Vineyards in Western Australia are threatened by fire
Wildfires, new magazines and veteran rockers – it’s all really happening this week.
It has been a busy week again and there is no sign of slackening off as the end of the year approaches.
In a week that has seen it all, from a spate of California vineyard sales to a new captain at the helm of the Wine Advocate, we’ve also been watching for stories you may have missed.
Margaret River threatens forest fires
Many wineries in Margaret River were evacuated this week after bushfires in the nearby forests of Boranup and Yallingup threatened vineyards, campgrounds, businesses and homes in the area. The fires in Boranup have come particularly close to Mr Barval Fine Wines, which is at the northern end of the forest.
Mr. Barval’s neighbors include the well-known wineries of Cape Mentelle, Leeuwin and Voyager Estate, among many other producers in the Witchcliffe area, just 10 km south of the town of Margaret River. An insider confirmed Cape Mentelle evacuated staff on Thursday – a repeated precaution in homes, businesses and vineyards across the region
As of Friday morning, emergency warnings for bushfires were still in place, although the threat of the blaze to residents of Witchcliffe eased as the prevailing wind pushed the blaze away from the vineyards. This, however, threatened Borunup Township in the middle of the forest.
Another bushfire in Yallingup, about 35 km (22 miles) north of Margaret River, also threatened the region’s vineyards, with many small wineries in the emergency zone. As of press time, despite widespread forest devastation, regional firefighters report the blaze is under control and weather conditions are mild.
Old scales planned for the Alsace wine fair
After two years of interruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 73rd edition of the Foire aux Vins d’Alsace – the Alsace wine fair – should take place in Colmar next July with the opening concerts aging British rockers Deep Purple. and the Alan Parsons Live project. The two groups – who could challenge a bottle of local Riesling for longevity – are on the show on the fair’s opening night on July 22.
According to the French wine news site vitisphere.com, this will be the third time that Deep Purple has taken part in this event, which was born in 1948, along with Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice.
Given that the band’s best-known song, Smoke on the Water, takes place on the shores of Lake Geneva, a more logical pairing with the band could have been wines from La Côte in Switzerland. However, if there is something that Alsatians know a little about, it is hard rock.
Gonzalez Byass creates the organic solera
Jerez-based company Sherry Gonzalez Byass confirmed last week that it is implementing an organic criadera – the first step towards building a fully organic solera system (the multi-vintage barrel blending system by which sherries are aged and created). The company had already announced during this year’s harvest that it would harvest organic Palomino grapes with a view to someday producing an organic Tio Pepe – Byass’s best-known label.
According to local newspaper El Diario de Jerez in August, the company had chosen the 12.2 hectare (30.1 acre) Dulce Nombre vineyard for the first certified organic harvest. Manuel Delgado Casas, winemaker at González Byass, told Spanish news agency EFE that the vineyard has “the best phytosanitary history to avoid any pest and disease problems”. The vineyard has been cultivated organically since 2017.
The partial switch to organic production was recently confirmed during a local tasting of the estate’s young wine – known as Mosto. Coinciding with the feast of San Andrés at the very end of November (and a long-standing tradition in the region), the bodega presented samples of its new wines to local notables.
According to Andalusian gastronomic publication Cosas De Comé, Maison Sherry has confirmed that they are planning 50,000 liters of organic wine for a possible release of Fino Sherry in four years. Other organic bottlings (Oloroso or Palo Cortado) could also be considered after additional aging.
No one, for the moment, has asked about the traffic jams in En Rama, but surely?
EU approves label for dealcoholized wines
The European Union has given the green light to de-alcoholized and low-alcohol wines to be classified among wines, she emerged this week, after months of deliberation in Brussels. The move had been under consideration for months – the UK Harpers wine trade publication covered the story in April this year – though the controversial move has only just been approved.
According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, France, for the moment, defines wine as “a drink which results from the complete or partial alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes, crushed or not (or of grape must) with an alcohol content greater than 8.5% by volume. “But low alcohol, health and progressives in the wine industry have been pushing for that to change. It seems the EU has listened.
“A new category ‘de-alcoholized wine’ has been created,” Daniela Ida Zandonà, adviser to the European Federation of Original Wines (EFOW), told Harpers in April. “Table wines will be allowed to drop below 0.5% abv [alcohol by volume], while IGP and PDO wines will be granted dealcoholization rights up to a blood alcohol level of between 0.5 and 8.5%.
In other words, total alcohol removal is only allowed for Table Wine-style wines, while individual appellations will be able to approve low-alcohol wines if they wish. Until now, dealcoholized wine has been regarded by many Member States as a “wine-based drink” or the like.
According to Le Figaro, the member states of the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine) are in the process of developing a rigorous selection of processes that can claim low or dealcoholic labels. The new CAP enters into force in Europe in 2023.
MW launches magazine on wine and history
Australian wine master Andrew Caillard is set to publish The Vintage Journal (or TVJ) – a new magazine about wine and history, it was announced this week. Caillard, auctioneer, wine critic and historian, partnered with writer, editor and digital media guru Angus Hughson to produce the publication.
According to Australian wine website Winetitles, the content “will include a series of tasting notes, reviews, regional features, stories on Australian wine history, e-books, occasional videos and podcasts.”
“Regular snippets of Australian wine history – highlighting people, places and events – will be a central feature of The Vintage Journal,” Winetitles added, revealing that the historical parts of the publication will draw on a three-volume unpublished work on the history of Australian wine, to be published in 2023.
TVJ will reportedly be free and allow all reviews and tasting notes to be reposted without permission.