Moscato Wines- Comparison with Other White Wine Varieties

Moscato is a white wine grape variety which is a little sweet in taste. In Australia, there are three different grape varieties with names similar to Moscato wine. These are: Muscat Gordo Blanco, Muscat a Petits Grains Blanc and Muscat a Petits Grains Rouge. While the first two are white wine varieties, the last one is a red wine variety. There shall not be a confusion between these three.

Here are some vital statistics relating to these Moscato wines in Australia:

Muscat a Petits Grains Rouge Muscat a Petits Grains Blanc Muscat Gordo Blanco
Type Red Wine White Wine White Wine
Area (in hectares) 240 850 2210
Grapes crushed (in ‘000 tonnes) 1.8 14.2 52
Top GI region Riverina, Swan Hill Riverina Riverland, Murray-Darling

As can be seen from the chart above that it is the Muscat Gordo Blanco varietal which is the main white wine varietal, being grown on 2210 hectares of land area. However, this is still a less popular white grape variety when compared with the other major ones.

Variety Area (in ‘000 hectares) Grapes Crushed (in ‘000 tonnes)
Chardonnay 21.44 340.8
Sauvignon Blanc 6.10 83.5
Semillon 4.57 65.4
Pinot Grigio 3.73 61.4
Riesling 3.16 28.8
Moscato 2.21 52.0

Moscato wines are largely consumed within Australia. The vineyard area under it has remained more or less consistent since 2001 with a little fluctuation on an annual basis.

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Varietal Similarity Index (VSI)- How Different Are Australian Wines?

australian wines

How similar or different are Australian wines from those of other parts of world? How is this measured? Researchers at the University of Adelaide developed a complex formula which is called Varietal Similarity Index (VSI) for this purpose. The value ranges from 0 to 1. As value approaches 0 to 1, there is more similarity among the wines of regions being compared. This means that as values go progressively closer to 1, there is loss of distinction.

When the Australian wines were compared with those of the world in 2000, the VSI was found to be at 0.45. In 2010, after 10 years, this value stood at 0.62. This showed that the Aussie wines are losing distinction as compared with the rest of the world wines. Whether this loss of distinction is good or bad is something which is based on perception. If historically the Aussie wines are perceived to be inferior to those of other wine regions of the world, then gaining this similarity is something which shall augur good for Australian wine industry. However, if the historical perception is that the Aussie wines stand on their own characteristics, then this is something not good.

This index can also be used for comparing wine regions within Australia. This can measure how different are wine regions from one another. VSIs have been calculated for all wine regions and their average stands at 0.53 in 2010. This is close to the national average of 0.62. This points to the fact that the inter-regional differentiation is not pronounced. In case of France, this regional distinction is quite pronounced and this is also helped by the fact that the laws do not permit growing only small specific varietals in specific regions. This is deliberately done to retain their terroir influence.

While regional distinctions are not all that pronounced in average terms, some regions have tried hard to retain their distinction and these have not shifted to other varietals in the 10 year period.

10 Lesser Known White Wine Varietals of Australia

Arneis: Arneis comprises of 40 hectares of vineyard area in Australia. The data of this grape is available on regular and meaningful basis since 2010 only. And, since then its area has declined considerably.

Chenin Blanc: Chenin Blanc wine grape is grown in 410 hectares of area and the land area has been under constant decline since 2001. This is exported in price band of A$5.0 to A$7.5 per litre.

Colombard: This white wine grape occupies a land area of 1790 hectares and is quite significant considering that this white wine varietal is not all that well known as compared with some of other varieties. The current area is less than what was in 2001. China is the main export market for this wine where more than 20 percent of its exports are directed.

Marsanne: The total vineyard area of marsanne grape variety is 160 hectares. This is grown mostly in the Riverina region where which accounts for more than half of this grape cultivation. United Kingdom is the most important export destination for this Marsanne wine which accounts for 40% of its total exports.

Muscat à Petits Grains Blanc: 850 hectares of total vineyard area of this grape makes for 0.6% of total area under grape cultivation. This white wine is grown in Riverina region which accounts for more than 65% of total production.

Muscat Gordo Blanco: This white wine is grown mostly in Riverland region which accounts for 45% of its total vineyards area, which, in absolute terms, is 2210 hectares.

Petit Verdot: Petit Verdot white wine grapes occupy 1120 hectares of land area which has been constantly declining since 2005. Most of the growth of this wine grape is concentrated in the Riverland area which accounts for 57% of the area.

Savagnin: Savagnin is spread out to about 20 hectares of land area and Riverland area accounts for about 34% of this grape varietal. About 40% of its exports are directed to China. This wine mostly sells in price band of A$7.5 to A$20 per liter.

Sultana: Sultana is basically an Arabic name and this wine grape is of White wine type. This is not a significant grape variety to be grown in Australia and the vineyard area under it has declined constantly from 11000 hectares to almost nil in the present time. Only 900 tonnes of this grape were crushed in the year 2015. Murray-darling region is the prime region for its growth.

Traminer: Traminer is also a white wine grape. 67% of 840 hectares of vineyard area under it is cultivated in Riverina region of Australia. This grape is exported mostly to Canada which accounts for 40% of its exports. This is cheap white wine varietal which sells at A$2.5 to A$5 per liter in exports.

Why Low Alcohol Wines Are High in Demand?

low alcohol wines

There are different thoughts on how much alcohol allows a wine to be called as a low alcohol one. A broad consensus is that any wine with less than 10 percent of alcohol can be considered as low alcohol one. Low alcohol content in wines, red or white, can be achieved with industrial processing. As global warming has caused climate change, this has led to increase of sugar in wine grapes which means that the alcohol content in the wines would increase unless some extra effort is made to reduce it. It has been a noticeable trend since the period around 2010 that the wines production globally has seen an increase in alcohol content. At the same time, however, there has also been growth in demand for the low alcohol content wines.

The spurt in demand of low alcohol wines is because of a number of reasons. At first, the increasing health consciousness of people makes them worry about their waistlines. A low-calorie diet is, therefore, preferred by them. This has been a consumer base which is diet conscious and would like to see the alcohol percentage label before buying one. Many experts dispute this contention. They argue that reduction in calorific value which a lower alcohol wine brings is very little and this is not going to give the people reduced waistlines.

The second reason, and this is just the opposite of motive of diet-conscious people, is that it gives wine lovers the space to drink more. With low alcohol red wines or white wines, they would not mind having a glass more. To that extent, low alcohol wines are an alibi for drinking more in parties and social gatherings.

The third important reason is that the manufacturers have been able to perfect the technology of reverse osmosis to develop these wines. An impetus has also been given by the low-calorie concerned people who are rising in numbers by every passing day.

(More can be read at: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/chew-on-this/join-the-lowcal-party-20110228-1baxj.html)

Vintage Considerations for Wine Purchasing

How many of you seriously consider vintage before buying wines? Serious consideration means that you will either buy or not buy the product based on its vintage. It is true that certain vintages of specific wines are popular than the others, and these become popular as well because of the positive feedback which these wines get from the drinkers and sommeliers.

What is a Vintage?

Vintage refers to the year in which the grapes were grown and harvested. If that year has been pretty good for growth of grapes climatically, then the wines of that harvest obviously be highly valued. When a wine of decades old vintage is brought out in the market today, it would have been cellared and well-preserved for all that while. That also shows the age of the wine.

As a rule of thumb, the wines which come from regions having predictable climatic conditions, the vintages do not matter because there is very less difference to make out. Wine tasters would have hard time distinguishing good from bad. However, there are wine regions, such as Bordeaux in France, where the wines can have pronounced differences due to variations in climatic conditions. Similarly, wine tasters can make out difference in wines of different regions due to their characteristic climatic conditions.

Whether Vintage Matters?

Many studies have been conducted over this question and the general outcome of these studies has been that the vintage, or in other words, the year in which wine was made, is not important from the point of view of general population. Vintage is of relevance for collectors and the rich for whom having the rare wines is a matter of privilege and exclusivity. These wines are generally available through auctions. These can also be bought from the cellar door or the retail stores but these would not be shown off generally to the people.

This key buying behaviour is made good use of by the companies selling wines online. And, the trick lies in the fact that vintage is not shown in prominence at all and the prices of the wines of old vintage are dropped (simply because the wine stock is lying unsold). On the other hand, the wine company selling latest vintage at a higher price is not able to match the other competitor. From the consumer point of view, the vintage is immaterial while price matters a lot. Therefore, the old vintage stock clearance wines are sold ahead of the latest vintage fresh arrivals of higher prices.

(An article for good reading on vintage can be read at http://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/wine-year-important_n_6784400. We would be glad to receive your feedback and comments on this matter.)

 

Wine Regions of Queensland in Australia

Queensland is one of the state of Australia. It is the largest Australian state after Western Australia and lies in the north-eastern part of the continent. The state has its capital at Brisbane. This state does have some wine regions but these are not as famous as that of New South Wales, Victoria or South Australia.

Wine regions

There are two Geographical Indicator wine regions in Queensland. These are the Granite Belt and the South Burnett.

strictMap Vert

The Granite Belt region of Queensland is situated right on the border, to its south-eastern side, with southern state of New South Wales. The region is the larger than the Burnett wine region which lies to its north.

The Granite Belt region is located 1000 meters above sea level and this is the only region in this State where you have four different seasons during the year. The most important varietals of this region are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Verdelho and Viognier.

Some of the major wines coming from this region are Lucas Estate, Monticello, Pyramid Road, Ridge Mill Estate and many others.

south burnett

South Burnett

The Burnett region is situated to the west of Noosa heads and Sunshine Coast which are coastal areas to the north of Brisbane. This region has Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as the major grape growing varieties. Next important are Chardonnay, Semillon, Shiraz and Verdelho. This region is further divided into Northern and Southern wineries region.

QLDregionNorthBurnett

The north Burnett region has been formed as an amalgamation of six different local councils in 2008. The South Burnett region was the result of amalgamation of four local councils, again in 2008.

Riesling Wine Growing Regions of Australia

wine-riesling-header

Riesling is a white wine grape which has its birthplace in Rhine wine region of Germany. This grape is used in making of semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines all over the world. The grape is grown in suitable climatic conditions globally. In Australia, this is grown in the following regions:

Clare Valley: This wine region of Australia accounts for the highest vineyard area under Riesling grapes. This region is situated in the state of South Australia, north of Adelaide capital city. In fact, this region is known for Riesling wines essentially. The Horrocks Highway passes through this region. It is a part of the Mount Lofty Ranges Zone. Out of the total planted area of this region, Riesling was the second important wine grape planted as it occupied 21.8% of area.

Eden Valley: The Eden valley wine region is also situated in South Australia and to the north-east of Adelaide. It is bordered on west by Barossa Valley wine region and on east by Adelaide Hills wine region. Riesling wine grape is the second important variety to be planted here.

Riverland: Riverland region is the third important Riesling growing region having about 12 percent of the total Riesling growing area in Australia. This region is in South Australia. It begins from where the Murray river enters South Australia after flowing on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. The region is one of the largest wine growing regions of Australia.

Riverina: Riverina region is located in New South Wales to the east of Australian Capital Territory. The region is centred around the town of Griffith. It is a part of the Big Rivers wine region and depends heavily on the Murrumbidgee river irrigation scheme for growing vines. The wine growing area of this region is smaller than the Riverina area itself.

Murray-Darling: Murray Darling basin is another region where Riesling wine grapes are grown but is not as well known for it, as it is for Chardonnay white wines.