Monday, June 30, 2008

The 2008 Great Edinburgh Shiraz Challenge

Last Sunday June 29th, I attended the 2008 Great Edinburgh Shiraz Challenge (at the Edinburgh Hotel in Mitcham, Adelaide) and presented our 2005 Karra Yerta Wines Bullfrog Flat (Eden Valley) Shiraz. What a great day!

It started early as I travelled down to the city on the cold blustery morning via the Adelaide Hills
. Somehow I managed to make it on time and even had 15 minutes up my sleeves to "set up" my stall before the general crowd were allowed entry. With 42 tables (each having one or two people from four different wineries) there was certainly no shortage of choice and in fact, it may have even been overkill to some. Some customers commented to me that there were so many wines that they'd initially decided to only try the wines of all the wineries they had not heard of before as they didn't think they could try everything.

I was fortunate to have the most wonderful wine people on either side of me and we all had a really enjoyable time, not only talking to the customers but also chatting to each other and having some laughs over general tales and aspects of the industry. On one side of me was Luke Trotter and his lovely wife Rebecca (The Blok Estate, Coonawarra) and on the other, Tom Krieghauser (an ex-pat US citizen, who now works for Yangarra Estate, McLaren Vale). Of course it was even better that they both had exceptional wines and I must admit I did enjoy having a small taste of them, on a few occasions during the afternoon:)

The staff at the Edinburgh were great and even provided a lovely lunch for the winery staff (special reminder to Joshua - who by now, is on a plane somewhere between Australia and Thailand (hopefully!), before heading back home to California - yes, you can have another serve of Aussie barbecue chicken and potato salad without feeling guilty:)

All in all, it was a well organised event and I can see why many regard it as one of Australia's largest and most successful wine-tasting events. Well done to the the Hotel staff, winery participants and approximately 900 tasters - it really went well and why not; what is better on a cold Adelaide afternoon than a tent full of 300 different shirazes..?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Silver medal from San Francisco!

June is certainly a busy month on the wine front when it comes to shows and competitions. In the past few weeks there have been the 2008 San Francisco International Wine Competition and the Brisbane Fine Wine Festival; this weekend is the world-famous Barossa Shiraz Alliance and next weekend is The Great Edinburgh Shiraz Challenge.

All of these events and many others that I have not named are wonderful opportunities to get products "out" into the market but when you are as small a winery as we are (under 4,500 bottles produced per year) it is impossible to enter lots of competitions due to our very limited supplies. Six bottles sent here, a dozen there, and before long, a significant portion of your stock can be gone before you know it. So it's a big task to choose which shows you think are the right ones for your range of wine.

On that note, we are absolutely ecstatic to announce that we have been awarded our first ever medal - a Silver medal in the 2008 San Francisco International Wine Competition for our Karra Yerta Wines 2005 Barossa Shiraz. (From the competition website: "The San Francisco International Wine Competition, the largest, most influential international wine competition in America, is judged by a prestigious panel of nationally recognized wine experts. Judging is based on a blind, consensual procedure, ensuring that its rigor and integrity remain the nation’s most respected competition. In 2007, over 1,071 wineries submitted wines from 21 countries.")

These few statements regarding the competition show that it is indeed a feather in our cap to be awarded a medal and it certainly inspires us to keep following our dream of making super premium wines in very limited amounts.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pruning time and bottling to be done

Pruning season is upon us. James has been out in the vineyard on chilly mornings and afternoons working on the shiraz vines. Winter does seem to go so fast - I guess it's because pruning is such a slow job (as compared to tying the vines onto the wires once they have been pruned) and the weeks seem to pass by. If you can manage to not go out on the days where it is too blustery - especially high on the peak of the hill where the vineyard is - it is quite a pleasant, albeit very tiring, job. The view over the Flaxman's Valley is rather spectacular especially on misty mornings.

Winter also generally means it is time to get the riesling, and sometimes, the shiraz, bottled. Our 2008 riesling will be bottled within the next few weeks followed soon after by some of our past vintage (not 2008) red wines. Then it will be time to get labels printed, tech data sheets formatted and all the fun things that come along with each new vintage (oh, and tasting the wines as well!). It is exciting to see what time has produced with each variety, especially the riesling as it is not a very long wait from bottling until selling. By all accounts, the 2008 Vintage was a very good one to us, and we look forward to having our "new" wines available soon.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Geography of Wine

In June last year I received an email from a lovely gentleman in the United States. His name was Professor Brian J. Sommers and he is the Chairman of the Department of Geography at the Central Connecticut State University. He was writing a book called 'The Geography of Wine: How Landscapes, Cultures, Terroir, and the Weather Make a Good Drop' and asked our permission to use one of the photos from our website in the book.

The months went by and the book was published late in 2007. Last week I received a copy of this wonderful book (compliments of Brian) in which our photo is used on the title page of Chapter 12 - "Economic Geography and Wine". I am going to start reading the book tonight as it is definitely going to increase my knowledge on all of the geographical/viticultural aspects of the wine industry on a world-wide level.

It may be hard to obtain a copy in Australia but if anyone would like to try to get one please email me via our website and I can contact Brian to see if it is possible. The
ISBN is 978-0-452-28890-4 for those who would like to trace it themselves. I look forward to sitting down this evening with the book and a glass of shiraz.