember that it is better to fill a small tank, even if that means leaving a partial large tank, than it is to top big tanks and leave partial small ones. The point isn’t to avoid small tanks, kegs and carboys but rather to be extra aware that the smaller the container, the more important it is to keep it topped up, to keep the free SO2 levels up and to displace oxygen out of any headspace. This also means that after MLF, barrels should be topped anytime the bung is removed, even if they are just knocked off by accident. •S  tay closed: A wine dies a little every time the tank is opened or the bung is pulled from the barrel. Just the act of opening a tank top lid or pulling a bung from a barrel will introduce oxygen into the headspace of the tank or barrel. This is not a problem if infrequent or during fermentation when the wine itself is purging the headspace with CO2, but the winemaker that simply ‘has’ to check his wine every couple of days might as well be storing it in a bathtub.

• Pass gas: Argon, carbon dioxide and nitrogen are your friends: use them generously but realise that they are no substitute for full tanks and barrels. Any tank under 500 gallons (1900L) should be full or have its headspace gassed every single day (and yes, this means someone has to come into the winery on weekends). • Increase your tempo when necessary: If manpower and scheduling constraints mean that you have to choose between bottling two months earlier or two months later than you’d like, always, always, always choose to bottle early, even if that means bottling shiners. • Be constructively paranoid: Your wine isn’t safe until after it has been bottled—and really not even then. • Measure it: There are two possible indicators of a generally oxidative winery:  High total SO2 but low free SO2.  Wine absorbance ratio between 420nm:520nm or, better yet, CIE hue angle (CIE stands for Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage, or the International Commission on Illumination, and is a professional scientific

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organisation related to science and the art of lighting). The high total SO2 is an indicator that a lot of SO2 has been added to the wine, while a corresponding low free SO2 indicates that the SO2 is being used up. Usually this means that the SO2 is binding with oxygen, at which point the winery usually adds even more SO2 to protect its wine, thus perpetuating the cycle. While this is not a perfect indicator, I do find that as wine ages or becomes oxidised, the absorbance at 520nm decreases relative to the absorbance at 420nm. Since 520nm is the red colour and 420nm is yellow, the 520nm:420nm ratio only works for red wines. The CIE hue angle is much geekier and can be used for all wines. It’s also something that most wineries will want to use an outside lab to measure. Curtis Phillips, an editor for Wine Business Monthly, is a graduate of UC Davis and has been a winemaker since 1984 and an agricultural consultant since 1979. *This article was originally published in the July 2012 issue of the US-based magazine Wine Business Monthly and is reprinted with permission of the WVJ publisher.

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Oxygen management during wine bottle ageing by means of closure selection Current trends and perspectives By Maurizio Ugliano, Jean-Baptiste Diéval and Stéphane Vidal Nomacorc Oxygen Management Research Centre, Domaine de Donadille, Av. Yves Cazeaux, Rodilhan, France. Email: m.ugliano@nomacorc.be

The authors give their research-based opinions about what the best choices might be for winemakers to optimise in-bottle oxygen management.

T

he importance of oxygen exposure to wine quality has been long known. In the late 1800s, Louis Pasteur reported that, by exposing red wine to air, the astringent character of young red wine was softened, and the bouquet improved (Pasteur 1873). Knowledge of the chemistry of wine and oxygen is rather extensive, and several key chemical reactions involving wine components and oxygen have been described. Nevertheless, proper management of oxygen exposure in the winery remains challenging for the modern wine industry, due to the double nature of wine and oxygen chemistry, combined with the intrinsic variability of wine in response to origin of grapes, vintage, terroir and winemaking variables. Generally speaking, there appears to be a growing consensus that a moderate exposure to oxygen can be beneficial to the overall sensory quality of wines. Insufficient oxygen can prevent the softening of mouthfeel characters and favours excessive accumulation of reductive aroma compounds, such as hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans, which can be highly detrimental to wine aroma quality. At the same time, excessive exposure to oxygen can cause oxidative spoilage of wine, with irreversible loss of fruity and floral varietal aromas. Therefore, from a practical point of view, the actual difficulty lies in determining the optimal degree of oxygen exposure that will allow a given wine to best express its aroma and palate characteristics. Unlike most other winemaking practices, which always have the option of being improved by further adjustments or countermeasures, once the wine is in the bottle and leaves the winery there is virtually no room

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for additional treatments potentially aimed at correcting any faults that might arise during bottle storage, including the aforementioned defects of oxidation and reduction. Therefore, the choices related to packaging, and in particular selection of closure, becomes critical to obtain adequate levels of oxygen exposure in the bottle. Traditionally, natural cork closures have been the closure of choice for the wine industry. In the last two decades, mainly driven by the high incidence of cork taint and the increase of bottled wine production, so-called ‘alternative closures’ have progressively acquired an increasing share of the market, offering highly standardised performances and being free from cork taint. Studies have been carried out since 2001 to compare the performance of different closures (Godden et al . 2001). From the results obtained, it became immediately clear that the type of closure, and in particular its permeability to oxygen, had a dramatic influence on the colour and aroma properties of the wines after a period of ageing in the bottle. Wines under certain closures became obviously oxidised, while others showed characters of struck flint and reduction, although they retained more fresh fruity aromas. While the early closure trials were largely aimed at assessing closures' performances from the point of view of wine chemistry and sensory evaluation, the question remained open as to whether the average wine consumer is able to discriminate, in a blind tasting, among wines sealed with different closures. The data in Figure 1, from a study carried out in Australia (Nygaard et al . 2010), shows that consumers W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

can distinguish wines based on the sensory differences that are introduced by closures. The authors were able to demonstrate that, from a chemical point of view, these differences are in large part linked to closure oxygen permeability, more often referred to as OTR (oxygen transmission rate). Considering that in that study there was no interference due to consumers' acceptance of the difference closures (the tasters did not know which wine corresponded to which closure), it can be concluded that closure selection, with particular regard to OTR values of the closure, has to be considered as a winemaking tool which, if used properly, can assist winemakers in delivering wines that are able to meet consumers’ expectations. Oxygen in wine The presence of oxygen in wine is linked to the ability of all gases to dissolve into liquids. Essentially, when a gas is dissolved into a liquid medium, we have a liquid in which the molecules of gas are in suspension. In gas/liquid mixtures, the gas in that specific liquid has a partial pressure. Partial pressure can be defined as the pressure that needs to be applied to the surface of the liquid to keep a given concentration of the gas into the liquid. Partial pressure is normally measured in hectoPascal (hPa). Most commonly, when we look at oxygen dissolved in a liquid, we prefer to use concentration values, for example, milligrams per litre (mg/L, which is often referred to as parts per million, or ppm), or, for lower concentrations, micrograms per litre (mg/L - often referred to a ppb). ▶ V27N5


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Figure 1. Preferences of 102 consumers. Bars represent mean liking data for each cluster. Adapted from Nygaard et al. (2010).

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Partial pressure and concentration are linked through Henry’s law - PO2= HO2·C , where PO2 is the partial pressure of oxygen, C is the concentration, and HO2 is the solubility constant, also known as Henry’s constant. This key parameter is affected by temperature and composition of the liquid medium. Therefore, the amount of oxygen that will be present in the liquid at a given pressure (for example, atmospheric pressure) will change depending on the temperature and the type of liquid. In the case of wine, the maximum concentration of oxygen that can be achieved by means of saturation with air at 20°C is 8.4mg/L. Temperature has a strong influence on oxygen saturation in wine. Cold temperatures increase oxygen solubility in wine, while the opposite is true for warm temperatures. Slight variations on oxygen solubility in wine can be found depending on alcohol concentrations and dry extract.

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During the winemaking process, there are several sources of oxygen exposure. However, as discussed previously, these can be managed in the winery by monitoring oxygen levels, as well as by analysis of oxidation-related components (for example, SO2), as well as by regular tasting of the wine to assess reduction, oxidation, evolution of astringency and bitterness, etc. However, once the wine is in the bottle, and assuming that glass bottles are used, the only source of oxygen exposure is given by the closure, in particular by its OTR. Consequently, there is a need in the wine industry to access closures with a defined and consistent OTR, in order to achieve effective management of the amount of oxygen entering in the wine bottle and, consequently, a consistent quality of wine delivered to consumers. OTR is the parameter commonly used to rate the permeability to oxygen of packaging materials, namely their ability to create a barrier between the external environment (which normally contains 21% oxygen), and the internal part of the package. Different procedures have been proposed to measure the OTR of wine closures, which have also caused some confusion with regard to the reported values and the units employed. The Mocon Ox-Tran technology is the reference procedure (ASTM F1307-02) adopted to measure OTR of packaging materials and, as such, has been extensively used and recommended for wine closures too (Poças et al. 2010), although to our knowledge no validation of this procedure for wine closures has ever been performed. More recently, other methods have been developed that use bottles full of different solutions. These methods are, thus, based on systems that are closer to ‘real life’ conditions where closures are inserted in bottles of wine. Oxygen is measured in these bottles either directly or through reaction products with colour indicators. The method developed by researchers at Bordeaux University, in collaboration with Amorim, allows OTR measurement over storage time as the colour measurement is performed by direct colourimetric scan of colourless bottles (Lopes et al. 2007, Brotto et al. 2010). Alternatively, a simple, accurate, and cost-effective procedure to measure OTR has been developed by Nomacorc, where oxygen is measured by means of chemoluminescence (Diéval et al. 2011). Figure 2 shows a typical curve of oxygen ingress for a cylindrical inner seal closure. Oxygen ingress is initially high due to the rapid diffusion of the oxygen initially contained in the porous structure of the closure. This part is often referred to as ‘desorption’. Once this ‘reservoir’ of oxygen is exhausted, the desorption phase ends, and oxygen ingress becomes constant. This is effectively the OTR phase, where the amount

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Figure 2. Desorption phase and OTR phase of oxygen ingress in wine bottles. of oxygen entering the bottle is defined by the specific OTR of the closure. Depending on the materials and technology adopted to produce the closure, OTR can vary to a large extent. Screwcap closures generally offer very low OTRs due to the minimum amount of oxygen permeating through the liner. Saratin liners have been reported to have an OTR of 0.03 ±0.03mg O2/ year (Crochière 2007), while values are slightly higher (but also more inconsistent) in the case of Saranex liners (0.7 ± 0.7mg O2/year) (Crochière 2007). This range of OTR currently available in screwcap liners is, therefore, relatively limited. Microagglomerated closures are also reported to have relatively low OTR (Lopes et al. 2007), although permeability can vary depending on the producer, and most producers do not give a specific value or have a range of OTR. Therefore, although there is a general tendency to assume similar performances for all closures in this category, some key characteristics can actually vary significantly among different producers. Likewise, the characteristics of synthetic closures can vary depending on the technology of production. Injection moulding offers limited possibilities to adjust OTR, while co-extrusion offers a broad range of defined OTR, providing winemakers with OTR values that can fit the specific needs of each wine. For example, Nomacorc co-extruded closures offer an OTR as high as 3.5mg/year (Smart+), down to 1mg/year for the new Select 300. Conversely, natural cork can have extremely variable OTR due to the intrinsic structural variability of cork itself (Godden et al. 2001). Measures (Lopes et al. 2005 and 2006) under conditions of humidity simulating those occurring in a wine bottle indicate V2 7N 5

values between 0.05-3.35mg of oxygen per year, even for a very limited sample size. While this variation appers to be extremely large and possibily linked to specific bottling conditions, most authors have reported large variation in OTR for natural closures (Godden et al. 2005, Limmer 2006). At present, it is not possible to put on the market natural cork closures with defined OTR. Based on this discussion, and consistent with the observation of Brotto et al. (2010), from the point of view of wine maturation, the performance of a closure should be defined not only by its OTR values, but also by the consistency of OTR. In practise, once a winemaker has decided the OTR that is most appropriate for his or her wine(s), this OTR value will have to be rather consistent within single batches, as well as across batches, in order to allow uniform ageing. Figure 3 (see page 42) shows the variation in OTR values (expressed as %CV over five closures of the same batch) of different inner seal closure types, as obtained from measures with fluorescence method (Diéval et al. 2011). Synthetic closures, in particular extruded products, show very low CV%, reflecting the intrisic nature of the manufacturing process, which allows a high degree of control of production variables. Higher %CV were observed for natural cork-based products, consistent with the relatively unpredictable characteristics of the raw material. Implications of closure OTR and OTR variability to wine style

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Figure 4. Effect of in-bottle oxygen exposure on the aroma profile of Grenache wines, and implications for closure selection based on oxygen ingress values and OTR consistency.

Figure 3. Variation in OTR (expressed as %CV) within the same batch of closures of different types. Measures were taken as described by Dieval et al. (2011). OTR management to create wines with different sensory profiles. The sensory data used in this case have been generated by INRA during a collaborative study with Nomacorc on the evolution of Grenache red wine during bottle maturation (CaillĂŠ et al. 2010, Wirth et al. 2010). As can

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be observed, by exposing the wine to increasing amounts of oxygen, it is possible to obtain different aroma profiles after 10 months in the bottle. Low oxygen exposure (0.24mg O2 and 0.57mg O2 in 10 months in 375mL bottles indicate half-bottles) resulted in wines exhibiting low intensity red fruit W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

aromas, and were mainly characterised by animal notes, a feature often observed in Grenache wines matured under reductive conditions (CaillĂŠ et al.). Conversely, increasing oxygen exposure in 10 months to 2.4mg O2 to 3.57mg O2 allowed better expression of red fruit and caramel aromas, decreasing at the same time the incidence of the animal notes. This could be attributed to lower concentrations of the aroma compounds involved in the animal notes, allowing expression of fruity aromas. If we compare these data with the values present in the literature and/or provided by different closure manufacturers, we can deduce that closures such as screwcaps, as well as the majority of technical corks, allow oxygen exposures in a range close to the profiles obtained at 0.24 and 0.57mg O2 (blue and red line) and, therefore, are more prone to deliver wines with lower fruit expression and higher animal notes. Although these closures can have consistent OTR, they cover a low range of oxygen exposure, not giving winemakers the option of choosing the degree of oxygen exposure most appropriate for a specific wine. On the V27N5


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other hand, natural cork closures, due to the intrinsic variabilty of cork composition, can offer a rather broad range of oxygen exposures (even within the same batch of closures), potentially allowing, over a range of bottles of the same wine, either optimal expression of fruit aromas (green line) or dominance of animal notes (blue and red lines). From this point of view, synthetic co-extruded closures (e.g. Nomacorc) closures offer the advantage of a range of different OTR available, allowing winemakers to choose the degree of oxygen exposure most appropriate for their wines.

rate through wine bottle closures. J. Agric. Food Chem. 58(6):3567–3572.

diffusion rate through closures used in winemaking. J. Agric. Food Chem. 53(18):6967–6973.

Caillé, S.; Wirth, J.; Diéval, J-B.; Vidal, S. and Cheynie, V. (2010) Sensory characteristics changes of red Grenache wines submitted to different oxygen exposures pre- and post-bottling. Anal. Chim. Acta. 660(1-2):35-42.

Lopes, P.; Saucier, C.; Teissedre, P.L. and Glories, Y. (2006) Impact of storage position on oxygen ingress through different closures into wine bottles. J. Agric. Food Chem. 54(18):6741–6746.

Crochière, G.K. (2007) Measuring oxygen ingress during bottling/storage. Practical Winery & Vineyard, January/ February 74–80.

Lopes, P.; Saucier, C.; Teissedre, P.L. and Glories, Y. (2007) Main routes of oxygen ingress through different closures into wine bottles. J. Agric. Food Chem. 55(13):5167–5170.

Diéval, J-B.; Vidal, S. and Aagaard, O. (2011) Measurement of the oxygen transmission rate of coextruded wine bottle closures using a luminescence-based technique. Packag. Technol. Sci. 24(7):375–385. Dimkou, E.; Ugliano, M.; Diéval, J-B.; Vidal, S.; Aagard, O.; Rauhut, D. and Jung, R. (2011) Impact of headspace oxygen and closure on sulfur dioxide, colour, and hydrogen sulfide levels in a Riesling wine. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 62(3):261269. Godden, P.; Francis, L.; Field, J.; Gishen, M.; Coulter, A.; Valente, P.; Hoj, P. and Robinson, E. (2001) Wine bottle closures: physical characteristics and effect on composition and sensory properties of a Semillon wine. 1. Performance up to 20 months post-bottling. Aust. J. Grape Wine Res. 7(2):64-105.

Conclusion Not only the nominal OTR value, but also its consistency (within a single lot, as well as across different lots) is crucial to achieve optimal bottle storage conditions. Winemakers should be aware of both these characteristics of the closures they use to ensure the most adequate conditions of oxygen exposure, as well as to limit bottle-to-bottle variations.

Godden, P.; Lattey, K.; Francis, L.; Gishen, M.; Cowey, G.; Holdstock, M.; Robinson, E.; Waters, E.; Skouroumounis, G.; Sefton, M.; Capone, D.; Kwiatkowski, M.; Field, J.; Coulter, A.; D’Costa, N. and Bramley, B. (2005) Towards offering wine to the consumer in optimal condition - the wine, the closures and other packaging variables: a review of AWRI research examining the changes that occur in wine after bottling. Wine Ind. J. 20(4):20-30.

References

Limmer, A. (2006) The ‘permeability’ of closures. Aust. NZ Grapegrower & Winemaker Annual Technical Issue 106-111.

Brotto, L.; Battidtutta, F.; Tat, L.; Comuzzo, P. and Zironi, R. (2010) Modified non-destructive colourimetric method to evaluate the variability of oxygen diffusion

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Lopes, P.; Saucier, C. and Glories, Y. (2005) Nondestructive colourimetric method to determine the oxygen

O’Brien, V.; Francis, L. and Osidacz, P. (2009) Packaging choices affect consumer enjoyment of wines. Wine Ind. J. 24(5):48-54. Pasteur, L. (1873) Etudes sur le vin: ses maladies, causes qui les provoquent, procédés nouveaux pour les conserver et pour les vieillir; Imprimerie Royale: Paris, France, 264. Poças, F.; Ferreira, B.; Pereira, J. and Hogg, T. (2010) Measurement of oxygen transmission rate through foamed materials for bottle closures. Packag. Technol. Sci. 23(1):27–33. Nygaard, M.; Osidacz, P.; Roget, W.; Francis, L.; Vidal, S. and Aagaard, O. (2010) The effect of closure choice on consumer preference rating of wines: AWRI study series, Aust. NZ Grapegrower & Winemaker 563:55-60. Ugliano, M.; Kwiatkowski, M.; Vidal, S.; Capone, D.; Siebert, T.; Diéval, J-B.; Aagaard, O. and Waters, E.J. (2011) Evolution of 3-mercaptohexanol, hydrogen sulfide, and methyl mercaptan during bottle storage of Sauvignon Blanc wines. Effect of glutathione, copper, oxygen exposure, and closure-derived oxygen. J. Agric. Food Chem. 59(6):2564– 2572. Wirth, J.; Morel-Salmi, C.; Souquet, J.M.; Diéval, J-B., Aagaard, O.; Vidal, S.; Fulcrand, H. and Cheynier, V. (2010) The impact of oxygen exposure before and after bottling on the polyphenolic composition of red wines, Food Chem. 123(1):107–116. WVJ

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Botrytis decision support: online tools for predicting seasonal risk of botrytis bunch rot By Rob Beresford1, Kathy Evans2 and Gareth Hill1 1 The New Zealand Institute of Plant & Food Research Ltd, Private Bag 92 169, Auckland 1142, New Zealand 2 Perennial Horticulture Centre, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania, 13 St Johns Avenue, New Town, Tasmania 7008, Australia

Developed from 2006 to 2009, the Trans-Tasman Botrytis Project – an initiative involving researchers from Plant & Food Research, in New Zealand, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries – pinpointed the weather, vineyard and inoculum factors that cause botrytis outbreaks in Australia and New Zealand. The Botrytis Decision Support system was trialled during the project and has since been developed into an online botrytis management tool, which allows vineyard and winery managers to predict the risk of damage by botrytis at harvest. The problem with botrytis

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otrytis bunch rot, or botrytis, as it is known within the wine industry, is caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, which, in cool climate grapegrowing regions, is one of the main causes of seasonal variability in grape yield and wine quality. Botrytis develops late in the growing season when ripening bunches, which should be developing beautiful flavours for winemaking, can rot on the vine. Although fungicides can reduce botrytis losses, they often leave unwanted chemical residues that can end up in the wine. Fungicides can, therefore, only be used in the early part of the season although, at that time, they are unlikely to provide complete disease control if the weather turns wet just before harvest. The consequences of a severe botrytis outbreak are extremely costly for both vineyard and winery. Botrytis severity negatively effects more than 3-5 per cent on winemaking, and results in price penalties or crop rejection for growers. The use of botrytis fungicides is also a huge cost. For example, the cost of a single botryticide spray application across all vineyards in New Zealand is NZ$3-5 million. Vineyard spray programs typically use one to two botryticide applications per season in drier regions and three to six applications in wetter regions. It is increasingly recognised that vine canopy management is an effective way to reduce the risk of botrytis damage. Leaf plucking and shoot trimming are recommended, but they must be matched with vine canopy requirements for grape quality in individual regions. Biological control products and benign chemicals

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can also be used, although these have variable effectiveness in reducing botrytis losses. These management options all represent additional costs to the grower, who also faces uncertainty as vintage approaches about the suitability of the crop for winemaking. For the winemaker, unwanted enzymes produced by botrytis as it rots bunches requires chemical treatment in the winery. This remedial action generally reduces wine quality and, again, increases costs. Before going further, we must mention the distinction between bunch rot and noble rot, both of which are caused by B. cinerea. Whereas bunch rot causes nothing but problems for the grapegrower and winemaker, noble rot is a highly sought-after characteristic in some sweet wine styles. Noble rot occurs when B. cinerea colonises the ripe grape berries under particular conditions, when wetting by nighttime dew is followed by daytime drying. Instead of rotting the bunches, B. cinerea causes them to raisin (shrivel), without producing the undesirable enzymes. This leads to high sugar content and characteristic ‘botrytised’ flavours in the finished wine. Where is botrytis hiding?

B. cinerea is a ubiquitous fungus that attacks many types of plants and produces spores that are abundant everywhere on plant material and in the air. In vineyards, B. cinerea is practically invisible for most of the year and its presence is only seen as the grapes ripen. Botrytis symptoms in white grape varieties begin with pinkbrown discolouration of newly-infected berries (Figure 1). This is followed by copious spore production, giving the W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

Figure 1. Botrytis symptoms on white grape varieties first appear as pink-brown discolouration and soon progress to the ‘grey mould’ symptom, caused by production of Botrytis cinerea spores. characteristic ‘grey mould’ appearance, which is another name by which botrytis is known. In red grapes, initial symptoms are less obvious, although there may be a slight colour change in newly-infected berries. Grey mould is the most obvious sign of botrytis in red grapes (Figure 2). For both white and red varieties, berries within infected bunches turn darker in colour and shrivel within one to two weeks of symptoms first appearing (Figure 3). Splits in the berry skin, V27N5


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Figure 2. On red grape varieties, early botrytis infection is difficult to detect and the most obvious sign is ‘grey mould’. Photograph: Dion Mundy. sometimes called ‘bird claws’, often appear along with spore production, particularly in very ripe berries. Also in very ripe white and red grapes, ‘slip skin’ symptoms can occur, where enzymes produced by B. cinerea cause the

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Figure 3. Infected berries within botrytis-affected bunches shrivel and darken in colour within one to two weeks of infection, particularly if the weather turns dry following infection. If the weather remains wet, botrytis-affected bunches are often invaded by ‘sour rot’ bacteria and yeasts.

skin to detach from the berry pulp. This symptom can develop very rapidly and is detected more by feel than by sight. B. cinerea is active in the vineyard during wet weather at any time of year, even though it is usually inconspicuous.

Flowering is an important time, because wetness from rain or dew allows B. cinerea to colonise flower caps, anthers, and aborted berries as they senesce at the end of flowering. After flowering, there are two ‘pathways’ by which

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B. cinerea survives in the vineyard until ripening occurs: • t he senescent tissue pathway, also known as the ‘bunch trash’ pathway, where dead flower parts that are colonised by B. cinerea remain trapped within bunches • t he latent infection pathway, where living grape berries become infected between flowering and veraison, but fungal growth is temporarily inhibited by anti-fungal chemicals produced in the skins of the unripe berries. Botrytis epidemics develop during the ripening period, because grape berries become increasingly susceptible to invasion as berry sugar content rises and anti-fungal chemicals in the berry skin disappear. The end of the senescent tissue pathway is reached when wet weather allows hyphae and spores of B. cinerea within colonised bunch trash to infect berries as they become susceptible. The end of the latent infection pathway is reached when dormant infections, which were suppressed by anti-fungal chemicals earlier in the season, resume growth and express as bunch rot.

Seasonal factors affecting botrytis risk Development of a severe lateseason botrytis epidemic occurs when substantial rainfall occurs during the last two to three weeks of ripening. If there is no wet weather, it will be a botrytis-free vintage. The potential for late-season botrytis damage is established early in the season, via both the senescent tissue and the latent infection pathways. The more often wet and rainy weather occurs between flowering and veraison, the greater the botrytis activity. Risk factors that increase early-season botrytis risk, between flowering and veraison, include: • severe botrytis in previous season, allowing abundant carry-over of B. cinerea in vineyard debris • wet weather events that allow B. cinerea to colonise senescing flower parts and to establish latent infections • high leaf canopy density that prolongs wetness, allowing more fungal growth and higher rates of latent infection. Risk factors that increase lateseason botrytis risk, between veraison and harvest, include:

• any factor that delays maturity, e.g. high crop load, a cool season, high soil fertility or excessive irrigation • wet weather during the two to three weeks before harvest. What can be done to reduce botrytis risk? Several vineyard management actions can decrease early-season botrytis risk. These include: • Fungicide applications between flowering and veraison. The effectiveness of a fungicide application depends on the choice of product and its timing. Fungicide applied just before bunch closure is particularly effective because it can reach colonised flower parts within the bunch and protect the innermost berries from infection. Some fungicides used for control of other grape diseases have very low activity against botrytis. • Applications of biological control products. Biological controls are more variable in their effectiveness than fungicides and cannot be used simply as substitutes for fungicide applications. They need to be used within an integrated strategy that

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includes other approaches, including vine canopy management and bunch trash removal. • Vine leaf canopy management. Open vine canopies have much lower risk of botrytis. Actions that reduce leaf density and vine vigour, including winter pruning, leaf plucking, vine trimming, soil fertility management and irrigation management, can all decrease botrytis risk. However, canopy management to reduce botrytis risk must be harmonised with the canopy management that is required to achieve optimum fruit quality. • Bunch trash removal. The disturbance from mechanical leaf plucking and vine trimming machines, as well as the air stream from an airblast sprayer that is not spraying, will reduce the amount of trash lodged within bunches and reduce botrytis risk. Late-season, there are fewer actions that can be taken to decrease botrytis risk. Those that are available include: • vine leaf canopy management (as for the early season) • removal of infected bunches to reduce rot levels in the crop and to reduce the risk of re-infection • harvesting earlier at lower sugar content to minimise crop loss when botrytis is increasing rapidly • application of benign control products, e.g. biological controls or calcium sprays. Some late-season disease control options may have little or no demonstrable efficacy in reducing botrytis. The trans-Tasman collaboration Botrytis biology has been studied in New Zealand and Australia since the 1980s, with researchers on both sides of the Tasman looking at many different aspects of botrytis biology and control. From 2006 to 2009, the TransTasman Botrytis Project pinpointed the weather, vineyard and inoculum factors that cause botrytis epidemics. The project involved researchers from Plant & Food Research, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries. Vineyard experiments were conducted in five regions: Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay, Auckland, southern Tasmania and southern Victoria (Figure 4). In more than 50 vineyard trials, the effects of different botrytis control treatments, including fungicide timing and vine canopy management, were investigated by intensive monitoring of botrytis development and vine growth in relation to seasonal weather patterns.

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Figure 4. The Trans-Tasman Botrytis Project determined climatic and vineyard risk factors driving botrytis epidemics using vineyard trials in five regions of New Zealand and Australia. A tool to measure, model and manage botrytis risk Plant & Food Research developed a mathematical model, called the Botrytis Decision Support (BDS) model, which was trialled during the Trans-Tasman Botrytis Project. The BDS model captures the main features of botrytis biology and simulates the effects of risk factors and control options on the development of botrytis epidemics. Results from the Trans-Tasman Botrytis Project, as well as other vineyard studies, like the Grape Futures project in New Zealand, were used to calibrate the BDS model. Subsequently, the horticultural software company HortPlus NZ Ltd, working with Plant & Food Research and New Zealand Winegrowers, turned this model into an online botrytis management tool. Vineyard managers enter details about specific vineyard blocks and monitor real-time weather to see what effects fungicides, biocontrols and vine canopy management have on botrytis risk throughout the season. The BDS system consists of an early-season model and a late-season model, which includes a sugar accumulation model. How the early-season botrytis risk model works The early-season model uses weather information and botrytis management inputs to predict the risk that a major botrytis epidemic will occur at harvest. A major epidemic is defined as ≥3% mean botrytis severity (crop loss). As the actual harvest severity of botrytis depends on rainfall during ripening, which is unpredictable early in the season, the early-season model’s prediction is W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

about the potential for a major botrytis epidemic. The early-season model assesses the effects of weather on botrytis risk by accessing vineyard weather stations. A botrytis risk index, called the ‘Bacchus model’, uses temperature and wetness data to determine the daily risk of infection by B. cinerea. The early-season model plots the accumulated Bacchus index each day and compares it against a threshold line (Figure 5, see page 52). The threshold line was statistically determined from monitored botrytis epidemics over many years in the Trans-Tasman Botrytis Project and other projects. Modelling the late-season race between sugar and botrytis Whether or not botrytis reaches damaging levels at harvest comes down to a race between sugar accumulation and the rate at which botrytis rots the bunches as they ripen. The finish line for the race is a sugar content high enough for harvest and winemaking. Wet weather gives the advantage to botrytis and, in the worst case, the bunches may have to be harvested at low sugar to avoid too much rot. The actions taken to manage early-season risk factors, as described previously, can tip the balance away from botrytis in favour of a healthy crop at harvest. The late-season model in the BDS system predicts the outcome of the sugar-botrytis race. The outcome of the race in a particular vineyard and season can be predicted reliably by monitoring sugar content and botrytis severity, and extrapolating both of these into V27N5


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the future, using known relationships between rates of increase and weather (Figure 6). As the late-season model predictions use actual measurements of sugar and disease in the vineyard that season, all the effects of weather and botrytis management actions earlier in the season are taken into account within the sugar and disease measurements. This is why the late-season model does not need to directly use the risk prediction made by the early-season model. Conclusions

Figure 5. Early-season botrytis risk displayed by the Botrytis Decision Support system on 29 December. Whether a major botrytis epidemic (≥3% crop loss) or a minor epidemic (<3% crop loss) will occur at harvest is predicted from the rate of accumulation of the ‘Bacchus’ weather index (blue dots). In this case, major risk is predicted because accumulated Bacchus is above the threshold line (black dashes) for more than 20 days between the beginning of flowering (start of the graph) and the expected date of veraison (15 February). Future disease risk (light blue line) is indicated from the current day, assuming the Bacchus index continues to accumulate at the same rate for the rest of the early-season period. The red dashed line shows the effect of fungicides and vine canopy management on botrytis risk by raising the threshold line. This reduces the number of days the accumulating Bacchus index is above the line. In this instance, even with the fungicide and canopy management actions there are still 35 days above the threshold, so a major epidemic is predicted. The expected dates for pre-bunch closure and veraison growth stages are also shown, as well as daily rainfall.

Botrytis Decision Support is a webbased tool that allows vineyard and winery managers to predict the risk of damage by botrytis at harvest. It is designed to help botrytis management decisions, including fungicide or biological control applications, vine canopy management, the need for removal of botrytis-affected bunches during ripening and planning of harvest operations to minimise botrytis losses. Other uses include assessment of regional botrytis risk as seasonal weather patterns develop, exploring the effectiveness of different management actions at reducing botrytis risk and retrospectively analysing the performance of previous botrytis control programs. The BDS website includes an information and database system that organises vineyard blocks and archives historical data on vine phenology, botrytis risk and disease control actions. The BDS system is being fully implemented for the New Zealand wine industry during the 2012-13 season by New Zealand Winegrowers. In Australia, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture is working with the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation to progress implementation of the BDS models. Acknowledgements

Figure 6. Late-season botrytis and sugar development displayed by the Botrytis Decision Support system on 12 March. Vineyard observations of botrytis, as percentage severity (crop loss), and sugar, as soluble solids (oBrix), are used to predict the future rates of increase of both factors, up to the expected harvest date when the target oBrix (green dashed line) is reached. The projected rate of botrytis increase is determined from statistical relationships for botrytis epidemics studied during the Trans-Tasman Botrytis Project and other projects.

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Thanks are due to New Zealand Winegrowers, HortPlus (NZ) Ltd, the Australian Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, Plant and Food Research, the University of Tasmania and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries for their contributions to the development of the Botrytis Decision Support system. People who helped collect data used for calibration of the botrytis risk models include Rob Agnew, Robert Ates, Michela Cambiotti, Justin Direen, Katie Dunne, Jacky Edwards, Warwick Henshall, John Howard, Kwang Soo Kim, Ross Mann, Dion Mundy, Lauren Perry, Victoria Raw, David Riches, Cheryl Skyllas, Tine Tach, Tracy Taylor, Daniel Timbiin, Tonya Wiechel and Peter Wright. We also thank the grapegrowers in New Zealand and Australia who made their vineyards WVJ available for the research trials. V27N5


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Pre-flowering defoliation effects on fruitfulness in the subsequent season By Mark Krasnow, Eastern Institute of Technology, New Zealand. Email: mkrasnow@eit.ac.nz

Research conducted during the 2011-12 season in New Zealand has revealed that defoliation of vines prior to flowering is a viable tool to reduce crop and combat bunch rot with a single vineyard treatment.

C

rop losses due to bunch rots can, in some regions and vintages, dramatically reduce yields in vineyards. If these losses are too severe, the long-term economic sustainability of the vineyard can be at risk. As a result of this great risk, most vineyards in cool climates with rainy summers apply frequent fungicide sprays to prevent catastrophic losses. However, with more stringent import restrictions on chemical residues in wine being put in place, and vineyards worldwide moving towards more sustainable practices and less reliance on chemical inputs, the practice of heavy fungicide use may not be a viable option for much longer. A non-chemical means to protect the crop would be a great boon to cool climate viticulture. Bunch rots, such as Botrytis cinerea, need high humidity to successfully infect berries. Some cultivars, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, are particularly prone to bunch rots due to the fact that the clusters of these varieties are very compact, with much berry-to-berry contact. Such clusters are more likely to have rot initiate, as the interior of these clusters remains humid for longer after dew or rainfall. Berry-to-berry contact can rub off the protective cuticular wax layer naturally present on berries, and can allow ingress to bunch rot fungi. Rot, once initiated in such bunches, can more easily spread throughout the bunch when the berries are in contact. Unfortunately, such tight-bunched cultivars are often the major varieties produced in cool or rainy climates, putting the economy of the industry in such regions at more risk. To combat bunch rots, growers in cool climates will remove leaves in the bunch zone to allow sunlight and fungicide penetration to the fruit, and to reduce humidity around bunches. This is generally done sometime between set and bunch closure, prior to veraison. The extent of the leaf plucking must be carefully considered. Too little plucking V2 7N 5

can lead to incomplete spray coverage, which can allow infections to get a foothold. Too much plucking, on the other hand, especially if done closer to veraison (which suddenly exposes the fruit to full sunlight), can lead to sunburn if a heat spell follows the leaf plucking. Another consideration in cool climate viticulture is crop reduction. Cool regions often have very short summers, and a narrow window in which to get the crop to maturity. A way of ensuring the fruit achieves acceptable ripeness in such areas is to reduce crop, generally by the removal of bunches by hand. This practice is slow and expensive, and mechanisation of this process is new and not particularly widespread. Removal of bunches, if done early, causes the remaining berries to grow larger, leading to even more compact and, therefore, more susceptible, bunches. Due to these issues, a technique that has recently gained attention in Europe and the US is the removal of leaves before flowering. At this phenological point, shoots are very short (about 50cm), and the removal of only a few leaves per shoot can greatly reduce the whole vine’s capacity to carry out photosynthesis. In our studies, pre-flowering defoliation generally removed 60-70 per cent of the leaf area, whereas pre-bunch closure defoliation only removed 20-40% of the leaf area. For both treatments, defoliation consisted of the removal of six basal leaves on each shoot by hand. The rationale behind the technique is that the plant’s photosynthesis is temporarily reduced by the removal of leaves, and that this reduction, if it occurs before flowering, leads to fewer berries becoming fertilised and, thus, developing into fruit. This reduction in photosynthetic capacity is temporary. Leaves re-grow, and by veraison, preflowering defoliated vines have similar leaf areas to non-defoliated vines and, therefore, are not compromised in their ability to ripen the fruit. Pre-flowering defoliation, in addition to opening up W i n e & V i t i cultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

the bunch zone, reduces the number of berries that set, thus leading to fewer berries per bunch. The resulting bunches are looser, with less berry-to-berry contact. Therefore, early defoliation provides a potential double benefit to the grower by reducing crop, saving an expensive pass through the vineyard to remove crop by hand and, at the same time, creating a more beneficial microclimate for the developing fruit. Results from Europe and preliminary results from Hawke’s Bay in the 2010-11 season showed that pre-flowering defoliation significantly reduced rot incidence and severity in most varieties and sites investigated. Early defoliation usually resulted in lighter bunches, with fewer berries. These bunches were, in general, significantly looser than bunches that were leaf plucked either at set, or pre-bunch closure. However, there were instances where rot was reduced, even when bunch architecture

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Table 2. Harvest bunch counts and yield per vine from the 2011-12 season at nine sites that had pre-flowering defoliation performed in the 2010-11 season. Values in bold with different lower case letters denote significant differences at the p=0.05 level. Variety

Bunch counts per vine

Sub-region

Yield (kg/vine)

Pre-flowering

Pre-bunch closure

Pre-flowering

Pre-bunch closure

Chardonnay 15

Korokipo

36.4

38.3

3.25 a

3.80 b

Chardonnay 95

Korokipo

30.3

30.6

3.74

4.00

Chardonnay 95

Havelock Hills

33.7

32.2

4.22

4.32

Pinot Gris

Havelock Hills

28.5

26.5

2.72

2.91

Sauvignon Blanc

Greenmeadows

59.3

61.6

3.65

4.49

Crownthorpe

26.1

26.3

3.75

3.73

Cabernet Sauvignon

Bridge Pa Triangle

30.0

27.9

3.34

3.25

Cabernet Sauvignon

Gimblett Gravels

12.5 a

15.7 b

0.68 a

1.01 b

Bridge Pa Triangle

20

21.6

2.58 a

3.02 b

Merlot

Syrah

Table 1. Pre-veraison bunch counts from the 2011-12 season at five sites that had pre-flowering defoliation performed in the 2010-11 season. Values in bold with different lower case letters denote significant differences at the p=0.05 level. Variety

Sub-region Korokipo

Pre-flowering 41.2

Pre-bunch closure 39.3

Havelock Hills Gimblett Gravels

23 a 23

28.7 b 26.7

Cabernet Sauvignon

Gimblett Gravels

10.0

10.9

Cabernet Sauvignon

Gimblett Gravels

26.8

24.4

Pinot Gris Sauvignon Blanc Merlot

or compactness was not affected, suggesting there are other benefits to early fruit exposure in reducing rot. Despite these benefits, there are potential problems with the preflowering defoliation technique. Grapevine bunches are developed over a two-year period. Around flowering in the current year, next year’s bunches are forming within dormant buds on the vine. In the subsequent year, these bunch primordia will develop into flowers and, then, fruit. It is possible, therefore, by greatly reducing photosynthesis around flowering by removing leaves, that there would be reduced development of bunch primordia in the dormant buds. This would lead to less yield the following season either due to fewer bunches being initiated, or to the bunches that are initiated being smaller. Pre-flowering defoliation might, therefore, in the long term, reduce vine fruitfulness to below sustainable levels. In order to more fully understand and, therefore, better utilise the pre-flowering defoliation technique, effects on the current year’s crop as well as the following year’s crop must be investigated. No matter how effective this technique might be in the season it is performed, it will never become widespread if it negatively effects the future productivity of the vineyard. In the 2011-12 season, we returned

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to the sites of our defoliation work in the 2010-11 season to test the effects that pre-flowering defoliation might have on fruitfulness the following year. At all sites, vines that were defoliated prior to flowering were compared with vines that were defoliated at pre-bunch closure (the industry standard in Hawke’s Bay). There were 14 different cultivars/sites that were investigated. Just prior to veraison, bunch counts were done at five of the sites to see if there was a reduction in the number of bunches. At the remaining nine sites, yield per vine as well as bunch number per vine were recorded at harvest. Of the five sites where only preveraison bunch counts were done, there was a significant reduction in the number of bunches at only one Sauvignon Blanc site (Table 1). There were no differences in bunch number at the Pinot Gris, Merlot or two Cabernet Sauvignon sites (Table 1). Bunch number, however, tells only part of the story, as pre-flowering defoliation could also lead to smaller bunches compared with leaf removal prebunch closure. To get a more accurate account of how pre-flowering defoliation in the previous season affects fruitfulness the following season, at the remaining nine sites we not only counted bunches at harvest, but also measured yield per vine. W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

Out of the nine sites, there was a significant reduction in yield per vine at one Cabernet Sauvignon site, one Chardonnay site, and one Syrah site (Table 2). Out of these sites, only the Cabernet Sauvignon site also showed a reduction in bunch number (Table 2), indicating that at the Chardonnay and Syrah sites, bunch size, rather than bunch number, was reduced by defoliation the previous year. This data, taken together, shows that pre-flowering defoliation can, in some instances, reduce yield the following year, either by reduced bunch number, reduced bunch size, or both. However, this decrease in productivity was only observed in a small proportion of sites, indicating that at most sites and in most varieties, pre-flowering defoliation is a viable way of improving crop health in the current season with few negative effects on the following year’s fruitfulness. It is possible that repeated preflowering defoliation of the same vines year after year might have a cumulative effect and eventually lead to a consistent reduction in productivity; however, this possibility was not investigated in the present study. In conclusion, defoliation of vines prior to flowering is a viable tool to reduce crop and combat bunch rot with a single vineyard treatment. Rot incidence and severity was significantly reduced by this treatment at a majority of the sites investigated. While a few sites showed a significant reduction in yield the following year due to fewer or smaller bunches, the majority of sites showed no negative effects of defoliation the previous year in terms of bunch counts or yield at harvest. A major drawback to the technique, however, is that it is quite slow and, therefore, expensive to perform by hand. Studies are currently under way in Hawke’s Bay to optimise mechanisation of the pre-flowering leaf plucking, making it a more economically viable option for local vineyards and wineries. V27N5


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Figure 1a. A Cabernet Sauvignon vine before pre-flowering defoliation.

Figure 1b. The same vine after removal of the six bottom leaves on each shoot.

Figure 2a. A Cabernet Sauvignon vine prior to pre-bunch closure defoliation.

Figure 2b. The same vine after removal of the six bottom leaves on each shoot.

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A biological control system for Botrytis By Dr Dean Metcalf Biocontrol Australia Pty Ltd, 211 Wyre Forest Rd, Molesworth, Tasmania 7140. Email: dmetcalf@biocontrol.net.au

Based on a presentation at the 8th International Cool Climate Symposium held in Hobart earlier this year, this article reports on the identification and commercialisation of a fungi that has been shown to be effective in reducing the level of incidence of Botrytis cinerea.

O

ne of the most challenging diseases to manage in cool climate vineyards is botrytis, and the 2011 and 2012 seasons have been among the most difficult. The major issue for the control of the disease has been its ability to develop resistance to the new generations of chemicals that have been produced to control it over the past 30 years. The chemistry has only just managed to keep half a step ahead of the ever-mutating fungus. The chemicals can work very well if there is no resistance, but the application of chemicals also has the effect of suppressing some of the other fungi on the grape foliage that can compete with botrytis, and if the fungicide additionally suppresses these beneficial microbes, the disease problem can become worse. To learn more about the type of beneficial microbes that might be found in grape flowers, a survey was conducted of the micro-organisms that could be found inside Riesling and Chardonnay flowers three weeks after pollen release. These are micro-organisms that have grown into the grape ovary via the open pollen receptacle (the flower tip papillae). The results (Table 1) show that the most common fungus within the developing fruit ovary was Cladosporium spp. Interestingly, Botrytis cinerea was found in 5 per cent of Riesling flowers, which is approximately the level of B. cinerea decay that was recorded in the crop at veraison. This reinforces the need to protect flowers against latent infection, as the percentage of B. cinerea in the developing fruit is related to the number of primary infections that will appear in weather conducive for botrytis at veraison. There was no Trichoderma to be found within any of the fruit tested at this early stage following flowering (Table 1). The range of fungi isolated suggests that there is not much of a population of beneficial micro-organisms to compete

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Table 1. Frequency of isolation of microbes from grape flowers at stage three (post-pollen release, stigmas falling off, stigma ends browning off) which were surface sterilised in 1% sodium hypochlorite for three minutes. Fifty flowers of both cultivars, Riesling and Chardonnay, were placed on grape leaf agar and pectin agar. Fungus

Riesling

Chardonnay

GLA

PA

GLA

PA

Cladosporium sp.

43

36

50

33

Alternaria sp.

11

8

8

17

Ulocladium sp.

2

1 3

Epicoccum sp.

7

2

Penicillium sp. (blue)

1

1

Penicillium sp. (yellow)

2

Rhizopus sp.

1

Sporothrix sp. (sim to)

2

Candida

1

Sterile fungi

4

1 1

Botrytis cinerea

3

2

Trichoderma spp.

0

0

with B. cinerea when it infects the plant. One interpretation of this information is that there is opportunity to introduce a population of beneficial microbes into the grape flowers at the time of flowering. This type of micro-organism could provide natural competition to prevent B. cinerea from infecting the grape flowers. With this idea in mind, a survey was conducted to try to find Trichoderma spp. that could naturally colonise grape flowers. After testing thousands of flowers, two races of Trichoderma were finally isolated from the ovary of grapes. A range of Trichoderma spp. were also collected from ripening fruit, where Trichoderma was found to be far more common than it is in flowers. W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

4

0

0

Of the two Trichoderma races collected from flowers, only one (Td67) was found capable of suppressing B. cinerea infection in flowers. In the first experiment, where Td67 was sprayed during flowering, Td67 reduced B. cinerea infection by 26.8% compared with the untreated control. Over several seasons of field trials, the use patterns were refined for application of Td67 to the point where it reliably provided around 80% suppression of B. cinerea compared with untreated grapes. Td67 was identified as belonging to the species Trichoderma harzianum (there are many other races of T. harzianum, but they are not all the same, just as grapes are all Vitis vinifera, but many varieties and â&#x2013;ś clones exist). V27N5


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It was essential to understand the correct timing and rate of application. Experiments indicated that the most economic rate of application was 100 grams per hectare. Application was also compared at 20% capfall, 80% capfall, or both together. The level of flower colonisation (and disease control) was a little better following application at both 20% and 80% capfall than at 80% alone. Vineyards that are under highlevel botrytis pressure might find it worthwhile to apply the two applications during flowering, but most vineyards would find a single spray at 80% capfall the optimum treatment. Obviously, applying twice during flowering costs twice as much. Experiments have also been conducted on the compatibility of Trichoderma Td67 with chemical fungicides. The objective was to understand whether any of the fungicides routinely used in grapes could reduce the survival of Trichoderma Td67. After all, Trichoderma Td67 is a fungus, and the objective of fungicides is to kill fungi. The fungicide-active ingredients that were found to be harmful to the survival of Trichoderma Td67 in grape flowers

when applied seven days after flowering included captan, cabrio, procymidone, carbendazim and chrorothalonil, with mild inhibition from mancozeb, potassium bicarbonate, flusilazole, and cyprodonil/fludioxonil. A more detailed list is available from the author. A prototype powder formulation containing Td67 was developed in 2007. It was first subjected to a series of commercial-scale experiments to ensure that it did not cause any taint to the flavour of wine. The formulation (given the trade name of Colonizer®) was found to work very well for control of botrytis infection of flowers. However, as time went on, it seemed that when Colonizer was applied during veraison, the level of suppression was moderate and the developers came to the view that it would be possible to find a better microbe, specifically adapted for late season suppression of botrytis. After all, the two tasks of colonising flowers, and growing on ripening fruit (where yeasts are abundant and botrytis grows fast on all the sugar), are quite different roles for the fungus. From a variety of Trichoderma strains tested in a series of six experiments on ripening grapes, the one that

repeatedly provided the best control was Trichoderma koningii Td81b. This strain was found to be also good at suppressing infection in flowers and it has been suggested to abandon Td67, as Td81b can perform both tasks. The argument against this is that botrytis has regularly mutated and evolved resistance to every effective chemical fungicide that has ever been used against it, and it is better to have two active ingredients than one for longterm resistance management. The combination of Td67 application at flowering and Td81b application at veraison provides a complete program for suppression of botrytis. The biofungicides used together reduce the level of infection to 25% of what it would be in that vineyard if left untreated. However, the treatments are no ‘silver bullet’. They must be used in combination with appropriate canopy management to minimise humidity, and farm hygiene to reduce the level of inoculum that overwinters to infect the crop.

Contact the author for further information.

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W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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Hot winegrape production: Italian lessons By Mark Downey1 and Pietro Scafidi2 1 Future Farming Systems Research Division, DPI Victoria, PO Box 905, Mildura, Victoria, 3502. Email: mark.downey@dpi.vic.gov.au 2 Department DEMETRA, University of Palermo, Sicily.

Hot winegrowing regions around the world potentially hold examples of ‘climate ready’ management practices that have been adapted to hot and dry climates over centuries, and include the selection and identification of appropriate varieties and clones. As part of a joint project between the Victorian DPI and Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, those lessons are being captured through a series of study tours to hot viticultural production areas, most recently to southern Italy.

T

he hot production areas in Australia, in the Riverland and Sunraysia, are comparable to many other wineproducing regions with a similar climate. As we face a hotter, drier climate, it is worth looking at production areas with similar or hotter climates to see what ideas and innovations we could use to adapt to a hotter climate, and to gain a new perspective on our current conditions. Previously, a tour of California reported

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(Australian Viticulture, Vol. 14, No. 6, pp59-62) that the primary strategy for managing high temperatures in California, particularly in the Central Valley, has been to apply irrigation. While this strategy to some extent already has been adapted in Australia, limited water availability and the potentially negative effects of excess irrigation on fruit quality makes such an approach less than ideal for most of the industry.

W i n e & V i t i cultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

To explore other strategies in regions with limited water availability and temperatures similar to current climates in Australia, or conditions that might reflect climate change forecasts for Australia, we examined some of the production systems in southern Italy. Southern Italy and Sicily are wineproducing regions where daily average temperatures range from 10°C in winter, to 24°C in summer. The average maximum

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A

temperature in summer is around 29°C (Figure 1), but extreme heat events are also frequently reported as a result of hot winds blowing from the desert regions of North Africa. At these times, temperatures can reach 38-40°C for two to three days at a time and 40-44°C in the south of Sicily (www.scia.sinanet.apat.it/sciaweb/scia_ kriging_mappe.html). Generally in winter, temperatures in Palermo and Trapani (north-west of Sicily) are warmer than in Mildura, Victoria. Notably, the average minimum temperatures are higher as a result of the maritime effect from the Mediterranean Sea (Figure 1). Other areas, such as Manduria (Puglia), Catsrovillari (Calabria) and Ragusa (south-east of Sicily), have a similar winter temperature range to Mildura. The climate of the regions is relatively dry, with most of the rainfall occurring in the autumn and winter (Figure 2). While there are quite high winter rainfalls recorded in some areas, such as Palermo and Castrovillari, there is little or no summer rainfall in Sicily (Palermo, Ragusa and Trapani). Annual rainfall in Palermo is around 800mm (long-term averages 1960-1995); while in Trapani, the average is 450mm and around 592mm in Ragusa. In Manduria, the average is around 625mm, while in Castrovillari, about 750mm of rain falls annually. By comparison, Mildura receives 292mm per year (average 19462012). Given these conditions and their similarity to some wine-producing regions in Australia, the 2010 study tour visited Sicily, Calabria and Puglia. Sicily is an island of around 25,700 square kilometres, with approximately 115,686ha planted to winegrapes, producing around 6.2 million hectolitres of wine and must, of which 1.5 million hectolitres is bottled (200 million bottles)1. The main winegrape varieties in production in Sicily are Catarratto Bianco (40,000ha), Nero d’Avola (18,830ha), Inzolia (7084ha), Trebbiano Toscano (6239ha), and Grillo (5629ha)1. Of these, a few have

B

Figure 1. Average daily (A) maximum and (B) minimum temperatures for viticultural production areas in southern Italy and Sicily, as well as Mildura (Victoria) for comparison.

Figure 2. Average rainfall (mm) for southern Italy and Sicily, as well as Mildura (Victoria) for comparison.

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I T AL Y

vitic u l t u re

Dr Pietro Scafidi (left) and Professor Gabriella Barbagallo, from the University of Palermo (Sicily), visiting vineyards in the Etna region of Sicily.

Figure 3. Pedological (soil) map of southern Italy and Sicily. Source: Soil regions of Italy. Edoardo A. C. Costantini, Ferdinando Urbano, Giovanni L’Abate (modified). www.soilmaps.it

previously been suggested as possibly suitable to production in Australia. The tour started with the regions of Palermo, Trapani and Marsala, visiting Calatrasi, Feudo Arancio and Rapitalà vineyards and wineries, as well as Florio and Donnafugata wineries, guided by Professor Gabriella Barbagallo and Dr Pietro Scafidi, from the University of Palermo. The white varieties in production were mainly Cataratto and Grillo, and the red varieties were mainly Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese and the usual international varieties, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon (13,885ha in Sicily). Grillo, which makes a light white table wine, is drought hardy and not overly susceptible to powdery mildew, and seemed well-suited to Australia. Nero d’Avola, while arousing interest in Australia, as a major variety in Sicily is susceptible to powdery mildew, downy mildew and botrytis, is not drought tolerant and is also susceptible to sunburn. Therefore, it is probably not well-suited to hot wine-producing regions in Australia, although very high quality wines can be made from this variety. One of the features of Sicilian viticulture that was observed was the widespread virus loads in vines, and many vineyards were infested with a sap-sucking pest, Jacobiasca libica. Figure 3 shows the different pedological regions of Sicily and southern Italy. In Sicily, the soils are generally young clays over limestone or sandstone, but can be variable in depth from 0.5m to more than 2m. The cultivated hills have an average slope of 13%, rising to around 250m above sea level. To the west, soils incorporate carbonates, soluble salts and clays, as well as alluvial soils with a lot of variation in thickness and rockiness. To the south-east, around Ragusa, the mountains are a mixture of limestone and volcanic rock, generally around 300m above sea level and 11% slope. The soils are shallow with high organic matter content, rocky and stony with some heavy clays, high acidity and localised steep slopes. To the north-east, production is centred on the volcanic soils of Mt Etna, which are highly fertile once excess rock is removed. As a result, the area is characterised by dry-stone walls and numerous other stone constructions. Viticulture in the region is characterised by bush vines that are dry grown at altitudes of above 1000m, producing some good but unusual wines. While interesting, these had little relevance to Australian production. Viticulture in Calabria is only around 13,500ha, while the most important crop is olives (about 196,000ha)2. However, in this region a number of varieties were examined, including Magliocco, Trebbiano, Greco di Tufo, Fiano, Falanghina, Aglianico

and Montepulciano, with good examples of these in the vineyards around Castrovillari. Of these, Fiano, Falanghina, Aglianico and Montepulciano have potential for production in Australia. Being drought hardy and well-suited to hot climates, these varieties also make excellent wines. There are small plantings of these varieties in Australia, and some good examples of their wines are in commercial production. The hills of Calabria are mainly tertiary limestone rocks, dolomite and associated sediments with alluvial and coastal plains, a mixture of sloping and level land with escarpments. The hills and mountains are generally higher than elsewhere in southern Italy, with the average height of the uplands being around 430m and an average slope of 24%. Further to the east, the ‘heel’ of Italy, is the Puglia region. In Puglia, 101,175ha are planted to winegrapes, with about half of the production in the Foggia (32,300ha) and Taranto (18,135ha) area3. The main varieties in Puglia are Primitivo, Nero di Troia and Greco di Tufo, as well as lesser plantings of Montepulciano, Negro Amaro and Fiano. Primitivo is considered to be the same variety as Zinfandel in the US (California) and is well-suited to hot production areas. It is a versatile grape, although it can be hard to grow, because it is thin-skinned and disease prone. While the variety produces some outstanding wines, the production issues make it hard to recommend, particularly in a highly mechanised industry. Nero di Troia might have greater potential, being largely free of the limitations of Primitivo. ▶

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Figure 4. Dr Mark Downey (right) and Dr Luigi Tarricone (Institute for Experimental Viticulture, Puglia) examining a traditional limestone ‘trullo’ (plural trulli) in Puglia, Italy. The Puglia region is characterised by shallow clay soils over limestone, often with excessive limestone on the surface. In the Manduria region of Puglia, where Primitivo is the major wine produced, the soils are easily crumbled limestone clays, on a fairly level coastal plain with adjacent hills less than 200m above sea level. The soils on the hills are often shallow and eroded carbonates, with clay and iron oxide accumulations at depth and a very mild slope (3%). Further to the east, the region is famous for the dry-stone walls and small, conical-roofed stone cottages known as ‘trullo’ (Figure 4). In some parts of Puglia, major earthworks to break and pulverise the limestone to around 1m is undertaken at a cost of around 20,000 Euro per hectare (Figure 5). Montelpuciano is widely grown in this region and performs well under both water and heat stress. Generally, the climate of the viticulture regions of southern Italy is similar to that of major growing regions in Australia. Soils in some areas were notably different, as were many of the production practices. Irrigation systems are a relatively new adoption, and knowledge of irrigation management or scheduling is low. While there are many new plantings and some highly mechanised operations, much of the viticulture still follows traditional practices. A major difference between southern Italian and Australian winegrape production are the comparatively low yields, as low as 4-5 tonnes per hectare or lower in some cases. Other areas achieved yields of 25t/ha or more. However, in many DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata - controlled designation of origin) regulated areas, production is limited to around 12t/ha or less. The most noticeable difference in Italian viticulture was the range of cultivars in widespread production, and array of wines produced that are not commonly seen in Australia. Of the many varieties observed in southern Italy, some seemed particularly well-suited to warm or hot production conditions in Australia, including Grillo, Fiano, Falanghina, Aglianico, Nero di Troia and Montepulciano. Despite all of these varieties being grown in Australia, only a few of these great wines appear in our bottleshops.

B

C

Figure 5. Land preparation for vineyard planting in Puglia (southern Italy). Where the soil is shallow and underlain by limestone, the limestone is broken up, then crushed before planting of new vineyards. (A) Dr Nino Pisciotta (left) and Dr Pietro Scafidi, from the University of Palermo, watch an excavator breaking the limestone, (B) before and after crushing, (C) a recently planted vineyard on the crushed limestone - where’s the soil?

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References Salvia Francesca (2011), The Sicilian viticulture in numbers. Regiono Siciliana, Istituto Regionale Della Vite e Del Vino.

1

2 Source: ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics) http://www.istat.it/it/calabria/ dati?q=gettable&dataset=DCSP_COLTIVAZ&dim=113,1,9,0,0&lang=2&tr=0&te=0

Source: ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics) http://www.istat.it/it/puglia/ dati?q=gettable&dataset=DCSP_COLTIVAZ&dim=104,2,9,0,0&lang=2&tr=0&te=0

3

W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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vitic u l t u re

Garganega - an enticing variety with fruit, flavour and finish By Robin Day, Domain Day, Mount Crawford, South Australia

Gargenea is experiencing something of a renaissance in its homeland, Italy, and Domain Day proprietor and winemaker Robin Day - inspired by the Nashi pear, honeydew melon, tropical fruit characters, mouthfeel, mineral-like finish and acidity of the quality wines of Soave Classico - is leading the charge to create quality Australian versions of the variety.

G

arganega would be a contender for the title of the most widely planted, yet least known variety in Italy, where it ranks as the sixth largest variety by area with more than 13,000 hectares planted. Throughout Italy, the variety is known by a myriad of synonyms – D’Oro, Decanico, Dorana di Venetia, Garganega Comune, Garganega di Gambellara, Garganega Gentile, Garganega Grossa, Garganega Piramidale, Garganega Veronese, Gracanico Dorato, Grecani, Grecanico, Grecanico Bianco, Grecanico Dorato, Grecanicu Biancu, Grecanio, Greccanico, Lizzara, Malvasia de Manresa, Ora, Oro, Ostesa, Ostesona, and Recanicu The principal reason for it being so little known is that in the regions where it is featured in the varieties permitted by the DOC and DOCG rules, the wines are marketed by the name of the region, not by the name of the variety. It is the principal variety of Soave and Gambellara, and it also features in the wines of the lesser regions Colli Bereci, Bianca di Custoza and Colli Eugananci. Small plantings of the variety also exist in various parts of Umbria and Friuli. It is in Soave that the long history of Garganega is most in evident. The earliest record of it, described as ‘Garganica’, dates back to 1495 when it was recorded in the ‘Trattato dell’Agricultura’ (Treatise on Agriculture). In Sicily it is known as Grecanico. Recent DNA typing studies have shown that the Grecanico of Sicily and the Garganega of Soave are identical. It has also been shown by DNA examination to feature strongly as a parent of many Italian grape varieties. In Soave, Garganega has developed its two-part reputation. On the deep, fertile soils of the flats around the V2 7N 5

Domain Day’s 2011 Gargenega (left) and the dessert wine Gargenega Dolcezza. hill-top town of Soave, it shows its tendency to crop heavily, producing wines that often have underwhelming flavour and overwhelming acidity. Some of these can be purchased for less than €2 per bottle at the local cooperative winery. The high crop, mass-produced wines have been responsible for the negative image attached to Soave in former times. This became the challenge that growers and winemakers of Soave Classico had to overcome. With the aid of clonal selection to single out better flavoured, less abundant variations, crop reduction and careful site selection, the modern high quality wines of Soave Classico have evolved. These effects are well demonstrated in the excellent wines from the pioneers of this renaissance of Soave, Pieropan, Anselmi, Pra and Inama. W i n e & V i t i cultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

This first rank of quality producers of Soave Classico is being reinforced by more and more quality wines from other producers, which eventually will make dismissive wine writers take Soave and Garganega as seriously as they should. At Domain Day, we were fortunate enough not to be prejudiced by the bland commercial wines of Soave. We first experienced the good features of the variety in Soave Classico – its Nashi pear, honeydew melon and tropical fruit characters, its excellent mouthfeel stemming from a surprising amount of viscosity and its lingering, mineral-like finish co-joined with excellent acidity. We are continually reminded that the wines mature very slowly without developing the strong secondary bottle-age characters so obvious in some varieties. We have www.wine biz. com . au

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also been impressed with the capacity of Garganega to make dessert wines. Our version, the 2008 Dolcezza, is specifically tailored for enjoyment with fresh fruit and fruit-based desserts, the territory left vacant by over-sweet Australian dessert wines. The characteristic mineral finish gives this style of dessert wine a lingering savoury appeal. We first planted Garganega at Domain Day in 2001 and made our first wine in 2004. The clone that we planted, clone 69, is one of the newer, less vigorous and less prolific clones but its cropping level still gets our undivided attention. The heat summation we experience at Mt Crawford makes our site significantly cooler than Soave Classico, prompting us to plant Garganega on our warmest northern slope. It is a late developing cultivar with late budburst and late season crop maturity. In our experience, it is moderately sensitive to water stress and we have straw mulched it accordingly. Garganega is very slow to go into dormancy and to lignify in winter; leaves hang on into June in most years, even in the cold winters at Mt Crawford. Morphologically, it is somewhat unusual. Leaves are distinctly lobed, and foliage is lighter green than many cultivars. Bunches are very large (up to 250 grams), winged and very open. The bunch size has dictated that we take significantly larger samples than for ‘normal’ cultivars. Characteristically, the flower scar on the outer pole of the berry (on the opposite side to the attachment point) is quite marked, giving a lenticel-like, almost scarred appearance. In our first cropping season this was a concern, as it had the appearance of some form of possible berry damage that could not be accounted for. Reassurance came only from examination of a number of Soave promotional photographs which indicated that it was a widespread characteristic of the cultivar. Berries are spherical, large and thick skinned, which seems to make the variety fairly disease resistant. We have observed significant benefits from fruit exposure to develop flavour in our relatively cool climate and, accordingly, we have run lifting wires so that we can lift the canopy and gain some fruit exposure to morning sunshine. Even though the clone we have planted is a lower yielding one, the crop level combined with its late-season ripening make ripening of a heavy crop problematic. We aim to achieve about 12.5ºBaumé at which point good fruit flavours are retained in the grapes, but this can only be achieved by significant crop thinning, often as high as 30 per cent. We have experimented with the timing of crop thinning. Due to the lateness of the cultivar and the berry and bunch size, we favour late-season thinning to minimise the effects of fruit size compensation. Shoot thinning is not a requirement for ventilation, and may possibly result in significant compensation as well. The winemaking of the Domain Day Garganega is conventional, modern Australian with the influence of more traditional methods. We crush, must cool and press into juice settling tanks with a fairly generous free run cut at about 650 litres per tonne. From a winemaking perspective, the next aspect is perhaps the most important and 30 years as a winemaker for a large mainstream company has been a difficult background to approach it from. We simply settle for a number of days, but when we rack the juice, it is a deliberate approach to pick up a proportion of fluffy juice solids. This helps to develop the long Italianate finish that sits so well with this cultivar. The lingering ‘white grape tannin’ effect is more at home at a casual lunch with some full-flavoured food than it is on a wine show judging bench, and we also believe the flavours of the variety are fresher and better uncluttered by wood influence.

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Garganega By Peter Dry Viticulture Consultant The Australian Wine Research Institute Background Garganega (pronounced gah-gah-NEE-gah) is one of the major white varieties of Italy with the largest plantings in the north east, particularly in the provinces of Verona and Vicenza. It has a significant genetic variability—at least four biotypes have been identified. Garganega is mainly used in the DOC Soave of Veneto, where it makes up a minimum of 70 per cent of the blend with Trebbiano and Chardonnay. It is also grown in Sicily (as Grecanico) and Umbria. There do not appear to be significant plantings in any other countries. In Australia, there are currently at least five wine producers according to the Wine Industry Directory. Synonyms include D’Oro, Dorana di Venetia, Garganega Comune, Garganega di Gambellara, Garganega Gentile, Garganega Grossa, Garganega Piramidale, Garganega Veronese, Grecanico, Grecanico Dorato, Lizzara, Ora, Oro, Ostesa and Ostesona. Viticulture Budburst is mid to late season, and maturity is mid-season. Bunches are medium to large and loose to well-filled. The medium berries have juicy pulp and neutral taste. It is vigorous with a semi-erect growth habit. Yield is moderate to high depending on the clone. On fertile soils, it may be excessively vigorous and prone to over-cropping. It generally requires good canopy management. The best Soave wines come from the least vigorous vineyards on the slopes and lower yielding vineyards. Cane pruning is used in cool climates, but spur pruning is successful in warmer climates. Susceptibility to botrytis is said to vary between biotypes; however, each of the seven clones currently available in Italy have low susceptibility to botrytis. Wine Garganega wines are generally light-bodied in a range of styles, including sparkling wine. When picked relatively early, wines are zesty with moderate to high acidity; descriptors include apple, lemon and almond. With greater maturity, wines are juicier and more mouthfilling; descriptors include green melon, pear and tropical. This is an extract from the manual developed for the Research to Practice on ‘Alternative varieties: emerging options for a changing environment’ (Tassie, L.; Dry, P.R. and Essling, M. 2010). For further information on this and other emerging varieties, contact Marcel Essling (rtp@awri.com.au; tel. 08 8313 6600) at The Australian Wine Research Institute to arrange the presentation of this Research to Practice program in your region.

The Domain Day Garganega has achieved a significant following in its seven vintages, especially considering the cultivar was almost completely unknown by most Australian drinkers when we began producing it. While it is true that nothing is actually easy to sell, we have found that once it is tasted, the Garganega registers with significant appeal to the consumer, which we put down to the same features that enticed us towards the cultivar – its subtle but attractive fruit aromatics, the even anatomy of its palate and the WVJ refreshing persistence of its finish.

W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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ce l l a r door

Why being good enough isn’t good enough By Robin Shaw, Wine Tourism Australia. Email:robin@winetourismaustralia.com.au

Former Winemakers’ Federation of Australia manager of tourism and business development, Robin Shaw, asks cellar door operators what else they can do to help them stand out from the crowd.

A

nyone visiting a cellar door generally knows what to expect from the encounter, and most cellar doors provide what is required: somewhere to park the car relatively close to the entrance, a tasting bar, staff to pour wine and tell you all about it, several different varietals and styles of wine and a method to purchase. And, don’t forget the toilets. The problem with this scenario is that it has become commonplace and undifferentiated, and people now have far greater choices when it comes to purchasing wine. What’s more, cellar door outlets find it difficult to compete with big box retailers and online e-tailers offering convenience, speed, and low prices. Therefore, the only sustainable competitive advantage available to most operators is customer service and the ability to provide a memorable experience. Cellar doors can sell solutions in smart, responsive ways that chains and impersonal online stores can only dream about. Doing what you should be doing isn’t great service. It is average, expected and should rightfully be taken for granted. Sadly, it isn’t, and average service is often regarded as surprising – when really, it should be poor service that’s surprising. In Australia’s current environment of high exchange rates and better value destinations on our doorstep, visitors (local and international) are paying more attention to the actual dollars they spend. National chief executive of advertising agency George Patterson Y&R, Russel Howcroft, recently told Tourism Excellence & Events Conference delegates that global research revealed Australian holidays as ‘poor quality and bad value for money’. In tourism, product often equates to service, and while the price of our product remains high, the service quality must match. And, yes, cellar doors are tourism attractions in the eyes of the visitor. Are you an eagle or a duck? What would you do to differentiate if you were a cab driver in a busy city? Author of The Simple Truths of Service, Ken Blanchard, describes the interaction

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Delivering great service means finding out what the person standing in front of you really wants - not tomorrow, or next week, but right now. This might mean foregoing a tasting of your entire offering. between cab driver Wally and his passenger Harvey in the book. As the cab pulled up at the airport in front of Harvey, he noticed it was polished to a high sheen. Then, Wally emerged from the cab, smartly dressed, introduced himself to Harvey and handed him a laminated card to read while he placed the luggage in the boot. The card contained Wally’s mission statement, ‘To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment’. Once inside the spotlessly clean cab, Wally offered his passenger a cup of coffee – regular or decaf from the thermoses he carried. Joking in response that he’d prefer a soft drink, Harvey was promptly offered a choice of cool beverages from an esky. The outstanding service continued, with offers of different newspapers to read, radio stations to listen to, and a choice of conversation or quiet time. Harvey asked Wally how he came to provide such a unique service. Two years before, Wally heard a personal growth guru speak on the radio about the effects W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

of constant complaining, which Wally and his cab mates did regularly. The message was simple: ‘Stop complaining. Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd’. Wally immediately changed his attitude, introduced different service offerings, monitored the responses from passengers and refined his approach accordingly. His income doubled within the first year and, rather than sit at cab stands, Wally now has customers contact him directly. He arranges like-minded cab drivers to assist when he isn’t available (for a piece of the action). What additional services can you provide in your cellar door to soar above the crowd? Excuse me, but this is personal Every visitor is unique. Delivering great service means finding out what the person standing in front of you really wants – today. Not tomorrow, or next V27N5


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It’s so important that cellar door staff learn to distinguish between highly involved wine consumers and those that require some gentle education. week, but right now. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many cellar doors, often incognito, and the range of service levels is profound. As I might visit half-a-dozen wineries in a day, I’m not going to avail myself of the wide choice offered for tasting in most cellar doors. I prefer to sample varieties for which the region is most known, so that’s what I ask for. I’m always amazed that my simple request is often ignored while an enthusiastic staff member attempts to introduce me to their whole range. Politely and firmly, I remind them that I only want to sample a couple of wines, and point out my preferences. It should end there, but it often doesn’t, and the experience is sometimes unsatisfactory for us both.

That’s not to say the visitor always knows best, and that’s why it’s so important that cellar door staff learn to distinguish between highly involved wine consumers and those that require some gentle education. I observed a terrific example of this at a small family winery in Margaret River. The visitor stated that he loved Cabernet, tried the wine and immediately requested a six-pack. He was then asked if he would like to try the Shiraz. The visitor was adamant that he did not like Shiraz. The family member serving him acknowledged his response and asked what he didn’t like about the variety. In his experience, he found the wine to be too robust, jammy and overoaked. She didn’t argue the point, but offered him a wine to try while his order was fulfilled. The visitor was immediately impressed and asked about it, surprised to find out it was a Shiraz, and willing to learn about the nuances of cool climate Shiraz, added another six-pack to his order. I often travel with a male colleague ahead of workshops in wine regions, and on one memorable occasion he had a case of ‘man flu’. He miserably pointed this out to the tasting room attendant (it was in South Africa) who immediately

business & marketing

empathised, diverted her attention from me to him, and offered him a glass of a fruity, Rooibos-infused non-alcoholic wine that she claimed would cure him in a day. Once that problem was solved, she was able to re-engage with me and talk about the real wine, and neither of us had to endure the pitiful complaints from my colleague who was now happily nursing his elixir (Michael ended up purchasing three bottles of the magical wine and was, indeed, cured in a couple of days). Great service is a choice Among its many dictionary definitions, service is defined as ‘an act of helpful activity’. In its active form, to serve is to ‘be of use’ and ‘render assistance’ – it invites action. Give great service, and you’re likely to be rewarded with a sale and a referral; give poor service and you’re likely to miss out on the sale and get complaints. You need to define what great service means to you, so start with asking the question, why should someone do business with me? Great service is perceived when staff are courteous and willing to help – attributes that are more important than

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speed and efficiency – which is generally a feature of big box retailing. Unsurprisingly, the number one reason people choose to stop doing business with a company is poor customer service. Of all the reasons that contribute to the perception of ‘poor’, the worst offences are rude and incompetent staff and issues not being resolved in a timely manner (here, speed and efficiency are important). For me, it’s not feeling valued, and no amount of

service as the biggest driver to increase their spend, and 55% were willing to recommend a company that provided outstanding service – ahead of product and price considerations. However, it’s often when things go wrong that the real value of great service can be observed. Dissatisfied customers are a noisy bunch, according to the Impact Report, with 95% of respondents taking action as a result of a negative experience.

Adverse situations are a great opportunity to showcase your service standards. Confrontation is never comfortable, but it’s worth remembering the goal next time you encounter an angry or frustrated customer: you’re trying to win the customer, not the argument. discounted offers after a year of being ignored will change my decision to go elsewhere – a fact my hairdresser of nearly 10 years has recently discovered. A Customer Experience Impact Report conducted by RightNow.com in 2010 revealed that 85 per cent of respondents to a survey indicated they were willing to pay up to 25% more to ensure a superior customer experience. The rise of loyalty programs that command annual fees, especially those associated with credit cards and airlines, demonstrates this trend nicely. More than 50% indicated they would become a customer of a company based on a positive reputation for customer service – and 40% would go to a competitor if their service offering was perceived as better. Many cellar doors lament that they cannot compete with the retailers on price and product range, however, 66% of survey respondents cited great customer

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This included telling the story, actively discouraging others from purchasing, venting their anger and asking for resolution. The good news is that 92% of respondents would give the business a second chance if they received a followup apology, were offered a discount or shown proof of enhanced customer service. I recall receiving a phone call some years ago from an irate woman complaining that her white carpet had been ruined due to a red wine’s leaking cork. The wine in question was an older vintage of a premium brand, so the cork should have been top quality. After letting her vent and assuring her that I would solve her problem, I asked a couple of key questions to determine how the incident had occurred. It turned out the wine was stored in an open wine rack, in the living room, close to a central heater. I tactfully explained the fundamentals of wine W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

storage and some remedies to remove red wine from the carpet before calling in the steam cleaning experts. Once she understood the situation and the implied responsibility, she happily accepted a replacement six-pack and access to the next vintage when it was released. The impact of social networking has had profound effects on the fortunes of many companies – some positive, some not so. Nearly 60% of people who post negative comments on Facebook or Twitter expect a response, and 42% expect that response to arrive within a day. The reality, according to the Impact Report, is that only 22% actually got a response. Whether you like it or not, you’re being talked about online, so ensure you have processes in place to deal with feedback – just as you would if someone complained in person, on the phone or by email. Reviews on TripAdvisor are particularly powerful, where travellers are increasingly making – and changing – their purchase decisions based on what ordinary people have experienced. This certainly made the difference in a travel decision I made last year after extensive research that narrowed my choices down to two properties. Curiously, the one that responded positively and firmly to a critical review got my business. Personally, I think adverse situations are a great opportunity to showcase your service standards. Confrontation is never comfortable, but it’s worth remembering the goal next time you encounter an angry or frustrated customer: you’re trying to win the customer, not the argument. Delivering outstanding service is no accident. It requires leadership and a willingness to hire the right staff, train them, empower them and reward them. Standing out from the crowd doesn’t require big, costly wow factors; it just means being consistently better than your competitors, genuinely caring about your customers, understanding their needs and providing the right solution. I like Shep Hyken’s example (hyken.com) about the Marriot Hotel employee who noticed the frustration of a guest waiting in a long queue for morning coffee, who then dashes off to the conference room where presentations are about to start. Minutes later, the employee enters the room, miraculously tracks down the woman among the 1000 delegates present, and hands her a cup of coffee. Now that’s outstanding! Robin Shaw runs a consulting business, Wine Tourism Australia, helping wineries and wine regions attract more people and sell more wine through the provision of great visitor experiences. WVJ V27N5


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The impact of customer satisfaction on loyalty How does it affect customers’ repurchase behaviour for Australian wine? By Anna Pullen1 and Tony Spawton2 1 Postgraduate student of Wine Business, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide. Senior Project Officer, Grape and Wine, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia Email: anna.pullen@sa.gov.au 2 Associate Professor of Wine Marketing, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide. Email: anthony.spawton@adelaide.edu.au

How much a wine delights a customer, and the overall positive experience gained from its enjoyment, has great long-term impacts on the marketing efficiencies of the product.

T

he benefits of loyal customers are commonsense and well documented. Customers that repeat purchase a product can lead to a reliable demand and marketing efficiencies, as well as exposure to new customers through word of mouth. This is particularly so for Australian wine, which is in an increasingly competitive and fragmented market. As a product, wine is

confusing for customers, who cannot tell the character or quality of wine until it is purchased and consumed. Understanding why customers are loyal is critical for wine businesses in order to maintain and gain market share. The literature shows there are clear differences in customer behaviour as a result of their level of satisfaction and, ultimately, their loyalty.

Building customer satisfaction to increase loyalty is the single most important indicator of sustainable profits (Reinartz and Kumar 2002). In a monopoly, customers remain loyal out of necessity. In a market as fragmented as wine or food, where customers have significant choice, customers can vote with their feet and be fickle – following trends, promotions,

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The clear advantage of wine as a consumer product is its ability to provide a significant enjoyable experience and enhance food and occasion, as well as being a symbol of status and good taste. popularity or value (Jones and Sasser Jr. 1995). Consumers have basic expectations for how a product should perform. For a product such as wine, these expectations often go beyond the basic and are more complex, including the expectation for benefits, such as a pleasant experience. Food and wine products are unique in the way they can satisfy or please their customers compared with other consumer products, because of their direct connection to one of the five senses - taste. The literature identifies two types of product benefits – utilitarian and hedonic – and how they result in very different consumer behaviour (Chitturi et al. 2008). Utilitarian benefits refer to a product’s function, instrumental and practical benefits. Hedonic benefits are the aesthetic, experiential and enjoyment-related parts of a customer’s interaction with a product. Wine is not a utilitarian product – it is not a need in terms of being something functional

that is required to perform a certain task. Wine is more likely to be seen as a want, a product that brings pleasure and is an experience. Wine is even an accessory – and just like accessories - for example, a perfume or a handbag - while you don’t need to wear them, you feel ‘naked’ without them. Wine is a boost to a person’s confidence. The clear advantage of wine as a consumer product is its ability to provide a significant enjoyable experience and enhance food and occasion, as well as being a symbol of status and good taste. With so many other products, aesthetics might be what delights a customer. For wine, it is an assumed part of the function of the product. To further develop the understanding of customer delight, Rust and Oliver argue (2000) that surprise is the key factor. A product can exceed expectations without being delightful. The customer is surprised by his or her expectations being exceeded, and this experience boosts the product’s

positive performance, which is where the delight comes in. Surprise suggests a heightened, emotional and perhaps unexpected reaction and connection to the product. This could mean that wines with a strong reputation for quality could delight a customer less than a wine that was expected to be poor but, in fact, was pleasant. By way of example, a glass of Penfold’s Grange may not delight the customer; due to the wine’s reputation as being one of Australia’s best, the customer expects it to be outstanding. When the wine is tasted and it is indeed very good, there is no surprise or arousal accompanied, as they expected it to be so. As a result, the Grange only satisfied them. A customer that purchased a cheap cleanskin may be more delighted with that product than the Grange because, in comparison, they had very low expectations of the cleanskin. Therefore, if the cleanskin was very enjoyable it would cause delight, due to the unexpected nature of the enjoyment – the surprise. Ultra-premium wines are often described by customers as being outstanding; even Grand Cru can perform badly in blind tastings. Even if the product did not provide the consumer with the anticipated hedonic benefits, the product has a ‘halo’ due to its reputation.

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The opportunity to enhance consumer delight can also be provided through adding experience to the product. For example, a wine that matches well with a food can greatly enhance the enjoyment of that wine. Also, positive interactions with the winery, such as a cellar door tasting, wine club promotion, special vintage release or food and winematched degustation are all opportunities to further enhance the customer’s experience of the wine. Product delight results in two things: customers are more likely to engage in word of mouth reports, and also more likely to repurchase (Chitturi et al. 2008). Indeed, it is only when a product delights that consumers would go so far as to make personal recommendations. This recommendation transfers an expectation of delight to the new customer who received the account of the positive experience. Therefore, it is now not only on the delighted customer who wants an even better experience next time he or she visits, but for the new consumer who expects the product not just to function or satisfy, but to delight them too. This can be a challenging proposition for a product such as wine, which is not experienced in the same way by all consumers, and the assessment of quality can be a subjective one. This ‘raising of the bar’ by transferring customers’ expectations of a product’s delight may end up hurting the company in the long run (Rust and Oliver 2000). It could be questioned, then, whether causing customer delight should be an aim and whether it is a sensible business model. If Rust and Oliver are to be believed, a business model that aspires to creating customer delight is unsustainable, because the bar will constantly be raised and there has to be a point where delight can no longer be achieved. This could also be termed the point of diminishing returns (Jones and Sasser 1995). Further, the company could actually be disadvantaged, because the lack of delight works so significantly against the company that the customer ends up more displeased than had it simply tried to satisfy him or her in the first place. In this sense, not only is there no net gain, but there is net loss. This is the position with Bordeaux – producers there have raised the bar so far that even when they have a poor harvest, they are under pressure to continue to promote the wine as ultra-premium. It is the same as getting a score of 100 points from leading US wine critic Robert Parker – once is just not good enough. Recent evidence has shown that this is no longer being blindly followed, hence, the Bordeaux de-listings in the US. Looking at Australian wine and customer loyalty in an international context, there is a perception in the global market that all Australian wine tastes the same, and this taste profile is led by familiarity with products such as Jacob’s Creek and Yellowtail, where upfront fruit is a positive. This is now perceived negatively by consumers, as it connotes a V2 7N 5

national sameness. In this sense, it is all about perceived quality and how discounted or affordable wine will erode the perceived quality of the premium category, for example, the practice of adding the region (denomination) to the label. Recognition of Australian wines can be built on affordable, well-made, quality wines. In terms of the utilitarian and hedonic benefits of these wines, why then would consumers pay more per bottle for the same variety and region for what is perceived to be the same level of satisfaction? It is apparent from the literature that the relationship between satisfaction and loyalty is not linear – that is, loyalty does not increase at a similar rate as satisfaction increases. High levels of satisfaction do not convert to high levels of customer loyalty. In fact, among customers who rate themselves as satisfied, more than half would switch to another brand (Chitturi et al. 2008). Very satisfied customers are many times more loyal (Jones and Sasser Jnr. 1995), and a slight drop in satisfaction leads to an unexpectedly large drop in loyalty in some commodity sectors. Conversely, it has been argued that consumers are too busy and don’t care enough to put that much thought into the wine that they purchase. McKenna (2012) argues that customers make their purchase decision within seconds and their consumption of the wine is often on the go. At least for a proportion of wine drinkers, brand, the quality and character of the wine, or seeking out a particular wine doesn’t even come into consideration (McKenna 2012). Repeat purchase behaviour is motivated by a range of factors, which may be mistaken for loyalty (Jarvis 1977). These might be that it is quicker or easier to choose a product that they are familiar with, rather than taking a risk on one with that they are not familiar. In this situation, it is not because the customer was particularly satisfied or delighted by the product that caused them to repurchase. In this way, repurchase rates should be treated conservatively in understanding customer satisfaction and loyalty (Jarvis 1977). How consumers justify their consumption and spending on wine provides a further analysis of the role of hedonic benefits and customer delight. It was found that customers are more likely to choose a hedonic good over a utilitarian alternative; however, there is some guilt or justification involved in why that hedonic good is worthwhile. When a hedonic and utilitarian good are presented side-by-side, consumers are likely to default to the utilitarian good, one can assume due to a sense of guilt or inability to justify the purchase. For wine products, this supports the practice of separating fine wine (i.e., hedonic products) from commercial wine (i.e., utilitarian products) – if purchasers see both wines side-by-side, they may not be able to justify the additional purchase of the hedonic product. Or, the consumer cannot W i n e & V i t i cultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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visualise the satisfaction that the hedonic good may provide, as the benefits are not clearly communicated to provide the necessary risk reduction. Despite this, loyal customers can be financially beneficial. Loyal customers may be willing to pay more for a particular product, as there is a perception that no other product can provide the same value (Chadhuri and Holbrook 2001). Furthermore, companies will vary in terms of their customer profiles, distribution channels and buying activity over time. This can be seen in the wine industry, where customers who join a wine club of a particular winery on the merit of its premium wine may shift over time to buy wine specials, bin ends or cleanskins from the same winery. This is complementary to the winery, as the consumer is confident with the quality of the wine overall, and he or she still feels comfortable with lower priced wine, even though it affects profitability. The implications for the wine industry on the role of satisfaction, delight and loyalty are relevant to the ways in which wine companies develop their product, market it, promote it and deliver it to both new and existing customers. Winemakers, marketers and designers need to work in collaboration to ensure their brand and products are able to meet these demands. Strategic business plans for wine companies should clearly identify the types of customers they are targetting, how their product will meet the utilitarian or hedonic attributes and expectations of their customers, and how this can be built over time. It is not wholly up to the product alone to be able to do this, but that it is complemented with the brand, values, experiences, and opportunities for connection that customers will respond to. While repurchase rates and loyalty should not be confused, there are clear benefits for strategies of increasing customer satisfaction with the product, price, brand and what positive experience it can offer the customer. References Chadhuri, A. and Holbrook, M. (2001) The chain of effects from brand trust and brand affect to brand performance: the role of brand loyalty, Journal of Marketing 65(2):81-93. Chitturi, R.; Raghunathan, R. and Mahajan, V. (2008) Delight by Design: the role of hedonic versus utilitarian benefits, Journal of Marketing 72:48-63. Jarvis, L. (1977) True vendor loyalty or simply repeat purchase behaviour, Industrial Marketing Management 6(1):9-14. Jones, T. and Sasser Jr., E. (1995) Why satisfied customers defect, Harvard Business Review 73(6). McKenna, G. (2012) Consumers are too busy to think about wine, Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review. Online edition, viewed on 23 May 2012 www.harpers.co.uk/news/news-headline/12223consumers-are-too-busy-to-think-about-wine.html Reinartz, W. and Kumar, V. (2002) The mismanagement of customer loyalty, Harvard Business Review, Online version viewed on 24 May 2012 https://www.iei.liu.se/program/ekprog/civilek_internt/ ar_3/722g34/forelasningsunderlag-och-material-2010/1.150189/ TheMismanagementofCustomerLoyalty.pdf Rust, R. and Oliver, R. (2000) Should we delight the customer?, WVJ Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 28(1):86-94.

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PROMOTIONS

The sales impact of regional and environmental in-store promotions By Dr Armando Corsi, Dr Simone Mueller Loose and Professor Larry Lockshin Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science, University of South Australia

Price promotions negatively impact on wine brands, and generate enormous pressure on retail pricing. Research was recently conducted at a key Australian wine retailer across 62 stores in three states. Although price promotions are difficult to replace, the researchers advise producers and retailers to introduce different types of campaigns to stimulate sales without the typical drawbacks of the promotions mentioned in this article.

P

rice discounts in the retail sector are the norm rather than an exception. Although figures vary between markets and retail outlets, much of the wine sold off-premise is sold under different forms of price promotion (e.g. percentage discount, buy-one-get-onefree, etc). However, the problem with price promotions is that they have a negative impact on brands: • do not usually expand category demand (Huang and Dawes 2007) • do not tend to have positive long-term effects (Huang and Dawes 2007) • erode reference prices (Kumar et al. 1998) • can hurt profits (Jedidi et al. 1999). However, it is hard to convince retailers to stop price promotions, thus generating enormous pressure on wine retail prices. The latest figures from Euromonitor International (2012) show that, despite the efforts to encourage the ‘premiumisation’ of the Australian wine industry, unit prices for wine in Australia declined by 1 per cent from 2011 to 2012. In addition, retailers also offer private labels to their clients, with Coles and Woolworths shelving more than 100 wines produced under their umbrella. This situation is not easy to handle for wine brands, especially given the fact that private label brands are forecast to increase by 50% compared with their current values (IBIS WORLD 2012). One way brands can get out of the corner of price promotions is by placing greater emphasis on regionality and environmental friendliness, so that consumers might choose wines for what they are and are able to convey, rather than their price. Australia has been promoting the concept of regionality for the last three years, with ‘regional heroes’ wines being a distinct category in the strategic marketing strategy by Wine Australia. Less emphasis has been put so far on wine environmental friendliness, but the recent launch of

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programs such as EntWine Australia, could lead towards an increase in awareness and appreciation of environmentally friendly wines. A third interesting thought is the possibility of conducting market tests independently of retailers, which might not always be willing to put their stores at researchers’ disposal. Online choice experiments can be used for this purpose, as they can predict what consumers would do in stores, thus making Australian wine producers better able to understand the performance of their products before a wine is actually launched in a market. This opportunity appears to be particularly interesting for foreign markets (e.g. China), where access to retailers is even more difficult than in Australia. Research carried out by the authors recently with an important Australian wine retailer across 62 stores located in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria shed light on these three considerations, showing that although price promotions are difficult to replace, producers and retailers might (or should) plan the introduction of different types of promotions, which are able to stimulate sales without the typical drawbacks of the promotions mentioned.

Presentation format

Environmental

Regional

Verbal

Visual

Figure 1. Shelf talkers included in the experiments. Environmental

Regional

Method and results The study comprised three main stages. First, the researchers worked in conjunction with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and Wine Australia to develop possible communication campaigns for the promotion of wine regionality and environmental friendliness. The process led to the selection of six logos (three per type of communication) and 26 slogans (13 per type), which were then evaluated by 822 respondents who were sociodemographically representative of the W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

Figure 2. Banners included in the experiments. population of Australian red wine drinkers (RoyMorgan 2006). The researchers analysed the results and selected the logo and the slogan consumers liked the most for each type of communication. In the second stage of the research, the authors combined the slogans and the logos to test whether combinations of these could stimulate sales in wine stores. The combinations were: V27N5


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Figure 3. In-store effect of promotional treatments on promoted wines, competitor wines and total number of bottles sold. Note: all values are standardised indexes relative to control condition = 100, also represented by the vertical line. Table 1. Experimental treatments design. Treatment

Message

1

Regional

Visual

Yes

5

2

Regional

Verbal

Yes

5

3

Regional

Visual

No

5

4

Regional

Verbal

No

5

5

Environmental

Visual

Yes

5

6

Environmental

Verbal

Yes

5

7

Environmental

Visual

No

5

8

Environmental

Verbal

No

5

9

Reference stores (no treatment)

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Shelf Talker Format In store banner

Stores

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• type of message: regional or environmental • shelf-talker presentation format: visual (logo + slogan) or verbal (slogan only) • banner at the front of store: present or absent. Thanks to the help of the retailer’s graphic designers, shelf talkers and banners were developed and used in both the in-store and online experiment (see Figure 1 and Figure 2). In order to test the main effects and possible interactions between the above mentioned factors, a full factorial experimental design was developed. This generated a total of eight possible treatments and the reference treatment (no shelf talker or banner) to be tested, as ▶ shown in Table 1.

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PROMOTIONS

Figure 5. Effect of promotional treatments on promoted wines, competitor wines and total number of bottles sold. Note: all values are standardised indexes relative to control condition = 100, also represented by vertical line.

Figure 4. Online wine shelf simulation with shelf talkers.

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When assigning stores to treatment conditions we aimed for minimal differences between the treatments, meaning that we tried to find the best possible balance in terms of store characteristics and the socio-demographic variables relative to the suburb in which the store was located. After this, the 40 stores in the eight treatment conditions were informed about the purpose of the experiment via a three-page brief. A team of four research assistants visited the 40 stores the weekend prior to the beginning of the experiment to ensure all the material was correctly displayed, and the weekend immediately following the end of the experiment to ensure the material was completely removed. During the entire duration of the experiment, the research assistants called the stores every week to establish if there were any problems and that everything was running smoothly. Twenty-five wines were selected for this experiment. Sixteen of them displayed a shelf talker, while the other nine did not, representing our control group. These wines come from the retailerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s core range of labels available across all stores in Australia, making the best possible balance between price points, regions of origin, grape varieties, sales index data, V27N5


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and environmental friendliness index. The results for promoted wines (see red bars in Figure 3, (see page 73) showed that the use of the promotional material (banners and shelf talkers) had a positive effect and increased sales of treated wines in treated stores compared with control stores for seven out of eight treatments. In particular, the use of regional shelf talkers without a banner generated the highest sales increase for treated wines in treated stores compared with control stores. Also, a positive promotion effect was recorded for the treated wines promoted with a verbal environmental shelf talker together with or without a banner, compared with the same wines located in control stores. The green bars represent sales of competitor (not promoted) wines. We would generally expect that their sales would be reduced relative to control wines, as consumers are likely to substitute them for promoted wines. In five out of the eight treatments this expectation is confirmed and control wine sales decreased in treated stores versus control stores (green bars less than 100%). The total effect (blue bar) looks at the impact of non-price promotions over promoted and non-promoted wines. A positive total effect can only be observed

if the promotion attracts sufficient new sales that do not come by substituting for not promoted wines. Overall, we can only observe five treatments, where overall more wines were sold in treatment stores compared with control stores. The largest effects were observed for the visual and verbal regional shelf talkers, and for verbal environmental shelf talkers. The verbal regional and environmental shelf talkers with banner only had small effects on total sales. The other three non-price promotion conditions resulted in overall negative sales. The third stage of the experiment consisted in an online experiment to test the effects of the same regional and environmental store banners and shelf talkers as used in the in-store experiment on consumers’ simulated purchases. The researchers recruited 198 red wine drinkers from an Australian online panel provider. Respondents were presented with a series of choice sets with nine bottles of red wine. Photo realistic images of the wines were shown as they would appear in store, and the in-store price was shown below each bottle. Whenever one of the 16 treatment wines appeared in a shelf of treatments 1-8, the appropriate shelf talker (regional or sustainable, verbal or visual)

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was shown below the wine. Respondents were asked to click through each of the nine wines on a shelf to indicate the most and least preferred wine, and the number of bottles they were willing to buy from each of the nine wines. The wine in question was enlarged at the right-hand side of the shelf (see Figure 4). An index with the reference condition (no promotion) as base value of 100 was created to compare the number of bottles respondents said they would buy across the nine treatment conditions. Accordingly, an index value of above 100 indicates a higher number of bottles respondents were willing to buy, while values below 100 signal lower purchase intent. Figure 5 shows the relative effect of the eight promotion conditions relative to the control condition. For almost all treatments, promoted wines sold more units than nonpromoted wines, indicating that promotions had an effect. But when comparing the purchase intent to the control condition without any promotion, then only three promotion conditions resulted in an absolute positive increase in purchase intent (regional shelf talkers with word and picture without banner, and environmental shelf talker without banner). The largest effect can be observed for the regional verbal shelf

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PROMOTIONS

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Figure 6. Correlation between online choice ratio and in-store results. talker (increase of purchase intent by +45%). Unexpectedly, the banners did not increase the effectiveness of shelf talkers. Promotions are only worthwhile if they lead to additional sales and do not (only) cannibalise the sales of non-promoted wines. The shelf simulation suggests that only the verbal regional shelf talker created sufficient sales to over-compensate the substitution effect away from nonpromoted wines (i.e., total sales effect +30%). Considering the high overall predictive validity of the online experiment for instore sales, the high agreement between the treatment effects measured in store (see Figure 3) and measured in the online experiment (Figure 5) is not surprising. As observed in store, regional verbal shelf talkers had the largest promotional effect (+45%) in the online experiment and also resulted in a clear increase in the total number of bottles sold (+30%) compared with the control condition. In parallel to the in-store experiment, we could not observe a positive effect of banners. Because respondent allocation in the online experiment was truly random, this finding strengthened the validity of the in-store observations. The conclusion from the online survey agrees with that of the in-store experiment, that wineries should focus on regional nonprice promotions to increase sales. The ability to predict in-store effects of non-price promotion was judged by the number of times each wine bottle was chosen as most and least preferred in a choice set. These choices are able to predict the average number of bottles bought in-store in each of the nine

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treatment conditions. The number of bottles bought in-store and the choice measure correlate at r=0.86 (p<0.001) and choices can explain 75% of the in-store promotion variance. Conclusions In-store analysis confirmed that the closer an advertising message is to a product, the higher the impact on consumers’ choices. In particular, our study found that regional messages had a larger effect compared with environmental messages. Secondly, verbal shelf talkers tended to have a slightly bigger effect than non-verbal ones, although visual logos were not prior known to consumers and are likely to become more effective if widely promoted. Third, we observed that front-of-store banners slightly increased the effect of shelf talkers on wine sales. Finally, when assessing the effect of non-price promotions, the negative substitution effect on non-promoted wines has to be taken into account. Only regional shelf talkers showed an overall positive sales effect where the positive promotion effect over-compensated the negative substitution effect for non-promoted wines. The largest impact of non-price promotion we observed in store (+52% of total sales, +84% sales promoted wines) was lower than comparable pricepromotion effects. Therefore, these effects will not cause retailers to completely change the strategic approach they have towards promotional activities. Given the very low cost associated with the design and printing of promotional W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

material similar to the one adopted in this research, it is suggested that producers or associations of producers discuss the opportunity to conduct non-price promotions during the year. This will not just have the benefit of increasing producers’ and retailers’ margins compared with selling a product at a discounted price, but will also help reduce the negative effects of price promotions. Finally, our research confirmed that online choice experiments are a powerful tool for marketing research. Results from choice experiments simulating wine choice in virtual shelves were strongly related to promotional effects observed in-store. Contrary to in-store tests, choice experiments require considerably less cost, time and retailer collaboration than instore tests. Future research should employ online choice experiments to test the effectiveness of promotion campaigns.

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References Euromonitor International (2012) Wine - Australia, available at: http://www.portal.euromonitor.com. ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au/PORTAL/ResultsList.aspx. IBISWorld (2012) The rise and rise of private labels, available at http://www.ibisworld.com.au/about/media/ pressrelease/release.aspx?id=292 Huang, R.S. and Dawes, J. (2007) Price Promotions: How much volume is discounted that you would sell anyway at the normal price?, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science, Corporate Report, 43. Jedidi, K.; Mela, C.F. and Gupta, S. (1999) Managing advertising and promotion for long-run profitability, Marketing Science 18(1):1-22. Kumar, V.; Hurley, M.; Karande, K. and Reinartz, J. (1998) The impact of internal and external reference prices on brand choice: The moderating role of contextual variables, Journal of Retailing 74(3):401-426. RoyMorgan (2006) Roy Morgan Single Source Alcoholic Beverages Australia, January – December, WVJ Melbourne. V27N5

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EXPORT MARKETS

Emerging Asian markets By Mark Rowley, Industry Analyst, Wine Australia

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hile China commands the most attention as a developing wine market, there are other countries in Asia where wine consumption is on the rise. To foster the profitable growth of the Australian wine category in these emerging wine markets, Wine Australia is developing marketing strategies based on evidential market data. This article will briefly examine some of the data, and how it informs the selection of target markets and the relevant market strategies. Wine Australia has examined the market and export data of nine emerging Asian markets (excluding Japan and China) to determine which markets to focus future activities on. The markets are: South Korea Singapore Malaysia Thailand Philippines India Taiwan Province Vietnam Indonesia. Figure 1 illustrates the nine destinations by three broad performance measures for wine sales – the growth rate in 2011 for market volumes (on the horizontal axis), the retail average price of sales in 2011 (on the vertical axis), and the volume of wine sold in 2011 (the size of the bubble). Note: retail prices include all taxes, margins and shipping costs. The closer the bubble is to the top right-hand corner of the chart, the stronger the performance. The chart illustrates that all

nine markets have a healthy retail average value and the volume of sales is growing. Singapore’s market is the fastest growing, while Indonesia records the highest average price. Finally, the figure illustrates that South Korea is the largest wine market of the focus countries (as identified by the largest circle). Analysis has revealed that under certain scenarios, just defending market share in South Korea has the potential to reap bigger dividends than investing in a growing, yet smaller market. Having this knowledge gives an indication of where effort should be placed to achieve the biggest reward for investment. There is also potential upside in these markets, with per capita wine consumption in all markets currently at relatively low rates of less than 0.5 litres per person (except Singapore, where per capita consumption was 1.7 litres of wine in 2011). Contributing to the relatively low wine consumption are factors including wealth levels in all but South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan; religion, particularly in India, Malaysia and Indonesia; and preference for alternative alcoholic beverages in all the focus countries. Limited distribution and government restrictions (particularly in India) also limit consumption throughout the region. The next step is to examine how the Australian wine category is placed in the markets. By total value of imports, Australia is ranked first in Malaysia, second in India, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, third in Taiwan, and sixth in South Korea. No data is available

for Indonesia and Vietnam. Figure 2 illustrates a mixed result for Australian wine exports. Volume growth to India and Vietnam is the strongest, but the average value for both is low and the volumes small. In contrast, Indonesia and South Korea have high average values, but the volumes are in decline. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan Province have healthy average values and volumes are growing. The Philippines has a relatively low average value and volumes declined. It is clear, however, that Australia is under-performing in South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Tax regimes throughout the region vary significantly and, hence, a higher average value in-market does not necessarily translate into better prices for wine exporters. Table 1 illustrates this by showing the effect of tax on the retail price of wine with all other factors held constant. India (depending on which state wine is exported to), Malaysia and Indonesia can be considered high taxing countries, while the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan are at the lower end of the tax spectrum. Sales channel breakdowns also need to be considered. Due to higher margins and the cost of doing business in the on-trade (i.e., high-end hotels and restaurants), a market with a higher share of wine sold through this channel will usually record a higher average price when all else is held constant. Wine Australia’s initiatives are constantly evolving to leverage opportunities across the Asia Pacific region.

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Accordingly, a series of new, strategic, user-pays activities will be released in the coming months, which focus on the priority markets of South Korea, India and Singapore. Wine Australia’s emerging markets manager Ali Lockwood stated, “Next to greater China and Japan, South Korea is the second largest market for imported wine in Asia”. “Highly sophisticated and the highest value market in Asia, Australia currently under-performs by volume and value, representing only 5% of total wine imports by volume. Even if the proposed Free Trade Agreement were to conclude alleviating or removing import duties - a substantial task still lies ahead to improve Australia’s perception, image and reputation as a valued wine-producing nation. “Conversely, Singapore is the fastestgrowing focus market and is also highly developed. Australian wine has a strong presence, accounting for close to a quarter of all imports, yet, imports from France are more than double by volume and five times the value. Wine Australia’s strategy in Singapore is to provide a deeper level of appreciation and understanding of Australian wine through promotion of our winemaking personalities, and to provide a higher level of education and engagement to local trade and media. “Finally, India is a challenging market that may provide market potential in the longer term, particularly if import duties were addressed. Wine Australia’s strategy in this market is to work with the local government to help reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers to entry, and to provide wineries with a deeper understanding of the opportunities and the barriers that exporters may encounter,” Lockwood said. For further information, contact ali.lockwood@wineaustralia.com WVJ

business & marketing

Figure 1. Market wine sales by volume (size of circle), volume growth and average price (2011). Source: Euromonitor

Figure 2. Australian wine exports by volume (size of circle), volume growth and average value (2011-12). Source: Wine Australia

Table 1. Indicative tax effect. Source: Wine Australia Export Market Guides Wine (CIF)

+ Import taxes

Sum

+ Distribution margin (20%)

Sum

+ Retail margin (30%)

Sum

+ Consumption tax

Retail (AUD/L)

India Maharashtra

$5.50

$28.88

$34.38

$8.59

$42.97

$18.42

$61.38

$12.28

$73.66

Malaysia

$5.50

$22.57

$28.07

$7.02

$35.08

$15.04

$50.12

$0.00

$50.12

Indonesia

$5.50

$11.39

$16.89

$4.22

$21.11

$9.05

$30.16

$0.00

$30.16

Vietnam

$5.50

$8.11

$13.61

$3.40

$17.02

$7.29

$24.31

$0.00

$24.31

Singapore

$5.50

$5.57

$11.07

$2.77

$13.84

$5.93

$19.77

$1.38

$21.15

Thailand

$5.50

$4.44

$9.94

$2.48

$12.42

$5.32

$17.74

$1.24

$18.98

Taiwan

$5.50

$4.04

$9.54

$2.38

$11.92

$5.11

$17.03

$1.19

$18.22

South Korea

$5.50

$3.88

$9.38

$2.34

$11.72

$5.02

$16.75

$0.00

$16.75

Philippines

$5.50

$0.98

$6.48

$1.62

$8.10

$3.47

$11.57

$1.39

$12.96

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Helm marks nearly 40 years of shaping the course of the Canberra District Ken Helm is never short of words when it comes to putting forward his views on growing grapes and making wine in the Canberra District. His approach to preaching the gospel of cool climate Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon may not always sit comfortably with his peers, but few can deny that the International Riesling Challenge he initiated some 13 years ago has been anything other than a roaring success. Now approaching his 67th birthday, Helm shows no signs of slowing down and even has plans to increase the cellar door offerings of Helm Wines. Journalist Mark Smith spoke with him on a recent visit to the region.

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t’s been almost 40 years since Canberra District wine pioneers Ken and Judith Helm first planted vines on their Nanima Creek vineyard, just outside Murrumbateman, on the site of the old, moribund Towal Public School. These days a Member of the Order of Australia and a tireless advocate on behalf of the Australian wine industry, Helm had come to the district to work as a biologist with the CSIRO. His skills and knowledge of viticulture – like most of his contemporaries in the early 1970s – were very limited indeed. Nevertheless, Helm could still claim some connections to grapegrowing. His great-great-grandfather, Johann Peter Frauenfelder, had been a ‘vine dresser,’ brought out from Germany’s Rhine Valley to help establish vineyards around Albury and Rutherglen in the 1850s. “You didn’t need to be a viticulturist to understand that this district had great potential as a premium wine-growing region,” Helm observes. “As in the best wine regions of Europe, I think that our continentality here is very important. This district is blessed with a very dry heat during summer, yet we have quite cool nights. That’s due to the easterly breeze we get here later in the day that comes from the coast. We call it ‘Bateman’s breath’. Summer days here can be hot – around, say, 34-35°C – but that breeze soon drops the temperature to around 15°C. Our vines love it. They like to have a sleep during the cool of the night, just like we do.” Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon were Helm’s varieties of choice. That’s hardly surprising, given that Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc were still several decades away from dominating vineyard plantings in Australia, and Shiraz back then was right on the cusp of being grubbed out of many historic South Australian sites. “Our original vines are being grown in alluvial soils on the outwash of an old creek,” Helm recalls. “The planting

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material came from Griffith nurseries. Back in 1973, nobody had a clue about clones. We’ve recently planted another hectare of Riesling near the winery. That came from the Riesling selection brought into Australia by James Busby in 1832. It eventually made its way to Spring Vale, in South Australia, and was planted at Pewsey Vale. Yalumba kindly supplied us with the planting material. All the other clones planted here prior to that would’ve been the various Geisenheim clones or unidentified ones. “I’m not really focussed on clonal variations. So long as it is genuinely Riesling, I’m happy. I’m more interested in the terroir of a site and the kind of vineyard management being undertaken. For example, I don’t like to see sunburn on any of our Riesling bunches because I don’t like the kerosene character it gives to the wines. I see that as a fault. I like our wines clean and fresh.” Helm produced his first commercial vintage of Riesling in 1977. “When we first came to this little isolated valley, I encouraged all my neighbours to grow grapes for us,” Helm says. “Today, three neighbours grow 60 per cent of our fruit requirements under our direction. We chose the sites for them on their places. One grower in particular is a perfectionist. That is Al Lustenburger. His vines are planted on volcanic ironstone. Al is an ex-executive chef, trained in Lucerne, in Switzerland. He grows his grapes like the Swiss made watches. He is the only person that grows for our premium Riesling, a label that we began in 2005. We only take fruit from ‘The Valley’ – our neighbours’ vineyards – if it reaches a genuine benchmark of quality.” Helm clearly remembers clarion calls in the district for all new vineyards there to be set up to accommodate machine harvesting, rather than hand picking. “Our original plantings were made on T-trellises with twin cordons,” he says. “You can still see it on some of our old W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

vines. Nowadays, we’ve moved to VSP and all fruit is hand harvested. “Our Riesling vineyard is being pruned to a system of two-bud spurs. Spur pruning encourages the production of controlled yields, which is ideal for premium Riesling. We set our spurs out as evenly spaced as we can, and we build the spur out over time so that it’s 100200mm away from the arm. That way, the fruit is relatively clear of the arm and can hang free with good airflow around it. I think if you can avoid damage to your berries and bunches during the season, you’ve got a very good chance of avoiding botrytis. We like to see a bit of a greenish tinge to our fruit when we’re picking it.” Helm admits that small wine company preferences for hand harvesting aren’t V27N5


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the only points of view that have changed here during the past four decades. “So far as Helm Wines is concerned, we now plant our vines here east-west, rather than north-south,” he explains. “We do that in order to reduce heat stress and sunburn. We allow the northern canopy to hang down and shade the fruit and the ground in order to keep things cool. We lift the southern side of the canopy to improve airflow and spray, penetration. Spraying is done only on a needs basis, dependent upon weather conditions. We get excellent disease control with only four or five sprays in a normal season. “Our new plantings of Riesling are also much closer together, about 2000 vines per hectare. There’s 2.5m between the rows and 1.5m between vines. In the past, we used to have the fruiting wire up high – at around 1.2m to get away from the frost – but we’re now shifting it down to 850mm or 900mm, so that we’ve got a bigger canopy to provide shading. I really don’t like my vines to undergo any kind of stress that results from having too little water or having too much crop.” Helm believes that despite the wide variability in annual rainfall that’s been experienced in the district in recent decades, water availability has been a constant threat to successful viticulture around Murrumbateman. He says he V2 7N 5

was the first person to introduce drip irrigation into the district’s vineyards back in 1975. “In those days, I was working in research with CSIRO,” he notes. “We had an apple orchard where it was being used, so I decided I’d do the same here. We used to make our own drippers and plan the irrigation system ourselves, because there was nowhere you could buy them. We also, introduced something called ‘sod culture,’ and removed clean cultivating under the vines in order to retain soil moisture. ‘Sod culture’ meant using herbicide and mulching under vines and slashing grass between the rows. These days, we also use sheep for vineyard weed control and sucker removal during early spring.” Now approaching his 67th birthday, Helm shows no signs of slowing down the hitherto frenetic pace of his activities. While the fortunes of Shiraz in Australia may have risen significantly during the past 20 years, the man from Murrumbateman still continues to preach the hot gospel of cool climate Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Australia’s unique but classic blend, Cabernet Shiraz. His views on wine, viticulture, tax and tourism may not always sit comfortably with his peers, but few can deny that Helm’s commitment to the International W i n e & V i t i cultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

Riesling Challenge – an initiative he helped establish some 13 years ago – has been anything other than remarkable. Far from quietly retiring from the wine scene, Helm still has plans to increase the cellar door offerings of his burgeoning wine company. “Just up the road, one of our neighbours has about 3 acres of Gewurztraminer that was planted in 1980,” he says. “It’s had a varied history of management. The current owner, Rick Mumberson, is doing a wonderful job. He’s re-trellised the vines and I’m really looking forward to producing some smart Gewurztraminer in the future. I also want to develop Cabernet Sauvignon as an iconic wine of the Canberra District. It’s already half way there. “I’m also looking forward to doing some more winemaking with my daughter Stephanie, and then eventually handing things over to her and her husband Ben, who is our vineyard manager. She has a great palate. She made her first wine when she was nine years old, and then won a gold medal and trophy at the Cool Climate Wine Show when she was only 15. Our other two children are also involved in this rapidly developing business: Matthew as a chef, and Natalie in public relations and marketing. There are still some pretty good times ahead for Helm Wines.” WVJ www.wine biz. com . au

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Lerida Estate’s vines and winery on the lower slopes of Lake George Range. Photo: Lerida Estate.

Canberra District matures beyond Riesling and Shiraz With the region gearing up for the 2012 Canberra International Riesling Challenge in October, journalist Mark Smith travelled to the Canberra District where he learned that although Riesling and Shiraz continue to be its regional red and white heroes, alternative varieties such as Gruner Veltliner and Tempranillo have also revealed they can shine.

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ustralia is one of the world’s oldest continents, with generally impoverished soils, scarce water, and salinity providing an ever-increasing threat to agriculture and ground water supplies. In its unique way, the Canberra District offers a microcosm of much of what is happening in viticulture right across the country: profound faith in traditional management systems and varieties like Riesling and Shiraz; increased regard for more sustainable production practices such as biodynamics; and carefully planned introductions of a whole swag of industry newcomers in the form of European and Mediterranean grapes like Graciano, Gruner Veltliner, Sangiovese and Tempranillo. Yes, like many longer established wine regions around Australia, the district is being subjected to threats to productivity and viability of its vineyard plantings, particularly with regard to its relative continentality and low rainfall. But, for all that, throughout its 170 or so vineyards there is genuine optimism here about the future. It’s not hard to understand why. Almost overnight it seems, the Australian Capital Territory and surrounding New South Wales vineyards have collectively become some of the hottest property on the national and international wine scene. Outstanding wine show accomplishments, and lavish praise from commentators and consumers alike, are now voiced on a regular basis. In truth, however, the Canberra District’s road to success has been a longer,

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slightly less exciting journey. There were vineyards on the landscapes here long before Federation and Burley-Griffin’s grand plans for the nation’s centre of government. Within six years of James Busby planting vines in the Hunter Valley in 1830, Dr Benjamin Clayton established his Baltinglass vineyard, near Gunning. Just a few years later, the same vigneron would be celebrated as the district’s first award winner, after successfully exhibiting one of his wines in France. By 1858, there were 18 acres of vines within the neighbouring County of King (around Yass), and two acres in the County of Murray, where Murrumbateman can be found today. The 19th century’s high watermark appears to have been reached by 1874, when records show there were 105 acres under vine. Vineyards at Narrabundah in the 1920s might have added to the pattern of viticulture, but the industry was clearly in decline by then. Sadly, practically all evidence of activity had faded away by the time Dr Edgar Riek AO (Lake George Wines) and Dr John Kirk (Clonakilla) came to plant vines in what would become the Canberra District in 1971. Today, the nation’s capital is a hub for a vibrant winegrowing and winemaking community, with three key sub-regions engaged in viticulture. These are Murrumbateman/Yass; Hall and the ACT; and Bungendore/Lake George. Branding used by the Canberra District’s 50 or so winemakers refers to ‘Liquid Geography’. That surely describes the tremendous diversity of terroir that underpins the region’s uniqueness. W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

Chris, Sue and David Carpenter, of Lark Hill, which was established in 1978 - one of the highest plantings in the Canberra District. Sue and David’s son Chris joined the winemaking team in 2002. Photo: Lark Hill Vineyards range in altitude from 450-860m, and enjoy aspects that span strictly north or north-east – to catch the sun on higher vineyards – to west or even south on warmer sites. Soils vary just as dramatically, from schists and shales to deep red granitic ones, while pH measures can fall anywhere on the scale from neutral to moderately acidic. Remarkably, many of the 16 varieties that Clayton planted 180 years ago have since re-emerged to become mainstays of the Canberra District’s modern day industry. These include Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. V27N5


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Clonakilla’s senior winemaker and chief executive Tim Kirk.

Graeme Shaw, of Shaw Vineyard Estate. Photo: Shaw Vineyard Estate

Nick O’Leary, of Nick O’Leary Wines.

According to 2010 survey figures held by Wine Australia, in excess of 27 varieties were then planted in its 500 hectares of vineyards. Clearly, correctly matching site and grape will remain a goal and, indeed, a matter of contention for some years to come. Among the white wine selections in use, Riesling is the regional hero and varietal flagship of choice for many makers, not only for long-term pioneers such as Brindabella Hills, Clonakilla, Helm Wines and Lark Hill, but also for talented newcomers like Capital Wines, Eden Road, and Nick O’Leary Wines. “I think Shiraz is the king and Riesling is the queen here,” O’Leary observes. “I have six different Riesling growers, mostly in Murrumbateman, and I just love our wines for their beautiful floral aromas and tight, lime palates. They really hold their acidity. We’re also seeing some producers here making nicely-weighted wines with a little bit of residual sugar to cover over that acidity, so it’s a fantastic variety to work with as well.” But, could there be another white star in Canberra’s constellation beyond that of Riesling? That’s a question for the district that’s already being successfully addressed by the handful of producers that have added Gruner Veltliner, Marsanne and Rousanne to their vineyards. Among those groundbreakers are the Carpenter family at Lark Hill Biodynamic Winery, in Bungendore. Their work with Gruner Veltliner has not only produced excellent wine quality, their planting has been done in a manner that challenges conventional Australian viticulture. Rather than establishing a single trunk and arranging vines into conventional VSP trellising via a pair of cordons, the Carpenters have trained their Gruner Veltliner to grow from a fan-shaped structure of four to five upright canes, formed from just above ground level. Sue Carpenter, co-owner of Lark Hill says, “Yes, it is a very unusual set up, and

it is highly labour intensive, but it works really well on our site.” Brindabella Hills, Clonakilla, Collector Wines, Eden Road and Ravensworth head a star-studded field of producers that lend weight to O’Leary’s claim that Shiraz is King of Canberra. “The dry continental climate here at Murrumbateman has a significant diurnal range in March – as much as 20°C on some occasions – meaning that along with Riesling, Shiraz really loves it here,” Clonakilla’s senior winemaker and chief executive Tim Kirk explains. “My theory about Cabernet is that it really prefers a maritime climate, where there’s a lower diurnal range and higher humidity. I know there are many producers here that will disagree with me. Bordeaux, of course, is maritime, while the Rhone is quite continental. “Shiraz can be quite vigorous here, so our new plantings are now on rootstocks that have a devigorating effect on vines. Our wines are typically spicy, savoury, mediumbodied styles that can work very well with food. We’re very fortunate here in being able to offer consumers something that complements the wonderful, rich, fullbodied styles of the warm climate regions of South Australia. It’s very important to our industry nationally and internationally that we have this choice and diversity.” Indeed, in addition to Liquid Geography, ‘choice and diversity’ might well become a catchcry for the district’s red wine producers. Canberra’s elegant, worldclass Shiraz Viognier blends – which until recently provided the sole focal point for consumers more interested in varieties that are Mediterranean rather than mainstream – are now being joined in the marketplace by single varietal wines or blends crafted from grapes such as Barbera, Graciano, Sangiovese and Tempranillo. Pinot Noir, meanwhile, continues to play a key role in cooler, mostly elevated vineyards around Bungendore, Lake George and Wamboin. Leading producers – who may choose to make sparkling or

rosé styles, as well as dry table wines from the variety – frequently capture its characteristic red/black cherry and plum aromas and flavours. Lake George Winery, Lark Hill Biodynamic Winery, Lerida Estate, Maipenrai, and Mount Majura Vineyard are all capable of making age-worthy, very high quality table wines in cool, favourable seasons. That’s not to say Canberra producers should give up entirely on Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, adds Graeme Shaw, noting that these red varieties accounted for 30 per cent of the industry’s 2010 planted area. “Our best wines here at Shaw Vineyard Estate are Cabernet-based, with Riesling and Shiraz not far behind,” he says. Now owner of one of the district’s largest vineyards, he was drawn into the industry at Murrumbateman when Hardys reigned supreme in the Southern New South Wales zone. That was back in ‘the noughties’ decade. Even today, the spirit of Hardys’ influence remains significant at Shaw Vineyard Estate, and is reflected in its 3m row spacings, mechanised systems of pruning and harvesting, and hefty financial commitment to a Pellenc Selectiv’ Process harvester with an onboard sorting system. “It’s all about trying to improve the quality of fruit we deliver to the bins and cut down on the use of resources,” Shaw insists. “Along with enabling us to operate our business more efficiently, our Pellenc has removed a couple of chase tractors from the harvesting process in the vineyard, allowing us to reduce fuel costs and be gentler on our soils by reducing compaction. Having said that, we still believe the best tools a vineyard manager can have in this part of the world are a spade and a good set of eyes.” Those are hardly the words of a man simply dabbling in a self-indulgent hobby, the critical observation that has been made about the industry here for far too long by those unfamiliar with it. The Canberra District may be small, but it has certainly WVJ grown up.

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Tempranillo shows promise in Canberra’s warmer sites By Mark Smith

Legendary stand-up comedian and Vaudevillian W.C. Fields once observed that actors should never work with children and animals. Almost a century on, today’s wine marketers’ advice to growers often has a familiar to ring to it: never plant anything consumers can’t easily pronounce or abbreviate. Sound marketing advice that may seem, it’s not a view that has currency among producers in southern New South Wales’ Canberra District. Many there would say that fashion has dictated vineyard planting decisions for far too long in Australia, and that it has often stood in the way of objective assessments of site and climate. Most believe the district’s small-scale industry is still in its infancy, and should continue to explore all potential viticultural avenues in order to set itself up for the long haul as a region that is quality-focussed, yet discretely different from many other parts of the country. Tempranillo and Sangiovese head the district’s list of favoured alternative grape varieties. While each one accounts for around 6 per cent of plantings across the industry according to 2010 statistics, it is thoroughbred Tempranillo, some producers say, that occupies the inside running rail. It’s not hard to understand why. Tempranillo on its home turf in Spain – whether it be in the warmer central regions of the country like La Mancha and Rioja, or the higher altitude sites of Ribera Del Duero – is a variety that is well suited to vineyards that have warm to hot climates and high diurnal temperature variations. That does not make it an exact fit for the entire Canberra District. Indeed, cool elevated vineyard sites like those around Bungendore would really struggle to ripen the variety. There is where the region’s Liquid Geography branding gains legitimacy. It is a place with very diverse terroir. Limited experience with Tempranillo in Australia reveals that it is a strong and vigorous performer in the vineyard, thus, providing plenty of challenges for sites with deep, rich, fertile soils. The variety’s prolific foliage, which usually consists of

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Tempranillo on a Smart Dyson trellis at Mount Majura Vineyard, where it has become the winery’s flagship variety since it was first planted in 2000. Photo: Mount Majura. leaves the size of dinner plates, clearly distinguishes it from more common cultivars like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. From a grower’s perspective, Tempranillo’s generally moderate yields of large-berried bunches with thick skins suggest it is a relatively unfriendly host to botrytis. Conversely, its late budbreak and extremely vigorous habits during spring appears to make the variety an ideal candidate for downy and powdery mildew. Fortunately, within the Canberra District, this latter pair of vices is mitigated by the region’s propensity for warm, dry starts to its growing seasons. Mount Majura Vineyard winemaker Frank van de Loo is universally regarded as the region’s leading producer of Tempranillo wines. A clever blender of Tempranillo, Shiraz and Graciano, he has a smart wine called TSG that has also been well received. Van de Loo has become a keen advocate for Tempranillo since he first planted it on the company’s 9ha site in 2000. Located just 11km from the Canberra CBD, Mount Majura Vineyard lies between 660-700m above sea level. Its elevated slopes – together with their W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

south-easterly through to north-easterly aspects – offer growing conditions that are cool but nevertheless capable of ripening mid-late season varieties like Shiraz. Van de Loo says the mountain’s volcanic origins are reflected in his site’s red clay loams, which are rich in iron and contain limestone, as well as volcanic rhyolite. As in the surrounding subregions, drip irrigation here is essential in order to eliminate vine stress. More importantly, however, van de Loo adds that the vineyard’s significant clay and limestone deposits underscore the fact that irrigation use here is restricted, and is largely used as a tool to maximise wine quality rather than vine yields. Indeed, vine access to water is deliberately withheld after flowering to restrict his Tempranillo’s natural disposition for producing large berries. Future plans for it include dry-growing a small trial selection of vines to see how the variety performs. “Canberra has the best climate match to Ribera Del Duero of any place in Australia,” van de Loo says. “Our rationale for planting it (Tempranillo) – as well as a little bit of Graciano – is V27N5


Mount Majura winemaker Frank van de Loo, who believes Canberra has possibly the best climate match to Ribera Del Duero than any place in Australia.

Roger Harris, of Brindabella Hills, believes Tempranillo has a bright future in the Canberra District given the regions’ warm climate and strong continentality and says if he had his time over again, he would plant more of the variety.

Eden Road’s Nick Spencer, who concedes that although varieties like Tempranillo do grow well in Canberra, he feels it doesn’t grow as well as or produce as good a wine as Shiraz. Photo: Eden Road

that we are looking for vines that are capable of producing wines that combine depth of character with expression of site or terroir. We actually regard Tempranillo as our flagship variety.” Selection of planting material for the site has not been without its trials. Some of today’s Tempranillo now occupies space that was formerly planted to Pinot Noir. Early attempts with the Spanish variety on its own-roots were compromised by leafroll virus type 5, but that has since been rectified with certified material sourced from South Australian Vine Improvement Inc. Another viticultural issue that has needed some adaptation at Mount Majura is the characteristically brittle nature of Tempranillo’s wood. Vines were originally intended to be cane pruned, but that was quickly abandoned in favour of pruning to two-bud spurs. Laying down cordons still remains a concern, and is best done early in the season while they are green and have some degree of flexibility. Van de Loo’s introduction to winemaking, in part, came by means of cellar work at Brindabella Hills, one of the district’s pioneering vineyards, owned by Dr Roger Harris and his wife Faye, and planted during the 1980s. Van de Loo and Harris shared a passion for traditional European wine styles, with the latter continuing to expand his 35-year career in winemaking and viticultural horizons via a contract winemaking arrangement

with neighbours Allan and Christine Pankhurst. Located at Hall, 25km north west of the Canberra CBD, the Harris and Pankhurst families occupy vineyards that are among the district’s warmest. Harris now has several vintages of Tempranillo winemaking under his belt, thanks to a small investment in the variety made by the Pankhursts during ‘the noughties’ decade. “I think it looks very promising,” Harris admits. “The Pankhurst's 2009 vintage was their first and it was a beautiful, quite supple wine made from fruit grown on vines grafted over from Cabernet Sauvignon. Tempranillo’s really only been available fairly recently, having received a fair bit of a push from Dr Richard Smart. The Pankhursts – like us – have also planted a bit of Sangiovese, a variety that probably gets less press than other varieties in the district. I think that it is well suited to the district too, particularly the Brunello clone which we have in our vineyard. It outperformed Shiraz and Cabernet in the difficult 2012 vintage in terms of yield, quality and disease resistance. “I must admit if I had my time again, I would try to get some Tempranillo growing here. I think it could have a bright future, given the district’s warm climate and its strong continentality. We’re at the wrong end of the age spectrum to be doing that now.”

Somewhat fortuitously, Eden Road’s Nick Spencer is located at the right end of the age spectrum. His Murrumbateman-based operation moved onto Doonkuna Estate – one of the oldest vineyards in the district – in 2011. The 30ha property has vines dating back to 1973. All but two hectares of them have been earmarked for replanting due to ageing vineyard infrastructure and inappropriate trellising. That will see the removal of Tempranillo already being grown there, together with a whole range of other more commonplace plantings like Chardonnay and Semillon. The talented maker of Melbourne’s 2009 Jimmy Watson Memorial trophy believes his new home base comprises blocks with lots of varieties his company simply should not be interested in retaining. “Quite frankly, we’re not here to produce mediocre wines,” he says. “We’re planning to focus on varieties that do really well in this district, like Shiraz and Riesling. Eventually, we will play around with a few others we think might have some potential. “There certainly is a lot of interest in alternative varieties like Tempranillo and Sangiovese nowadays, and there’s no doubt those two do grow well in Canberra. The thing they don’t grow as well is Shiraz, which I think produces WVJ quite wonderful wines here.”

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Water a growth-limiting factor for Canberra By Mark Smith

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ore than a decade before he moved to Victoria’s Yarra Valley to establish his high-profile Coldstream Hills venture, renowned author and wine critic James Halliday made his first foray into cool climate viticulture by planting a small vineyard at Gidleigh, the Bungendore property of Will Rutledge, in south-east NSW. Located 30 kilometres east of Canberra and with views of Lake George to the north, the region then – as now – held plenty of promise for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay pioneers. Its best sites appear well suited to Burgundy’s classic varieties, and feature free-draining, elevated slopes 700-850m metres above sea level, all significantly cooler and less vigorous than sites found elsewhere in the region. What the groundbreaking but abortive Gidleigh project failed to take into account, however, was the issue of water availability. Bungendore, along with much of the remaining Canberra District to the north and the west, is frequently subjected to very dry spring and summer months. Indeed, drought here is an everpresent threat to grapegrowing. “Australia is the most variable continent on Earth when it comes to rainfall, and the south-east of the country is the most variable region of Australia, with Canberra and its neighbouring subregions being the most variable of all,” observes Lerida Estate’s Jim Lumbers. Like Halliday, Lumbers and his wife Anne Caine headed east from Canberra to plant mostly Pinot Noir in their Lake George terroir. That was back in 1996. “Our long-term average rainfall here is about 640mm, but we can go from well over one metre of rain in some years to around 180-200mm in others,” he continues. “We experienced the worst drought on record in 2003 when the lake dried up completely. Then, we experienced another drought in 2006 that beat the big dry of 2003. I’m convinced that climate change is a fact of life, and we feel it more acutely here than just about anywhere else in the world. We’ve gone from experiencing horrendous droughts to amazing downpours, all within a single decade, and the pattern is likely to continue. “That, in a way, explains the range of our vineyard plantings. Growing Shiraz,

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Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Viognier might look a bit odd when you consider our focus is 4.3ha of Pinot Noir, but what you’re really seeing is the balanced portfolio we’ve set up to manage the risks of working here.” For producers located elsewhere in the district, water variability is little different from that experienced at Lerida Estate. Long Rail Gully’s Richard Parker made the construction of a vast dam on his Murrumbateman property an essential precursor to the planting of his 30ha site. “It was the first thing that went in,” he says. “Having been involved in agriculture

word meant ‘bad water’, highlighting the problems associated with a collection of salty springs found around Bungendore. Having worked his family’s challenging Lake George escarpment site since 1978, Lark Hill Biodynamic Winery co-owner and former ANU physicist Dr David Carpenter understands the risks associated with salinity. “The use of bore water is commonplace in this district because of our low rainfall, and if you ask people what’s it like, they generally say it’s pretty good, that you can drink it,” he says. “Sure, it’s plentiful and you can drink it, but send it off for analysis and you

Australia is the most variable continent on Earth when it comes to rainfall, and the south-east of the country is the most variable region of Australia, with Canberra and its neighbouring sub-regions being the most variable of all. - Jim Lumbers, Lerida Estate for all of my working life, I know that issues surrounding water are always a problem in Australia.” Yarrh Wines co-owner Neil McGregor, who manages 6ha of vines at Murrumbateman – the district’s largest sub-region – takes the Parker view one step further. He believes water availability will become a growth-limiting factor for future development of the industry. “You need plenty of water to start up and sustain a young vineyard. We have quite a wide diversity of geology here, and while we have generally good groundwater for vines, I know there are some areas of agricultural land here that would be unsuitable for viticulture due to water quality; places where people might have lived for generations with bores across their properties that are quite potable and, yet, have others that come from aquifers they wouldn’t even feed to their cattle.” The issue of salinity around Canberra was identified as far back as the 1820s. Local aboriginals then referred to the Lake George region as ‘Werriwaa’. The W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

generally find that salinity is quite a problem. Most landholders do not analyse their water. That’s not unique to the Canberra District. It’s nationwide. If you start putting poor quality bore water onto a vineyard in significant quantities, you are going to accumulate salt in your soils. “We have drip irrigation all through our Lark Hill vineyard, but we hardly use it. Our bore water conductivity is around 1.4 decisiemen per metre, indicating we’ve got a serious salinity problem. The water is also loaded with iron and calcium. To preserve soil fertility, we have to get away from reliance on water of that quality. On our site, that’s meant letting vines survive on the region’s naturally low rainfall. We’ve tolerated the low vigour by pruning for smaller crops. Two tonnes to the acre is a wonderful thing! “We also manage biodynamically, so we do a lot of deep mulching, which really reduces evaporation and vine transpiration. Our shelterbelts reveal beneficial effects too, as well as helping to protect the site from strong winds.” WVJ V27N5


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W I N ES

Angove Family Winemakers 2006 Vineyard Select Clare Valley Riesling The multi award-winning Angove Family Winemakers 2006 Vineyard Select Clare Valley Riesling ensured the winery’s trophy cabinet was all the more encumbered following the 2012 International Wine Challenge, where it received four top gongs, including the International Riesling Trophy. LOCATION OF VINEYARD

THE WINEMAKING PROCESS

Two vineyards in Watervale, a sub-region of the Clare Valley, in South Australia.

The vineyards are machine harvested when the grapes meet the taste required. The fruit is transported to the winery during the night, where the grapes are destemmed and crushed into a pneumatic press and the juice chilled to 5°C. Pressings are kept separate and are not used in this wine. Typical analysis of the juice on harvest is 12°Baumé, 3.0pH and 7g/L TA. The juice is racked clear to <50 NTU, and the juice lees are added back to the free run. The juice is tasted to determine the need for any fining. For the 2006 Riesling, we added a light milk fining. Fermentation was inoculated with QA23, a neutral cleanfermenting yeast. Fermentation is controlled to continue at a reduction of 0.5Be per 24 hours until completely dry, when the wine is centrifuged clean and SO2 is added. The wine then is cold stabilised at -3°C for six days. Bentonite is added to bring about heat stability when the clear wine is filtered into a final tank, from which the bottling takes place. Dissolved CO2 from the fermentation is retained at around 1g/L, and the wine is bottled as soon after vintage as possible. The wine features tropical fruit and lime and lemon characters, combined with floral undertones and crisp acidity. The final wine analysis was 12.5% v/v, 6.7g/L TA and 2.1g/L RS.

THE VINEYARD SITE The 2006 Vineyard Select Riesling is a product of the two vineyards mentioned above, which are approximately 450 metres above sea level. One vineyard is to the north-east of the sub-district facing east, and has loam soils over slate. The other is to the south-west of the sub-district, on a westerly-facing ridge of red dirt over limestone. The Clare Valley has a mean January temperature of 21.9°C, with an average of 195 frost-free days per annum. Annual rainfall is 634mm, with 199mm falling between October and March. During the growing season, the region has around 8.8 sunshine hours per day. Evening breezes from Spencer Gulf cool the vineyards down quickly, thus, preserving acidity and mineral flavours in the wine. THE VINES Our Clare Valley Riesling vines are 15-20 years old, on their own-roots. The clone is unknown. There are 1500 vines per hectare, with approximately one vine every 1.8 metres. Rows are spaced at 2.5m, but are variable in the older vineyard. Trellising consists of one fruiting wire, and the vines are pruned to provide small crops of highly flavoured grapes. VINE MANAGEMENT The vines are drip irrigated, with supplementary irrigation applied during summer, usually only irrigating two to three times a year overall. The Aussie Sprawl canopy allows dappled shade. We mulch in winter, and use minimal applications of herbicide. Minimal sprays are applied during the growing season, following the guidelines set out in the AWRI ‘dogbook’. The cordon is pruned to around 24 buds per vine. AVERAGE YIELD OF VINES 8 tonnes per hectare. V2 7N 5

PRICE OF WINE RRP$25/bottle QUANTITIES MADE 2000 dozen. WHERE SOLD Australia, US and Japan. RECENT AWARDS The 2006 Vineyard Select Clare Valley Riesling has won around 20 awards, including four trophies at the 2012 International Wine Challenge: the Clare Valley Riesling Trophy, the Australian Riesling Trophy, the Australian White Trophy, WVJ and the International Riesling Trophy. W i n e & V i t i cultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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Soldiering on with Savagnin The Wine & Viticulture Journal recently held its first tasting of wines made from the little-known French grape Savagnin – the variety that Australian grapegrowers planted in earnest believing it to be Albarino before DNA testing proved otherwise in 2009. The results of the tasting, which can be found on page 92, showed that despite the mix-up, Savagnin still makes a mighty fine drink, and the producers behind the three examples that the tasting panel ranked in the top three reveal their experiences with the fruit in the vineyard and winery. Sharon Nitschke, Office Manager Alex Russell, Winemaker Cirami Estate (Riverland Vine Improvement Committee Inc.) Riverland, South Australia Wine: Cirami Estate 2012 Savagnin (RRP$15.00) Background Richard Cirami was a pioneering researcher in vine clonal selection and variety assessment. Involved with the establishment of the Riverland Vine Improvement Committee (RVIC) in the early 1970s, he was awarded a medal of the order of Australia in 2003 for his achievements in the wine industry. The 50ha planted on Cirami Estate ensures RVIC is able to supply vine stock of new and interesting varieties throughout Australia. Richard’s legacy continues with the Cirami Estate wine range. More than 50 varieties on this site afford the RVIC a rare and coveted opportunity to select the very best varieties to produce quality wines with distinct and unique characteristics each vintage. Viticulture Riverland Vine Improvement Committee Incorporated (RVIC) is a nonprofit organisation located at Monash, in the heart of the Riverland, and supplies vine material to the Australian wine industry. The vineyard is planted on old cerealgrowing land with gently undulating slopes typical of a mallee landscape, approximately 45m above sea level. The annual mean maximum temperature for the region is 23.4°C, while the annual mean minimum is 10.2°C. The mean annual rainfall for the area is 261mm. While the topsoil type varies considerably, the majority of the plantings are in moderately shallow topsoil between 30-60cm. Half a hectare was planted on its own roots in 2002 with rows three metres apart and vines spaced at 1.5m intervals.

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Cirami Estate winemaker Alex Russell (left) with assistants Michael Sewell (centre) and Craig Gower. These are all trained to a low cordon wire 80cm high. A vertical shoot positioning trellis system is used. The vines are hand pruned to two-bud spurs which assists in reducing yield to around 16-17 tonnes per hectare. Vines are irrigated at a rate of approximately 6ML per hectare, subject to seasonal conditions. The Savagnin vines do benefit from additional water during long heat spells. However, irrigation may be reduced on patches intended for onsite winemaking to intensify the fruit flavours. On occasion, if a crop level is seen to be too high, then crop thinning may be done to improve fruit quality. Savagnin has the tendency to overcrop when young (up to 29 tonnes/ha), reducing vigour and exposing some bunches to the elements and delaying ripening. Generally, the fruit set aside for winemaking is picked by hand. Timing is critical and this is possibly the biggest challenge: to achieve maximum potential from these new varieties. Nothing is picked until the flavour is optimal. Fruit can look quite green even at harvest at 13oBaumé, despite the flavours being ripe. The fruit is tasted daily and the seeds chewed to ascertain physiological ripeness and flavour. An analysis from the 2012 harvest, W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

which was picked on 21 February: Baumé 13.5 pH 3.28 TA 6.53 Winemaking Cirami Estate grows, crushes, ferments, filters and bottles everything onsite. It is a small facility and resources are limited. To ensure effective cold settlement, the handpicked fruit is placed in the coolroom overnight to bring fruit temperature down to 2°C. Crushing is done the following day and, then, a high rate of enzyme is added along with 50mg/L SO2 and bentonite to facilitate settling. This aids in reducing the amount of bentonite added later. It has been found that Savagnin requires among the highest rates of bentonite, next to Gewurztraminer. When racking the cold settled juice, up to 5% of juice is retained for later sweetening – to this juice an additional 2g/L of tartaric acid and 100mg/L of sulfur dioxide is added. These juices never ferment. The Savagnin was fermented with a neutral yeast and, then, bentonite and 50mg/L of ascorbic acid was added as well as 75mg/L of sulfur dioxide when V27N5


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In March this year, the Riverland Vine Improvement Committee began bottling its wines under the label Cirami Estate, named after the pioneering researcher in vine clonal selection and variety assessment Richard Cirami. Although only currently sold via the RVIC’s website and office near Monash, it is hoped to have distribution outlets established in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney within six months. dry. At this point, the tank goes back into the 2°C-coolroom and is allowed time to settle before being filtered and fine-tuned for bottling. Winemaker Alex Russell wanted to produce a 2012 Savagnin that appealed to judges and consumers, alike. During fruit tastings, he looked at Riesling and Gewurztraminer as varieties offering complementary characters. The 2012 Savagnin is, in fact, a blend of 95% Savagnin, 2.5% Riesling and 2.5% Gewurztraminer. Savagnin on its own is a wine of fantastic structure and spice. The Riesling and Gewurztraminer add fruit and complexity. On a sweetening trial, just 2% juice was added back to the Savagnin to bring into balance fruit, alcohol, sugar and acid. The resulting wine is rich, warming, fruity and well structured, with a healthy dose of carbon dioxide. The RVIC relies on storage of clean juice to sweeten wines postfermentation. It believes the result is better than adding concentrate and it is also a cheaper alternative. Marketing Savagnin is only one of many wines produced onsite by the RVIC. The 2012 vintage saw Cirami Estate produce Montepulciano, Lagrein, Vermentino, Fiano, Graciano, Saperavi and a Sangiovese rosé. As a very young producer, the marketing has been a difficult challenge. Currently, the wines are sold only online and onsite. However, there are plans in progress to have V2 7N 5

distribution outlets in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in the next six months. Originally, the wine was produced under the name of Riverland Vine Improvement Committee. Feedback from wine professionals and consumers suggested that this label was less than appealing. Hence, Cirami Estate was born in March 2012. With awareness of alternative varieties growing within the marketplace, the RVIC is hopeful that consumers will embrace the experience of enjoying these wines more frequently. Brendan Freeman, Winemaker Darren Smith, Vineyard Manager Tahbilk Goulburn Valley, Victoria Wine: Tahbilk 2011 Dalfarras Savinno (RRP$15.95) Viticulture The Dalfarras Savinno is sourced from the Savagnin vineyard at Tahbilk Estate, 7km from Nagambie, in the Goulburn Valley, in Central Victoria. The vineyards are grouped along the banks of the Goulburn River, and an anabranch of it flows through the property. The Nagambie district is a vine disease district due to phylloxera. The mean January temperature is probably slightly less than the 21.2°C measured at nearby Mangalore airport due to the influence of the water masses (billabongs and lagoons) which are fed by the river and anabranch. The annual average rainfall for the area is W i n e & V i t i cultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

approximately 600mm, the wettest months being June, July and August, and the driest December, January and February. The site is at approximately 134m elevation, on gently undulating river flats. Vine material for the Savagnin planting was purchased from the Australian Vine Improvement Association under the belief that it was Albarino prior to the misidentification being discovered. The block was planted in 2008 on Ruggeri rootstocks. The vines are spaced 2.1m apart, while the rows are 3.0m apart and are trained on a standard VSP trellis. They are spur pruned and harvested by machine at night. A plentiful supply of water from the Goulburn River and generally dry summers enable manipulation of soil moisture with drip irrigation and microprocessor control. The vineyard is planted to a mid-row of ryegrass, while straw mulch will be applied under vine from next year. In this region, it is essential to have a good spray program, with the main disease pressure from botrytis, powdery mildew or downy mildew. Typical phenological dates for the Savagnin: Budburst: late September -early October Flowering: mid-November Set: late November -early December Veraison: early February Harvest: mid March-early April. The harvest date is based on a combination of flavour, where we look for ripe tropical fruit characters, and Baumé. A typical analysis of the Savagnin at harvest: Baumé 11–12 TA 5-6g/L pH 3.3-3.4 Yield to date has been a little under 10 tonnes per hectare. Winemaking Winemaking is very straight forward reductive processing, cool fermentation and early bottling. Standard additions at the crusher comprise 120g/t PMS, 90g/t ascorbic acid, equivalent 2-3g/L tartaric acid and 20mL/t pectolytic enzyme. The fruit is crushed, then transferred via must cooler at 5-10ºC to membrane presses. Typical extraction rates are 600L/t free run, and 100L/t pressings (up to 1.2 bar) which are kept separate. The juice is cold settled at 0-3ºC for five to seven days, then the tops are racked without filtration, and the bottoms are RDV filtered. Acid is adjusted to 6-7g/L, 200mg/L DAP is added and then the ferment proceeds at 0.5-1ºBe per day at 10-12ºC with either QA23 or EC1118. www.wine biz. com . au

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Tahbilk’s vineyard manager Darren Smith, left, and winemaker Brendan Freeman. The ferment is stopped at 2-3g/L residual sugar. MLF or oak maturation is not part of the style, although the pressings are sometimes fermented in old oak to add a textural element. The wine is cold stabilised by the contact process, blended and bottled early. Marketing In 1991, Tahbilk husband and wife team of winemaker Alister Purbrick and artist Rosa Dalfarra decided to combine their talents to produce a range of alternative varietal wines showcased under Rosa’s boldest art works. Now, two decades on, their children, Matt and Hayley, have joined the Dalfarras story: Matt bringing his graphic design skills to feature Rosa’s works on the label, and Hayley to the selection of the Dalfarras blends. A new generation philosophy focussing on the fun side of life! You may be thinking to yourself, ‘what on earth is a Savinno?’ Hayley and Matt made up the word, their thought being to keep things interesting and quirky. Savinno is Savignin - easier to say and it rolls off the tongue quite nicely. The wine is sold through the Tahbilk wine club and cellar door. Joanne Irvine Winemaker Irvine wines Eden Valley, South Australia Wine: Irvine 2010 Springhill Savagnin (RRP$18.00) Viticulture The Irvine Savagnin fruit was sourced from one of our dedicated growers located approximately 2km from the Irvine vineyard in Eden Valley. The site has an elevation of around 380m above

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sea level and is on an easterly-facing slope. The vineyard was planted onto rootstocks in 2004 when the vines sourced were believed to be Albarino. The vines were trellised to a single wire and planted approximately 1.5m apart, with rows 3.5m apart, and spur pruned. Over the six vintages that Irvine has been making Savagnin, it has revealed itself to be a good variety for growing under a wide range of Australian climatic conditions. For example, in 2007, while yields of most varieties in the Barossa were down by up to 30%, Savagnin appeared to have only a minimal reduction in tonnage, thus demonstrating the possibility that it is a good fruit-setting variety under poor conditions. Tonnage has usually been consistent, between 6-7 tonnes per hectare every year. Furthermore, during the 30-40oC heatwaves of the 2008 vintage, Savagnin had very little shrivelled and sunburnt fruit and required minimal vine irrigation compared with other white varieties in the region, such as Chardonnay and Riesling, thus indicating the vines and fruit may be more heat and drought tolerant. During the rains of vintage 2011, the fruit appeared to have less susceptibility to botrytis than other white varieties and even some red varieties within the same vineyard. Winemaking Grapes were machine harvested at approximately 12oBaumé in the early morning, and 100g/t PMS added to the bins in the vineyard, which were then transported to the winery where they were destemmed and crushed immediately. The juice was pressed with press cuts determined and pressings added W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

back to the free run. The juice was then acid adjusted to around 3.2pH, fined with either Gelcol or PVPP, and allowed to cold settle for 48 hours before being racked off skins. One per cent solids was added back to the free run juice. Here, again, the phenolics were checked with fining trials. The juice was allowed to warm to 12oC in stainless steel tanks before innoculation with QA23 yeast. The ferment was maintained between 12-16oC with approximate decreases of 1°Be per day until completion. The ferment was usually stopped based on flavour profile at around 4g/L residual sugar. The wine was then racked off yeast lees, fining trialled, heat and cold stabilised and bottled within six to eight weeks of harvesting the fruit. Fruit for the 2010 Savagnin was harvested on 6 March and bottled on 12 April 2010. The wine has 12.4% v/v alcohol, 6.13 total acid, 3.09pH and 4.3g/L residual sugar. Marketing Savagnin has had an unfortunate identity crisis. Brought into Australia as Albarino and sold as cuttings of Albarino, grapegrowers and winemakers were excited to see this variety performing well in Australia. Unfortunately, our Albarino was later DNA-identified as Savagnin Blanc, a so-called variety of “lesser quality than Albarino” and, so, has received some negative publicity. Due to this, a lot of Savagnin plantings have been removed, including those of our growers, and the marketing of the wine has had to be repositioned to try to regain public acceptance. When the variety was known as Albarino, the wine was supported by the consumer and retail trade and was commanding $24 per bottle in the Irvine portfolio. Now it is known as Savagnin, the retail market has not been as supportive of the variety and the price has had to be repositioned to $18 per bottle to encourage more consumers to buy and taste the wine. This negativity, in my opinion, is totally unjustified. The Irvine Savagnin has enticing complexity of exotic tropical fruits, a hint of ginger and texture and crispness that lingers on the palate when young. With bottle age, this wine appears to continue to develop, taking on aromas and flavours similar to refined aged Rieslings. This can only be another positive for the variety. In 2008, Irvine Savagnin, then labelled as Albarino, won a trophy for best white wine alternative variety in the Barossa wine show. The wine was very well accepted by the industry and public, alike. This wine today is exactly the same content; the only difference is the name. So, what is in a name? V27N5


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T A S t I NG N O T E S

Savagnin – a great white for Australia? The Wine & Viticulture Journal recently assembled what was likely the largest tasting of Australian Savagnins. Until DNA testing proved otherwise in 2009, Australia’s Savagnin plantings were thought to be the Spanish variety Albarino. Since little-known Savagnin was exposed as an imposter, much of the variety has been grubbed. But, for those producers who have persisted with Savagnin, our tasting showed that it can produce a tasty dry white table wine that presents Australia with an opportunity to market a product that we can call our own.

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t doesn’t need a lot of water, stands up in hot weather, masks the presence of mould better than other white varieties, doesn’t take much winemaking to create a good drink, and hardly anyone in the world is currently producing it in a dry style, presenting Australia with a unique marketing opportunity. But, its obscurity, not to mention its similarity in name with Sauvignon Blanc, stand in the way of it achieving acceptance by wine writers and consumers, alike. The Waite campus of The University of Adelaide recently hosted a tasting of 33 Australian Savagnins – 32 straight varietals and a Chardonnay-blend - for the Wine & Viticulture Journal. The blind tasting sparked spirited discussion about the potential of Savagnin in this country between the panellists: Joanne Irvine, of Wine Wise Consultancy; Matthew Turnbull, brand and business manager for Tscharke, in the Barossa Valley; and Master of Wine and wine industry consultant Phil Reedman. Joanne Irvine has been making Savagnin for Eden Valley-based Irvine Wines for the past six years and said considering the number of wines in the line-up, she was surprised at the number of well-made examples tasted. “A couple were a bit phenolic but there were no really bad faults,” she noted. “There were far more faults in Pinot Gris when it first came on the market than in these Savagnins, which just goes to show that it’s not a complicated variety to get right.” Irvine believes Savagnin will be “the next big variety for Australia” if it can attract sufficient promotion. “I love the variety – I think it’s got so much potential,” Irvine said. “The variety is really well suited to Australian conditions. It is heat tolerant, which was proven in 2008; when all the Rieslings and Chardonnays fell apart, Savagnin stayed up.” Irvine also commented on Savagnin’s ability to mask mould characters. “I’ve seen Riesling, Pinot Gris and Savagnin made with the same amount of mould present and the Pinot Gris and Riesling just fell over; it was not showing up as much in the Savagnin.” Noting that some of the wines in the

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Tasting panellists (from left) Matthew Turnbull, brand and business manager, Tscharke; Joanne Irvine, Wine Wise; and wine industry consultant and Master of Wine Phil Reedman. tasting showed oak influence, Irvine cautioned it was important to use good oak with Savagnin. “If you’re going to throw a very aromatic variety, like Savagnin, into oak you have to be very careful about what oak you use. It can be second-use oak, but make sure it’s good oak. A couple in this line-up have clearly been put into very average oak. “Because Savagnin fruit is so delicate, it only needs a short hit of oak – a couple of months. Some of these have been left in oak too long and it’s dried the fruit out.” Irvine also noted that acid had overpowered the fruit in some of the younger Savagnins. “This variety is so delicate that you don’t want to overpower it with acid. I don’t add any acid to mine until it’s gone through cold settling, unless the pH is very high. If it tastes a bit soapy then, I’ll throw in some acid.” Phil Reedman said the tasting had demonstrated the ageing potential of Savagnin. “A couple of the older ones had a lovely waxy, almost Hunter Semillon character, which is beautiful. That does suggest that W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

the variety is capable of beneficial bottle maturation.” Reedman said Savagnin had the potential to become Australia’s signature grape, as Chile had done with Carmenere once it was found to have been mistaken for Merlot. “When Chile found out that most of its Merlot was, in fact, Carmenere, the Chileans celebrated that they had discovered something unique that they could call their own. When Australia’s Albarino was found out to be Savagnin, Australia threw its skirt over its head and lamented that it wasn’t Albarino, instead of acknowledging that we’ve got a rare resource that’s otherwise confined to a small part of France, which we have the opportunity to make our own. We haven’t yet done that, but there is still the potential to do so.” Of the 2012 Savagnins in the tasting, the panel agreed that the Cirami Estate, by the Riverland Vine Improvement Committee, stood out the most, while the equivalent in the 2011 bracket was the Tahbilk Dalfarras Savinno. Of the older vintages from 2010 to 2007, the Irvine 2010 Springhill Savagnin was rated best. V27N5


T A S t I NG N O T E S

Cirami Estate 2012 Savagnin

Tahbilk 2011 Dalfarras Savinno (sic)

Irvine 2010 Springhill Savagnin

Riverland, South Australia 13.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$15.00/bottle

Nagambie Lakes, Victoria 12.0% v/v RRP$14.95/bottle

Barossa Valley, South Australia 11.4% v/v – screwcap RRP$20.00/bottle

Best of vintage 2012: Pale straw in colour with very pale green notes on the rim. Lovely enticing nose of orange blossom, guava, rose petals, apricot kernel, lemon/lime and sherbet; “estery, but in a nice way,” said one taster. Grippy, tangy palate with high acid, and riper fruit tones of peach and melon; nice texture and balance between residual sugar and acidity, giving the wine some length.

Best of vintage 2011: Pale to mid-straw in colour. Complex and spicy bouquet with interesting florals of rose petal, potpourri, peach blossom and lavender and lifted, ripe tropical fruit notes, including pineapple. Rich, mouthfilling, well-structured palate with good texture, great balance and depth of flavour featuring floral flavours and Gewurztraminer-like tones. Lovely minerality with a long finish.

Best of vintages 2010-2007: Pale to mid-straw in colour. Waxy nose in the style of Semillon; attractive and inviting with stone fruits, including peach, and lemon/lime. Medium-bodied palate that is floral and spicy; elegant, yet with intensity and focus of flavour. Nice citrus notes with a mineral backbone. Good integration of flavours. Good balance of residual sugar and acidity, fruit length and structure.

Coolangatta Estate 2012 Savagnin

Gemtree 2012 Moonstone Savagnin

Shoalhaven, New South Wales 12.7% v/v – screwcap RRP$25.00/bottle

McLaren Vale, South Australia 13.5% v/v – screwcap RRP$16.00/bottle

Boynton’s Feathertop Winery 2012 Savagnin

Pale lemon/straw in colour. Nose is reminiscent of a spice box, with sweet spices dominant. Also features oyster shell, rose petal, orange blossom and tropicals with lemon undertones. Lemon freshness on the palate which has good structure and weight and lovely phenolics. One taster said that although the wine had an attractive nose, the increased acidity in the mouth made it unbalanced.

Pale straw in colour. Slightly sweaty on the nose which features guava, melon, peach and orange blossom notes. Palate features bubblegum flavours, is short and lacks intensity of fruit. One taster thought the wine was slightly phenolic.

Drakesbrook Wines 2012 Wild Bird Savagnin

Rutherglen Estate 2012 Savagnin

Peel, Western Australia 12.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$24.99/bottle Pale straw in colour with a green hue. Nose suggests some oak influence and features honeydew melon and apple and lemon rind undertones. Oak seems to have overpowered the fruit on the palate. Nice lemon undertones but lacks flavour intensity. V2 7N 5

Rutherglen, Victoria 13.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$16.95/bottle Very pale straw in appearance. Nose has a lovely balance of guava, lemon, honeydew melon and rockmelon; some orange blossom also evident. Crisp, fresh, bright palate which is slightly oily on the back palate and slightly hot. Elegant mouthfeel with integrated lemon/lime. Lacks texture and mid-palate weight but a pleasant drink.

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Alpine Valleys, Victoria 12.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$20.00/bottle Water white to pale straw in colour. Bouquet of orange blossom, white peach, honeysuckle, rockmelon and white pepper . Mouth-watering acid in the mouth, which is bright, crisp and balanced. Lacks some fruit intensity and length.

Zonte’s Footstep 2012 Love Symbol Savagnin Langhorne Creek, South Australia 13.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$16.50/bottle Pale straw in colour with green notes. Slightly dull nose at first but it opened up to display some florals, some pineapple and banana. Clean, fresh palate with some banana notes but it is short and out of balance.

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Quarry Hill 2012 North Block Dry White

Tscharke 2012 Project Naturalis (barrel sample)

Chalice Bridge Estate 2012 Savagnin (tank sample)

Canberra District 11.5% v/v - screwcap RRP$18.00/bottle

Barossa Valley, South Australia 12.5% v/v – cork RRP$40.00/bottle

Margaret River, Western Australia 13.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$25.00/bottle

Very pale straw in colour. Subtle, spicy and exotic aroma with attractive green pea and cut grass characters, as well as some peach and nectarine tones. Intense lemon pith on the nose which is rich and full and features gingery fruit, grapefruit and mango. Phenolics work well. Long and stylish.

Developed yellow gold in colour. Attractive oak influence on the nose which is exotic and spicy and features a whiff of vanilla. Very ripe fruit on the palate with custard apple, buttery cream and canned caramel fruit. Slightly bitter on the back palate where it loses flavour and intensity. Hot finish.

Pale lemon to mid-straw colour. Nose dull at first but opened up to display white peach and apricot blossom with a lift of lemon/lime and an edge of creamy apple custard and spice. Palate is “bursting with pithy acidity”, said one taster, and features white peach flowers. Nice balance between acidity and residual sugar. Very good length.

Centennial Vineyards 2011 Woodside Savagnin

Angullong 2011 The Pretender Savagnin

Irvine 2011 Springhill Savagnin

Southern Highlands, New South Wales 12.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$19.99/bottle

Central Ranges, New South Wales 13.8% v/v - screwcap RRP$22.00/bottle

Pale straw in colour showing some evolution. Apple custard, pepper, honeydew melon and almond kernel on the nose which shows oak influence. Lovely, biscuity texture in the mouth. Nicely balanced wine between acidity and flavour. Falls a little short and lacks intensity and complexity.

Mid-straw in colour. Appealing aroma featuring honeysuckle, white peach, apricot blossom and lovely floral notes. A gingery palate that is well balanced but simple and straightforward. Characters of canned fruit evident.

Barossa Valley, South Australia 11.2% v/v - screwcap RRP$18.00/bottle Pale to mid-straw in colour; some development evident. Attractive, spicy, complex aroma of passionfruit, lemon/ lime and honeydew melon. Full-bodied palate with some complexity and length; has a lovely balance of acidity and residual sugar. Finish has a citrus focus.

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T A S t I NG N O T E S

Gemtree 2011 Moonstone Savagnin McLaren Vale, South Australia 13.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$16.00/bottle Very pale gold in colour. Slightly sweaty, subdued nose with melon and some peach blossom notes. Spice and fruit on the palate but lacks focus and flavour intensity.

Hollick 2011 Savagnin Coonawarra, South Australia 11.5% v/v – screwcap RRP$23.50/bottle Very pale in colour with green tinges. Heady, exotic, spicy bouquet featuring apricot blossom, honeydew melon, rose petal and musk. Medium-bodied palate that is crisp and refreshing. Fruit is ripe and spicy. Long finish. A nice wine.

Zonte’s Footstep 2011 Love Symbol SAVAGNIN

Drakesbrook Wines 2011 Wild Bird SavAgnin (sic)

Langhorne Creek, South Australia 13.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$16.00/bottle

Peel, Western Australia 13.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$29.99/bottle

Pale colour with green glints. Lovely nose with passionfruit, apricot blossom, paw paw, peach, nectarine and florals. Good mouthfeel and texture with tropical fruits, some nice phenolics on the side palate, and a hint of oak. Balanced acidity and flavour.

Mid-straw colour. Lemon and lime, apricot and peach blossom, on the nose which has good varietal expression; enticing and very attractive. Nicely balanced in the mouth with good texture but flavours fall short.

Crittenden Estate 2011 Los Hermanos Tribute Savagnin

Quarry Hill 2011 North Block Dry White

Mornington Peninsula, Victoria 13.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$30.00/bottle

Canberra District 11.5% v/v – screwcap RRP$18.00/bottle

Pale straw in colour with some obvious development. Attractive nose which is slightly closed at first, then reveals apricot blossom, peaches and cream and vanilla oak. Palate has apricot and lemon undertones, as well as peach and melon characters. Good length and balance between acidity and residual sugar. A nice wine but a bit hot.

Very pale straw in colour. Distinctive lime character on the nose. Crisp, fresh and clean palate but it is undistinguished. One taster wondered if the fruit had been picked too early and, therefore, the flavours had not finished developing.

Savagnin tasting V2 7N 5

W i n e & V i t icultur e Jo ur n a l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER

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T A S t I NG N O T E S

Tscharke 2011 Girl Talk Savagnin

Glandore Estate 2011 Savagnin

Barossa Valley, South Australia 12.5% v/v – screwcap RRP$21.00/bottle

Hunter Valley, New South Wales 12.8% v/v – screwcap RRP$25.00/bottle

Pale to mid-straw in colour. Musty fruit on the nose which carries through to the palate. Light but wellstructured palate with good acid/fruit balance.

Pale straw in colour. Spicy, elegant aroma featuring lime, rockmelon, apricot blossom, potpourri, rose petal and sherbet. Rich, mouthfilling palate which is off-dry and lacks definition. Slightly hot.

Glandore Estate 2010 Savagnin

Golding 2010 La Francesca Savagnin

Dunn’s Creek Estate 2010 Babbling Brook Savagnin

Adelaide Hills, South Australia 13.5% v/v – screwcap RRP$28.00/bottle

Mornington Peninsula, Victoria 14.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$23.00/bottle

Pale to mid-straw in colour. Fresh, vibrant, attractive aromas on the nose featuring almond blossom and soft citrus and pear undertones. Palate is full-bodied and weighty with well-balanced acid and length of flavour. Stonefruit and spicy tones evident. Some hotness on the palate. Fresh, crisp finish. “Quite a straightforward wine but inviting and clean,” said one taster.

Very pale straw in colour with grey overtones. Apricot, apple, honeydew melon and guava on the nose which shows slight VA. Mouthfilling and waxy palate which has substantial texture. Ginger spice character evident along with very ripe pineapple. Well-balanced acid with quite good length.

Hunter Valley, New South Wales 13.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$25.00/bottle Light gold in colour. Enticing aroma featuring beautiful orange blossom, honeydew melon, apricot, peach, pear skin and ginger spice. Fruit shows through on the palate along with some spices. Good palate length. Acidity and residual sugar in balance. Lacks some focus and length but a nice, well-made wine.

Tamar Ridge 2010 Research Series Savagnin Tasmania 12.5% v/v – screwcap RRP$25.00/bottle Very pale straw in colour – almost water white. Enticing nose with lime, apricot blossom and oyster shell; one taster thought lanolin and vanilla notes dominated. Fresh citrus in the mouth, including lemon and lime.

Savagnin tasting 96

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T A S t I NG N O T E S

Bago Vineyards 2009 Savagnin Hastings, New South Wales 13.3% v/v – screwcap RRP$20.00/bottle Distinct developed gold colour. Honeyed nose shows development. Palate is sweet and sour and has high acidity which overpowers the fruit flavours.

Tscharke 2008 Girl Talk Albarino (sic) Barossa Valley, South Australia 13.0% v/v – screwcap RRP$25.00/bottle Light gold in colour, showing some development. Very ripe tropicals and lovely honeysuckle on the nose along with confected pineapple, apricot and some underlying waxiness; very enticing. Textured palate which has lovely structure and balance for an older style. Good length, complexity, and freshness. Reminiscent of an aged Semillon. Mouthwatering.

Bago Vineyards 2007 Savagnin

Irvine 2007 Albarino (sic)

Hastings, New South Wales 11.9% v/v – screwcap RRP$20.00/bottle

Barossa Valley, South Australia 11.5% v/v – screwcap RRP$25.00/bottle

Mid-straw in colour with glints of green. Aromas of apricot kernel, flint, stone and biscuit meal. Broad, full-bodied, balanced palate with sweet and sour, honey, lemon pith and biscuit notes. “A lovely drink,” said one taster.

Mid-straw in colour. Lemon and lime rind on the nose along with rose petal and apricot. A very fine, elegant and poised palate with Semillon-like pithy grapefruit notes. A nicely balanced wine that shows fruit complexity and integrated acid. Good length.

Irvine 2008 Albarino (sic) Barossa Valley, South Australia 12/2% v/v - screwcap RRP$25.00/bottle Bright mid-straw in colour. Apricot, lime, pineapple and pear skin characters on the nose along with some mustiness. Rich, lush palate with some good textural elements. Balanced acidity and fruit flavours. A clean and well-balanced wine. “Lovely extraction of skin tannins,” one taster said.

Stockman’s Ridge 2012 Rider Savagnin (40%) Chardonnay (60%) Central Ranges, New South Wales 13.5% v/v – screwcap RPP$23.00/bottle Bright pale straw in colour. Gun flint, menthol and green pea on the nose. Two tasters thought the nose was reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc. Palate features grapefruit, passionfruit and guava characters but lacks flavour depth. Nicely balanced acidity with a tart, racy finish; medium length.

Savagnin tasting V2 7N 5

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W i n e & V i t i c ult ur e Jo ur na l SEPTEMBER/O C TO BER 2012

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Wine & Viticulture Journal  

September/October 2012 issue

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