Friday, December 12, 2014

Crittenden Wine Centre

Garry Crittenden, patriarch of Crittenden Estate, and an early mover in innovative marketing and energetic sales efforts in the UK in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, is looking on with approval at son Rollo and daughter Zoe as they release details of the new Crittenden Wine Centre. - JH

The press release explains the concept thus:

The Crittenden Wine Centre will give visitors to the Crittenden Estate family farm an insightful and fulfilling experience, encouraging them to taste and learn at their own pace in seated, relaxed environment.

Winemaker Rollo Crittenden said the Centre represented “a new model for wine tourism, designed to optimise the enjoyment and learning experience of an Australian winery. The Crittenden Wine Centre will be a place where people can come to learn as much as they desire about our wines and the local region at a pace of their choosing”, Rollo added.

Upon arrival, visitors will be welcomed and given an introduction to Crittenden Estate before being offered a place to sit and asked which varietals they are most interested in tasting. Visitors will then be presented with tasting notes in either written form or via interactive presentations on electronic tablet devices, and experienced and qualified wine educators will be on hand to guide them through the wines.

In addition, the Crittenden Wine Centre will be a place where visitors can learn about the many attributes of the Mornington Peninsula wine region as well as the grape growing and winemaking process.

Crittenden Estate is well known for the diversity of wine styles it produces, which makes it an ideal venue for a tasting centre of this kind, with up to 26 wines available for tasting.

Crittenden Estate produces wines from the Mornington Peninsula’s signature varieties of pinot noir and chardonnay, as well as Italian varieties under the Pinocchio label, and Spanish varieties under the Los Hermanos label. Visitors to the Crittenden Wine Centre will have the opportunity to taste and learn about not just what the Peninsula does best, but about the range of fascinating varietals from northern Italy and Spain.

Garry, who like the Cheshire cat, is slowly but inexorably fading from the scene, commented, “the time is right to create a tasting facility such as this on the Peninsula, as it is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading wine tourism destinations".

"We anticipate visitors will leave our new home feeling relaxed, engaged, fulfilled and well-informed about our wines. It’s a more personal approach to wine tasting, and I think people are really going to enjoy it”, Garry added.

This seated, self-paced model of wine education and appreciation is virtually non-existent in Australia. The Crittenden Wine Centre aims to broaden and enrich the cellar door experience in this country.

Zoe Crittenden, who looks after the companies’ marketing, pointed out the natural synergy that will exist between the Crittenden Wine Centre and the newly refurbished Lakeside Villas accommodation suites on the estate, together with the ‘Stillwater at Crittenden’ restaurant. "We hope to provide guests with the complete package in one location”, Zoe added.

Crittenden Estate first planted in 1982 and is now home to some of the oldest vines on the Mornington Peninsula. Its Garry Crittenden is one of the pioneers of the region’s wine industry. He has been acknowledged for his work in championing Italian varietals in Australia, for which he was inducted as a “Legend” by the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Committee in 2012.

Son Rollo Crittenden is also awarded in the wine industry, being named “Young Gun of Wine” in 2010.

With Rollo at the winemaking helm and Zoe leading the marketing charge, the second generation at Crittenden Estate is poised to herald a new era in wine tourism.

For more information contact:
Crittenden Estate , 25 Harrisons Road, Dromana Ph: (03) 5981 <

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nature’s Cruel Tricks

Sad news comes from yet another region to join those previously hit by frost and hail. The Canberra District has had a fairly challenging few years (with the notable exception of 2013) to deal with, and now a hail storm has destroyed more than one-third of the vineyards of some of the Lake George district wineries.

Hail storm wreaks havoc on Lake George wineries

Wet weather and hail has hit the region's vineyards causing havoc for some wineries across the region but ideal conditions for others.
A hail storm destroyed more than one third of the crops at Lerida Estate vineyard near Lake George, and continued wet weather could ruin the rest.
Lerida Estate owner Jim Lumbers said about two feet of hail dumped down on his prized grapes on Saturday night, causing irreversible damage.
"It's extremely unwelcome," he said.

"I reckon possibly a 30 per cent crop loss and a few shredded leaves and broken canes."
Mr Lumbers said he has inspected the damage and some areas of the vineyard looked like they were still intact.
However, exposed bunches of grapes were bruised and split, and he said these will die and fall off the vine.
"Grapes and vines are resilient things so we can only watch and wait. Maybe the berries left will grow a bit bigger, but at the moment it's not a pretty sight," Mr Lumbers said.
Mount Majura Vineyard winemaker Frank van de Loo said rainfall was higher than average but not a disaster. 
"It's not my perfect scenario but we're able to cope with it. Fortunately it's early on. Right now, the grapes are pretty much resistant. It's just a bit more moisture than we would like," Mr van de Loo said.
Canberra District Wine Industry Association president John Leyshon said inclement weather did not seem to be a wider problem for the area.
"If it was March, we would be tearing our hair out, but as long as people have kept up their spraying programs and kept the downy mildew under control, I think people will be happy [with the rain]," Mr Leyshon said.
"It's a really early season. There's been so much growth in the vineyards it is setting up for a good time."
Despite the early optimism, Mr Leyshon said there was a long way to go before harvest in March.
"It could be an early vintage, probably talking about three weeks. Whether it will be depends on how the rest of the season pans out," he said.
"The weather really killed us last year because the rain came in March.
"The grapes were ripe and plump and when you get a lot of rain they tend to split, and the rain didn't stop [last year]. We're hoping for a good 2015, it's looking good at this stage."