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Archive for the ‘Eighty Acres’ Category

At Taylors, we take a lot of simple joy from the art of winemaking. To see family, employees and the community flourishing alongside our business here in the Clare Valley is incredibly rewarding for us. Yet we have to say, it’s also a thrill to receive recognition for the hard work that we put into each bottle and every vintage. So in today’s post, we’re excited to share a little about some of the highly competitive wine shows that we’ve taken part in this year, and take you through some of the awards that we’ve received. From both domestic and international wine competitions, these medals, commendations and trophies represent hours upon hours of hard work, innovation and persistence. They also tell us that our primary mission of presenting premium quality wines to the public is being recognised.

Crossing continents

With our increasingly connected global village, it is clear that in order to effectively share our winemaking dream, we have to get our wines out onto the world stage. In 2014, we have proudly taken our Australian red and white wines to shows in the USA, France, China, South Africa, Spain, New Zealand, Canada and Japan – to name just a few! And on the domestic front, we take seriously the feedback from local Australian competitions, where our Clare Valley wines have been judged against those from a suite of other Australian winemaking talent.

Ring in the New Year

January 2014 saw a great start to the year for us over in the States. The Winemakers’ Challenge International Wine Competition was held in San Diego, hosted by the renowned wine journalist Robert Whitley. There, our 2012 Estate Shiraz promptly garnered Platinum, as did the 2013 Promised Land Riesling. Considering that Whitley’s online publication Wine Review attracts one million visitors a year, we knew that we were already kicking goals for 2014 – in front of a worldwide audience. Then over to Europe, where the 2010 St Andrews Shiraz plus the Cabernet Sauvignon from that same vintage took out the Great Gold in Spain’s Catavinum World Wine and Spirit Competition. We then swung back home to the Sydney Royal Wine Show, where our 2013 St Andrews Riesling and the 2012 Estate Pinot Gris did us proud, both scooping Gold from a strong domestic pool.

best-riesling-award

Taking it to the world

And so the year began to gain momentum, with competitions from France to China becoming opportunities for us to showcase our passion for winemaking. In the case of China, it became clear that this growing and discerning market of wine lovers was attuned to our dedication. For example, at the China Wine and Spirits Awards, our 2010 Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet not only took out a Double Gold for value – but also the Trophy for Australian Wine of the Year. These CWSA awards are among the largest and most prestigious in China. From our humble winery in Auburn to this kind of world recognition, well it can make you pause for a moment to catch your breath! And the whirlwind of awards overseas didn’t pause in Asia – the highly competitive Michelangelo International Wine Awards in South Africa also bestowed Gold upon our beloved 2012 St Andrews Shiraz. It’s a gracious nod from one antipodean winemaking country to another – and we’re delighted to accept.

A European flavour

You’ll probably understand that we get a little nervous about entering our wines in European shows – particularly in traditional wine growing regions. So as 2014 soared along and we headed back to Europe, we were thrilled to see our wines receive accolades from some of the most prestigious wine competitions. A notable highlight was being awarded not one but seven Gold in the AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge! This remarkable event is the largest officially recognised wine show in the world, so we were understandably proud of how our premium Australian offerings fared. Heading north, our 2012 Cab Savs from the Jaraman and Estate ranges, plus the 2013 St Andrews Chardonnay, all claimed Gold in Belgium. The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is one of the biggest European wine competitions, with the jury being selected exclusively from within the wine profession. And then back down south from there in Switzerland, both the Taylors Estate 2013 Pinot Noir and the Taylors Estate Pinot Gris 2013 were awarded Gold at the prestigious Mondial des Pinots competition. Even France joined in the excitement, with the Vinalies Internationales Paris seeing our 2012 Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon stride away with a coveted Gold medal. Mon Dieu!

American dreams

Part of the New World collection of winemakers just like Australia, both the USA and Canada take winemaking very seriously. So when it comes to international competitions, we always know that we’re facing some strong contenders from across the Pacific. But that friendly rivalry didn’t seem to break our stride throughout 2014. The Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition saw us not only take home four Gold, but also Best in Class for the 2013 Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet. One of the most prestigious of the USA’s wine competitions, the LA event has been running for more than 75 years. More Gold then came via both the San Francisco International Wine Competition and the New World Wine Awards. And the American Wine Society bestowed the coveted Double Gold upon our 2012 St Andrews Shiraz. Particularly exciting for us, the San Diego International Wine Competition brought a well-earned Platinum medal for the 2013 Taylors Estate Shiraz. Now, heading over to the East Coast, the World Value Wine Challenge in Boston paid homage to our key convergence of quality and value for consumers: there, we were delighted to receive Gold and Best Buy for a suite of our 2013 vintage wines, confirming our commitment to making premium wines that are accessible to all.

And we have to say that we were especially privileged to be named Clare Valley Winery of The Year at the New York International Wine Competition. Our beautiful valley and winery, out there in full view of the world. Lovely stuff.

No place like home

Back home in Australia, we headed on over to the Rutherglen Wine Show. Now, it might seem to some like just a small country event – but don’t let appearances fool you. Those in the know understand that the Rutherglen Wine Show has a 125-year heritage, with judging that is well known for its intense rigour. Five panels of three judges each provide a score, followed by further judging by an independent associate, whose score is then combined with the others to establish an overall mark. It’s great to return to Australia after a whirlwind year and know that while international acclaim is terrific, the esteem of locals is also greatly appreciated. So when a local show like Rutherglen acknowledges our 2013 Eighty Acres Shiraz Viognier with a Gold medal – it makes the year’s overall achievements that much sweeter. Other local acknowledgement came at the prestigious Melbourne International Wine Competition, where the 2012 St Andrews Shiraz also brought home the Gold for Taylors. And still within the Victorian capital, the 2014 St Andrews Riesling earned not just Gold at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show – but also the Trophy for Best Riesling.

When the industry awards flow in as recognition of our ongoing labours at Taylors, it certainly puts a spring in our step! But it’s no secret that our passion for delivering exceptional wine would go on regardless of any particular acclaim. Sometimes, the greatest reward is just knowing that lovers of good wine are simply being treated to the fruits of our hard work and never-ending innovation.

clinton-clare-valley-award

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The thing about a passionate and dedicated family business like Taylors is that we love a good challenge.  A good example of this is achieving the 100% carbon neutral standard on our Eighty Acres range of wines. We were actually  the world’s first winery to succeed at meeting this globally recognised ISO standard. Some out there might question why we’d bother to put the time and effort into meeting the exacting ISO14044 markers required for this goal. Well, to understand a bit about this journey and why we know it’s important, first let’s put this achievement into the context of what we do day in and out.

Respecting what you love

Basically, we’re pretty blessed to be able to grow grapes and make our wines  from vines grown across some of the most beautiful valleys and hillsides in Australia.

Clinton Taylor and his children planting trees.

Clinton Taylor and his children planting trees.

The way we look at it, caring for this environment is like caring for our families – both deserve our focus and stewardship for their ongoing wellbeing. We reckon it’s basically about respect, and facing up to the reality that you tend to get out of things precisely what you put in. As a result, here at Taylors we’ve worked hard over the course of the last 10 years at putting a raft of environmentally-sound practices in place under our extensive Environmental Management System.  This includes a range of efforts aimed at reducing waste , managing energy, and improving efficiency across both our wineries and corporate sites.

Back to basics

Our 100% carbon neutral Eighty Acres range is now a proud part of this push.

The Eighty Acres wines

The Eighty Acres wines

This robust little crop of wines has been a delight since its creation in 2007, even before the ISO standard was achieved. High quality development, down-to-earth flavour integrity and reasonable prices have made our Eighty Acres wines firm favourites since their introduction. The quirky name comes from the Clare Valley eighty acre blocks that were first planted back in 1969. The very first of these blocks was imaginatively called – you guessed it – ‘Eighty Acres’. We like to think our grandfather Bill Taylor was so busy getting those historic first vines into the ground in order to make outstanding wine that he didn’t waste time on fancy paddock names! And so to honour that basic integrity, plus the roots of our down-to-earth wine-making heritage, we’re proud of the name given to the small but mighty Eighty Acres range.

A challenge? Bring it on!

Getting back to our Environmental Management System (also a proud recipient of ISO certification) including the suite of practices that we’ve been putting in place, Taylors began to look at the possibility of working towards 100% carbon neutrality within our business. We knew it wouldn’t be easy – no other winery had achieved this to date! Yet as we mentioned above, we at Taylors really do love a challenge.   First of all we started looking for a business section to work on for this goal. Not surprisingly, the  honeTaylors Wines 100% CarbonNeutral leaf imagest and earthy Eighty Acres range pretty much leapt out at us as the perfect place to start our journey. We then began researching the requirements of the ISO 14044 lifecycle assessment standard. It meant taking a long hard look at our processes and practices in the vineyards and at the winery, across issues as diverse as water usage, transport, recycling and packaging. Slowly but surely we altered and replaced systems so as to improve efficiencies across the life cycle of the products we created. In 2009 we also began offsetting our carbon emissions through other sustainable projects. And there’s no chance of businesses being able to fudge these international standards for a cynical bit of ‘greenwash’. All of our reports and figures were analysed at RMIT, being rigorously assessed by an independent auditor before the ISO14044 could be applied.

That extra bit of special

But the average enjoyer of our fine Eighty Acres range might shrug and say, well – does it change anything in the wine? Maybe not officially…But as you know, we think a lot more goes into good wine beside the ‘official’ ingredients. For a start there’s passion, innovation and of course there’s integrity. We reckon by working so hard to make our gorgeous Eighty Acres range of wines 100% carbon neutral, there might be just a little more of those ingredients in each bottle. You can drink a glass of our Eighty Acres wine knowing that stewardship of the environment has front and centre during all steps of creation.  And you wouldn’t be alone in admiring these wines – they were showcased by invitation at the 2009 Climate Change Conference, and continue to be loved across the world for their pure drinkability.

Our bigger environmental dream

sheep in vineyards

Avoiding pesticides by using sheep to control weeds in the vineyards

Also, Eighty Acres world-first achievement of the 100% carbon neutral ISO lifecycle standard is just one part (and ok, we think a pretty impressive part!) of Taylor’s overall Environmental Action Plan. Along with best practice viticulture and leading-edge water and energy conservation initiatives, we also ‘act locally’ by working on regeneration of the Wakefield River, the lifeblood of our beloved Clare Valley estate. Plus, we’re tireless in our efforts towards further developing organic vineyard care involving mulching, composting and pesticide reduction. Add to these our innovative work towards better, lighter and more environmentally sound packaging and you can start to get a feel for how seriously we take our environmental credentials.

Green for the future

Whether it’s on our rural operations or over in the cities where our larger offices are situated, our green-friendly approach is woven into who we are. Sure, the ISO accreditation for our 100% carbon neutral Eighty Acres range is something that puts a smile on our faces. But even beyond acknowledgement of our efforts, it’s just great to know that such a likeable wine range as Eighty Aces also has the added bonus of hitting well above its weight on the green front. And that’s something we hope the great-grandkids can one day truly celebrate.

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