Friday, February 22, 2013

Vintage 2013

Things are happening – fast.  In Victoria yields are down, dramatically in many cases.  Berries and bunches are small, and the combination of over two months without range, and the generally ideal ripening conditions, means that the ripening process has broken into a full gallop.  In 2008 all varieties seemed to ripen at the same time, but with an above-average crop.  This year points to the same compression of vintage across all varieties, but at least the lower than forecast yields will give wineries some chance of taking in the grapes when they are ripe (not over-ripe).

Across in South Australia, all of the regions of the Limestone Coast have had a great growing season, and with the adequate water supply that all those regions enjoy, yields will be close to normal.  North of Adelaide, the Barossa Valley is confronting a very small vintage, again early, but with some of the berries and bunches so small that they are unlikely to be picked.  Much the same is true of the Clare Valley, Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills.  Tasmania marches on in its own way, and, to a degree, so does Western Australia.

On the face of it, the total vintage this year will be significantly down.  How much depends entirely on the amount of fruit from the Riverina and Riverland areas.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Australia and Burgundy

The most recent monthly newsletter from BurgundyDirect should bring solace to the heart of Wine Australia and Australian wine producers. It reports on a survey conducted in France for the Bourgogne Wine Board, showing that Bourgogne wines have an image of prestige, authenticity, gastronomy, quality, pleasure and terroir. That’s the good news for Burgundy. The bad news (in the words of the press release) is:
By comparison, the individual reputation of each Bourgogne appellation is weak.

The complexity of the Bourgogne mosaic is not just a myth. On average, 33% of consumers surveyed now one Bourgogne appellation. Amongst the most well known (3 consumers out of 5), are Chablis, Pommard, Macon, Nuits-St-Georges, Bourgogne Aligote and Cote de Beaune. However, their spontaneous reputation is far below that of Bourgogne as a whole.

The “Bourgogne” brand well and truly exists. It seems fundamental to make the appellations benefit from its positive image, given that the region is the main criterion used when buying wine.’

So it’s not just Australia that needs to reinforce the image of its best wines, and get away from the cheap and cheerful anodyne, no matter how successful that has been in the past.