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Winestate Magazine Annual Wine of the Year Awards Issue JAN FEB 2021

Launched in 1978, Winestate is one of the world’s longest running wine magazines, featuring over 140 pages on all things vinous from around the globe. Winestate tastes and rates over 10,000 wines a year, making Winestate the leading authority on Australian and New Zealand wines.

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7 Issues

in this issue

4 min

2020. THIS WAS THE YEAR THAT KEPT ON TAKING AWAY. Without repeating all the depressing developments that occurred throughout the year let’s look at what is positive and what we have to look forward to in 2021. For Winestate we are pleased to report that we were able to continue to support the wine industries in both Australia and New Zealand by doing Covid-safe wine judging’s across the year. This enabled wineries to achieve well-deserved awards/recommendations for us to promote in the magazine and in turn for them to further promote their individual winery’s wines to their customer base – a definite positive in a negative-filled year. In the absence of the big capital city wine shows shutting down we were able to use our very experienced in-house team to continue…

19 min

NEW HEAD OF THE FAMILY JEFF Burch of Howard Park in Margaret River is the new chairperson of Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW), a collective of Australia’s leading family owned, multigenerational wine businesses. Burch takes over from Stephen Henschke, becoming the seventh chair of the wine group. Clearly 2020 has been a year like no other for all Australian businesses and with no international engagement this year, Burch is looking forward to leading the group into the future as the world awakens to a vastly different post-Covid-19 landscape. “I come to this role at an interesting time for wine businesses at large, and now more than ever I see AFFW’s vital role as continuing to champion fine Australian wine on the global stage at the first opportunity,” he said. Outgoing Chair Stephen Henschke welcomed…

5 min

ELEPHANT HILL CELLAR DOOR AND ‘TASTING CONCEPT’ OPENING HAWKE’S Bay winery Elephant Hill’s restaurant was an early casualty of the changes wrought on wine tourism courtesy of Covid-19, closing due to ensuing loss of international visitors. However, the award-winning Te Awanga-based winery has regrouped and refocused on a new cellar door tasting concept called ‘Flight & Bites’, offering small plates and platters Thursdays-to-Mondays, and re-opened the restaurant Thursdays-to-Saturdays. The restaurant now offers a pared-down version of its former fine-dining approach, with a menu designed to complement Elephant Hill’s premium wines, but expect to see the same level of high-quality food and attention to detail from Head Chef Jason Brown. FOLEY WINES’ MARTINBOROUGH DEVELOPMENTS NEW Zealand’s borders remain closed at the time of writing, with significant impact on general and winery tourism. Foley Wines…

5 min
prosecco takes on a rosey glow

THE mainly sparkling wine Prosecco (a still version is also allowed) has been on the up and up since it revamped, expanded its production zone, and achieved greater legal protection for the appellation (Europe’s more-regulated equivalent of Australian geographical indications), more than ten years ago. This light, creamy-bubbly, gentle, easy-to-appreciate sparkler with fresh, fruity flavours (rather than the often more complex-savoury flavours of Champagne), has hit something of an affordable sweet spot with consumers, in many markets around the world. In that time, production and sales of Prosecco DOC appellation, located in north-east Italy, have grown dramatically, from broadly 100 million bottles (though in 2009 labelled differently) to roughly 500 million bottles now. The vineyard region covers around 24,000 hectares (roughly the same vineyard area as Victoria). For a sense of…

5 min
chardonnay roots discovered

THE Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) issued a press release in August 2020 announcing one of the oldest mysteries in Australian wine history had been solved. The origins of the Gin-Gin clone of chardonnay was revealed. Using genomic research, the Gin-Gin clone has been traced back to an old Californian source block at UC Davis. First introduced in 1957 to Western Australia, Gin-Gin has a shared heritage with Old Foundation Block (OF) and the common Mendoza clones. However, the AWRI stress that they are ‘quite distinct from each other…despite their shared origins’. Gin-Gin is the most commonly used clone in Margaret River and is responsible for some top drops including Pierro Chardonnay. A clone is where a single superior ‘mother vine’ is selected and cuttings are propagated, usually by a…

5 min
among the vines - wine stays close to home

FEW things ramp up the depth of feeling aroused by the word terroir than a weekend stay close to the vines that produced the wine you are drinking. Wine hotels and retreats have become popular in just about every wine-producing country in the world from France through Italy, the US, Argentina and South Africa. There's also plenty of prestigious digs overlooking vineyards around Australia with many close to major capital cities. During the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, wine tastings at Bendooley Estate near Berrima, only 90 minutes’ drive from Sydney, were held in the Berkelouw Book Barn. A rather drab description for one of NSW's most historic bookshops, selling rare and antiquarian volumes and new releases, which is one of the property's major attractions. The wine tastings have moved back…