Old friends, new venues
Published:  25 January, 2008

Rebecca Evans rounds up the wines to look out for at this year's events in London and Edinburgh, and previews the seminars on offer

Wine Australia's annual tastings will be at new venues this year, with the London event (Jan 31) held at Arsenal's Emirates stadium and its Scottish equivalent (Jan 28) happening within Edinburgh's Our Dynamic Earth centre, opposite the Scottish Parliament.

In London, regionality will be highlighted in six tasting rooms, themed by grape variety: Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sparkling, fortified and sweet wines will be highlighted on two focus tables - Fizz and Stickies. This year's seminars will focus on environmental sustainability and category leadership. The chief executive of the Winemakers' Federation of Australia, Stephen Strachan, will look at environmental issues at 11am, while at 2.30pm, Wine Australia's Paul Henry will chair a panel discussion on how Australia is adapting to the changing UK wine market.

Edinburgh's event will also feature focus tables and a host of top Oz winemakers.

The exhibitors

Penfolds' Thomas Hyland wines will be sourced entirely from Adelaide in future, and the wines will be on show at Foster's EMEA's stand. Penfolds will also introduce a new white wine to the Thomas Hyland range in the UK - a 2007 Sauvignon Blanc.

Wines by independent, family-owned Barossa producer Grant Burge will be showcased on Hatch Mansfield's stand. Domaine Direct will launch new vintages of all Leeuwin Estate's Art Series and Prelude Vineyards wines.

Stratford's Wine Agencies will show Clare Valley winery Wakefield's Jaraman range and show the 2006 vintage of the newly-released range Eighty Acres Cabernet/ Shiraz/ Merlot for the first time in the UK market.

PLB will have wine from UK newcomer Yarra Hill Winery on taste, alongside new signing Zilzie, from Murray/Darling. It will also show new vintages of the Broken Earth and Step Road portfolios.

Moët Hennessy Estates & Wines will offer wines for tasting from its two premium wineries, Margaret River's Cape Mentelle and sparkling wine producer Green Point. Cape Mentelle will introduce the latest vintages from across the range, and Green Point will showcase its new NV Sparkling rosé alongside wines from its still range. Winemakers Tony Jordan and Matt Steel will attend.

Off-Piste Wines will showcase its still and sparkling Yellowtail range at the tastings in Edinburgh and London. Export sales manager Angus McPherson will be at the tastings with the Off-Piste team.

Raisin Social will launch Shingleback's Red Knot McLaren Vale range. The Australia Day Tasting will also be an opportunity to taste new vintages of Shingleback wines before they are released in the UK. Shingleback is a family-owned wine estate producing Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Grenache in the McLaren Vale.

Ehrmanns will have Palandri's Vita Novus wines on taste. The range consists of three classic varietals - Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz - with fruit sourced from Palandri's own Margaret River vineyards. The Solora range of wines, which consists of Unwooded Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Cabernet/Merlot and Shiraz will also be on show.

Liberty Wines will showcase 70 wines from across its Australian portfolio, including new releases into the UK market.

John Duval will show his Reserve Shiraz and SC Pannell Nebbiolo from the 2005 vintage at Liberty's stand. Willunga 100 has added a McLaren Vale Viognier to its range, the debut 2007 vintage of which will be on show.

HwCg will showcase more than 50 wines, include the BMW range from Geoff Merrill, created in partnership with former international cricket captains Sir Ian Botham and Bob Willis. HwCg Specialist, the independent and wholesaler focused arm of the business, will be showing new vintages from its exclusive Commissioners Block range. Zonte's Footstep, Mr Riggs, Black Chook and Woop Woop wines (from the Galvanised Wine Group) will be on show. Wines from Evans & Tate and Barossa winery Fox Gordon will also feature.

Negociants UK will focus on regionality, showcasing new vintages including the Yalumba Rare & Fine range, and the follow-on vintage to the Yalumba Y Series Riesling. Jim Barry Wines will launch recently repackaged The Lodge Hill Dry Riesling 2007, The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2006 and Benbournie Cabernet Sauvignon 2002.

D&D Wines International will showcase South Australian wineries Bethany (Barossa), Chain of Ponds (Adelaide Hills) and Haselgrove (McLaren Vale).

Wines on show will include authentic regional examples such as Bethany's Barossa Late Harvest Riesling and GR9 Reserve Shiraz. Chain of Ponds will present its Black Thursday Sauvignon Blanc and its range of wines made with Italian grape varieties Pinot Grigio, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. Haselgrove will show its McLaren Vale wines.

Constellation Europe will launch a range from Barossa Valley Estates. E Minor Chardonnay and Shiraz will be available in the UK from the New Year. Both have a recommended retail price of £7.99 and offer a "taste of classic Barossa for everyday drinking", says Constellation. Visitors to the premium Constellation table will have the chance to try Rieslings from wineries in classic regions.

De Bortoli's chief winemaker, Steve Webber, will attend both tastings. Highlights from De Bortoli will include Viognier from both the Yarra Valley Estate Grown and Windy Peak ranges. De Bortoli will also show its recently-launched range of sparkling wines under the Emeri label and new packaging across the entire Yarra Valley Estate Grown range. De Bortoli will show new vintages of Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley Estate Grown and Windy Peak ranges - 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Awin Barratt Siegel will launch its Cranswick range, which covers three price points from quality everyday to premium level. Wines will include Cranswick Lakefield Chardonnay/Colombard 2007, Cranswick Lakefield Shiraz/Cabernet 2007 and Cranswick Estate Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2007.

McHenry Hohnen will be showcasing a selection of new vintages. This winery was the brainchild of David Hohnen, founder of Cape Mentelle and Cloudy Bay, and the wines have a strong slant towards Rhône and Spanish blends.

McGuigan Simeon will unveil a regionally-focused brand. New vintages from the Black Label range and the premium label, McGuigan Hand Made, will be on offer. McGuigan will be showing the first release of the McGuigan Discover label.

Domaine Direct will be launching new vintages of all Leeuwin Estate's Art Series and Prelude Vineyards wines.

Dates and details

Jan 28 Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh


Jan 31 Emirates Stadium, London


To register, go to wineaustralia.com/uk

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