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Archive for the ‘winemaker’ Category

Did you know you have more control over how much you enjoy a nice bottle of wine apart from just choosing a good label? From storing to pouring, you can influence how your wine tastes. Follow these tips on how to enhance the flavour of your wine.

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Temperature

Temperature plays a vital role in the enjoyment of wine, from the moment the vines are planted all the way to the storage of the wine in your home and of course, the drinking of it. If a wine is stored incorrectly in high temperatures it will age and spoil before you’ve even opened it.

If you serve a red wine that is too warm the flavours will be masked by the alcohol. If you serve a white wine that is too cold, you also won’t be able to taste it properly as the flavours will be muted by the cold. If you have a cheap bottle of white that doesn’t taste very good, make it as cold as possible before serving!  For a white wine that you actually want to taste, enhance your drinking experience by leaving the bottle out of the fridge for a short while before serving and conversely, with a red, maybe put it in the fridge for a short time before serving – especially if it’s a warm day!

Decanting

So many wines are being made to enjoy ‘young’ these days, and so consumers often think there isn’t much need to decant it first. However, all wines will benefit from decanting, even the young ones. Decanting allows more oxygen into the wine from the design of the decanter. Also, the splashing motion when the wine goes from the bottle to the decanter will help to aerate it.

Of course, once the wine is exposed to air it will begin the oxidation process, which over a period of time will make your lovely wine turn foul. But if you plan to drink the wine soon after decanting you will not have to worry about this too much.

All older red wines should be decanted as a rule. This is because an older wine can throw off sediment as they age. When you decant the wine, don’t tip the entire bottle up, letting the sediment go into the decanter. Pour carefully at an angle so the sediment stays in the bottle but the wine is released. Aged wines may sometimes have a musty character, but this will go away with decanting.

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 Pairing food and wine

What is better than enjoying food or wine? Enjoying them together when you get the mix just right. When you match food and wine in the right way, it can enhance the flavour not only of the wine but of the food as well. To find the perfect match, you can keep a chart like this handy in your kitchen. Or you could just remember these two simple rules: white wine matches with light foods such as white meat, salads and fish. Red wine goes well with red meat or a rich casserole. Sparkling wine however, can go with just about anything as it acts as a palate cleanser.

If want to delve deeper, you can look at what makes up a wine and pair that to food. For example, if you have an acidic wine it will go well with fatty or sweet foods. A wine high in tannins will also go well with sweet food.

If in doubt remember one very important rule: this is not a contest between food and wine. One should not overpower the other, so if you are going for a light salad, don’t pair it with a bold red. And if you are going for a heavy, spiced steak don’t pair it with a sauvignon blanc. That is because one flavour will be the clear winner while you don’t taste much of the other one at all – and what is the sense in that? So the next time you are choosing a dish that is heavy or full of flavour, do the same with your wine. And same again for food and wines that have a more delicate taste.

Using the right glasses

Another way to enhance your wine tasting experience is to use the correct glass ware. The flavour of wine can actually be improved by using different drink ware for each type of wine. White wine glasses are smaller and narrower, while red wine glasses are larger with a wide opening. It is possible to get different shaped glassware for all varietals if you don’t have the storage room for that, just red and white glasses are fine.

Red wine glasses are wide at the top to allow more air in the glass, which in turn releases the wines aromas and influences the taste. White wine glasses are more narrow at the top, which leads the wine to go to the centre of your tongue when sipping it. By doing this, the wine mostly bypasses the sensors on the sides of the tongue, which in turn reduces the acidic flavours.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

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Occasionally you will get a bottle of wine that is flawed. There are a few reasons why this might happen, but usually it is not the fault of anyone in particular. However, there are some ways you can accidentally ruin your wine:

  1. Serving temperature

All wine has an optimum temperature at which it is best enjoyed. Although not many people realise this, and certainly not many restaurants follow, red wine should be slightly ‘cool’ so it is not served too warm, and white wine should be allowed to ‘warm up’ when taken straight from the fridge. A bottle of white is actually far more enjoyable if it is just chilled rather than too cold and the taste of red wine can be ruined if you serve it too warm.

  1. Storage

There are some important rules when storing wine in your home. Find a place that has the right level of humidity. Too much and you can risk getting mouldy corks that will ruin the wine. Not enough and the corks will dry out and crack, letting air get into the bottle and oxidising it long before you even open it. Try not to move the bottles too often as it is best if they remain still. And finally, cork bottles should always be laying down as opposed to standing. Of course, if the wine is sealed with a screw cap – which most modern wines are – you can stand the bottles up and there’s no need to worry about levels of humidity. All wine should be kept in a darkened area, not exposed to direct sunlight. Even strong overhead lights can cause damage if they are left on all of the time and glowing directly on the bottles. If there will be lighting near your bottles, make sure you use bulbs with a UV protectant coating.

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  1. Overheating wine

Once wine hits a certain temperature it will begin ‘cooking’ and the damage done is irreversible. If you have a bottle of wine that has a cork in it and you fear it may have been exposed to high temperatures, take a look at the positioning of the cork. If it is slightly pushed out, this means the wine has been cooked and you can expect it will be ruined. Never keep wine in a place where it can be exposed to extreme heat such as next to the oven or above the fridge. When you are choosing a bottle from the shop, don’t choose the bottles that are near the windows as they may have been exposed to direct sunlight.

  1. Leaving it open for too long

Once a bottle of wine has been opened, oxygen will get in and the oxidation process will begin. You can slow this process down by re-sealing the wine properly but you cannot stop it, so the best thing you can do is make sure you drink the wine within the right timeframe. Red wines and heavy bodied whites should be finished within three to five days. Lighter white wines have a bit longer, lasting up to five days.

  1. Store it for too long

Always check the label of a new bottle of wine to see how long you should cellar it for. All wine is different, and while some may be ready to be enjoyed now, others may benefit from cellaring for a few years. But no wine is good if you leave it for far too long and miss the best year to open it. Read the labels carefully and try using wine tags on your bottles so you know at a glance which ones are ready for drinking.

The following ways in which a wine can be ruined cannot be helped by the end consumer. But these points are worth knowing about so you can understand if the wine you have bought is flawed and whether or not you should return it:

  1. Cork taint

When airborne fungi come into contact with cork, it will produce TCA. This is a chemical compound that will unfortunately ruin a good bottle of wine. At least three percent of wines that have a natural cork are affected by this fungus, but if you have a screw top this isn’t something you need to worry about.

  1. Volatile acidity

Volatile acidity is normal in all wines, but only in small quantities. However, if there’s bacteria in the winery the combination of this with the alcohol and oxygen, it can create volatile acidity to levels that will destroy the wine, leaving it tasting sour with a strong dose of vinegar.

  1. Fermenting after being bottled

If a wine is not filtered prior to bottling, there may be leftover yeast and sugar in the wine and this will cause the wine to begin fermenting again in storage. By the time you open a bottle that has been fermenting accidentally you will know due to the tiny bubbles, as well as the bad taste.

  1. Excessive sulphur

Sulphur is important in the winemaking process, especially when it comes to keeping bacteria away. However, too much sulphur can ruin a good bottle of wine. The result of too much sulphur is a wine that can taste or smell like burnt matches or rubber, or in some cases like rotten eggs.

  1. A yeast called brett

Brett is short for a yeast called brettanomyces which tends to grow in the barrels in wineries. It is difficult to fully eliminate brett once it has infiltrated a winery, and so some wineries have actually become known for producing wines that have the distinct flavours that brett can bring. In a small amount, it can be quite pleasant. However, in large amounts it will spoil a good bottle of wine.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

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White wine should be served chilled and red wine should be served at room temperature. Well, that’s the general rule anyway. But what if room temperature happens to be too warm to be enjoyable? Truthfully, red wine should never be served at room temperature in Australia. This rule dates back to when wine was served in European dining rooms in medieval times. Before air conditioning and central heating, those big halls usually sat at a cool 15-18 degrees naturally.

Nowadays, the room temperature refers to the temperature of a European cellar. Even with homes being warmed and cooled, the temperature of the average European cellar is still the same as back in the medieval times. That means when you choose a bottle of red to drink with dinner, you can serve it straight away. In some parts of Europe, the place where they store the wine can be even colder than this, dropping down below 10 degrees. In this case, the wine will need to be bought back up to ‘room temperature’ before being served. It is not uncommon in European households to bring their wine inside the heated area of the house to warm up before enjoying it.

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The myth of room temperature

In Australia, room temperature is much higher on average at 21-25 degrees. If a bottle of red is opened and served in that environment, you will get a strong alcohol taste and it could be quite acidic. If you cool the wine down first, you will unlock the aromas and the optimal taste will emerge. The strong alcohol taste in warm wines will overpower the subtler flavours that are what makes the wine special. It is especially worse in red wines as they often already have a higher level of alcohol to start with.

It doesn’t take long to cool a bottle of red down because it doesn’t need to become cold, it just needs to be cooler than room temperature. Put the bottle in the fridge for 15 to 45 minutes or so, and it will drop to a good temperature. If you usually drink your wine at Australian room temperature, you will notice a really big difference by doing this. You don’t have to get out a special wine thermometer to check that you’ve reached the exact optimal degree, you can just check the temperature sensor on Taylors Estate and Promised Land wines or taste the wine at intervals while it slowly warms up or cools down, and choose the temperature that you enjoy most.

Room temperature variations

Back in medieval times, the only thing that would make a room temperature fluctuate is the outside weather. And even then, it would take a long time for those old stone buildings to heat up. These days, we have a whole host of reasons why a room may go hot and cold. In older homes, poor insulation can account for a hot house in summer and a cold house in winter. The temperature can swing quite dramatically with the changes of the seasons, so anyone storing wine in an older home may find the wine ages faster than what it says it should do on the bottle. Sudden changes in temperature is not good for any wine, which is why bottles are normally stored somewhere constant like a cellar.

There is also an enormous difference in the levels in two-storey (or more) homes. As heat rises, the top level of a multi-storey home can be 8-10 degrees warmer than the ground level. That kind of temperature difference can make a big impact on your bottles of wine if you store them in a room upstairs. Always store wine on the ground level or below if you can.

Another thing that can make an impact on the room temperature in your home is if you have a leaky air conditioning duct. Up to 30% of airflow can be lost through ducts that have even small leaks. Sometimes, it isn’t obvious that you have a leak and as much as you try to keep your house cool it just doesn’t seem to be dropping in temperature. Meanwhile, everything inside the home is getting hotter and possibly spoiling.

High humidity levels can alter the temperature of a room. Dry air, however, can spell disaster for wine that uses a cork. Dried corks will eventually crack, which then allows oxygen to get into the wine before you’ve even opened it.

There are so many variables at play when it comes to room temperature that it would not make sense to have wine served at ‘room temperature’ in different homes or restaurants across the world.

If the temperature in your home fluctuates between extremes, it might be a good idea to invest in a good wine fridge. Choose something that controls humidity as well as temperature, and you will be able to enjoy wine at the optimal drinking temperature no matter what the weather is doing outside.

At Taylors Wines we have developed a unique, touch activated temperature sensor so you can tell when your wine is at the perfect serving temperature to enjoy. Read more about our new Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor and order your FREE sensor stickers today to take the Taylors Temperature Challenge and see the difference for yourself.

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Pouring yourself a glass of wine, and taking that first sip can be one of life’s great pleasures. There are a couple of factors at play here in creating that amazing experience. There is, of course, the taste of the wine. But helping create that overall enjoyable experience is also the aroma of the wine.

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What does wine and a wet dog have in common?

Have you ever heard someone say ‘tastes like a wet dog’? We are willing to bet they have never actually tasted a wet dog, yet this term is used to describe tastes. Why? Because it is said that 85% of your taste is actually derived from your sense of smell. So if you smell something as strong and obvious as a wet dog, you can almost taste it in your mouth. And you can certainly recognise it when something does taste as bad as a wet dog.

The same applies when you have a head cold – your nose is blocked up and you notice that you can’t really taste your food properly anymore.

So although the smell of wine is enjoyable, it is also pertinent to the taste of wine.

When you are wine tasting, if you keep an open mind to the possibilities of what the aroma could bring, you will be amazed at the new world that is opened up to you. Aromas from fruit and plants, through to coffee or spices will present themselves and often there will be a mixture of several scents to take in.

When it comes time to taste a wine, really take the time to work out what aromas and flavours are in each sip. Before trying it, swirl the glass so oxygen will go into the wine, and this will allow the aromas to be released. After a moment, take a sniff from the glass. It is best to leave your mouth open slightly, and to take several short sniffs, but you do whatever works best for you.

If you do several short sniffs, you’ll unlock more of the aromatics in the wine and be able to discern the different layers. Remember, be open minded about what you may be picking up. If you are new to wine tasting it can be a good idea to take a copy of the Davis Wine Aroma Wheel to understand what you might be smelling.

When it comes to aroma, you will see many descriptive terms for what you may taste and smell in the glass of wine. It might be fruits, such as blueberries or cherries, or floral such as roses or geranium, or they might fall into other food categories with flavours like coffee or chocolate, vanilla or pepper.

There are three levels of aroma: Primary (usually what is experienced in a young bottle of wine and the smells are mainly related to fruit), secondary (this relates to the smells that have come about because of the winemaking process)and tertiary (these are related to the smells that appear over time as the wine ages). The secondary and tertiary qualities often come out more in a mature wine as the more primary fruit aromas drop away. These ones are layers that offer more depth and complexity.

 What can influence the aroma?

There are quite a few factors that go into the aroma of wine. It starts with the soil that the vines were planted in and the type of grapes being grown. It ends with how the wine maker chooses to create the wine.IMG_7837

The type of grape used is the determining factor on the kind of wine produced, so therefore has a huge influence on the taste and the smell of a wine. But the same type of grape can produce two very different tasting wines when other factors come into play. For example, a sauvignon blanc that is made in a cool climate region will taste and smell different to one from a warm climate wine region.

Wine produced in warm climate regions will be bigger, bolder, with higher alcohol and less acidity. This is because with more exposure to sun, the sugar content of the grapes increases faster. A cool climate wine will be subtler in taste and aroma, with lower alcohol and higher in acidity.

Other environmental factors that have an impact on the aroma of wine is the soil, the location of the vineyard and whether it is on a sloping or flat block.

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The influence of the winemaker

Two more influencing factors are the maker and the end user. The winemaker will make many decisions that will vary the end result of the wine, such as what yeast to use to ferment, what (if any) type of oak is used and also how long to mature the wine before selling it.

Once the wine reaches the consumer, they will then make decisions that will change the aroma further. Such as what temperature to serve the wine, how long to air it, what glass to pour it into and what food to serve it with.

The taste and the aroma of wine is a complex area thanks to the many elements that go into growing the grapes all the way through to the many different ways you can enjoy a drop at the end.

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We’ve had an interesting start to vintage 2015 with what our vineyard manager, Colin describes as an ‘upside down growing season’.  It was dry early in October, and then cool and mild in December and January with some rainfall.  The opposite is usually the case with October usually seeing the mild conditions and some rain and December and January being relatively warm and dry!  In any case, the stored water in our dams from above average June rainfall meant we were able to irrigate during the dry October months and keep the vines in optimal health.  Whilst moisture levels can be somewhat controlled, we can’t control temperature and sudden and dramatic falls in overnight temperatures usually bring the threat of frost.  As it happened, in mid-October, the Taylor family estate experienced a frost event. And whilst the extent of crop loss in the affected blocks is still to be fully assessed, overall the quality of the fruit developing for vintage 2015 looks to be great.

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Vintage officially commenced at Taylors Wines with processing of fruit for our new sparkling wine – the Taylors Estate Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut Cuvee on January 19th.  On the 3rd of February the first of the fruit for the table wines was harvested; Semillon. Later that same week, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer were picked from blocks on the Clare Valley estate.  The first of the red table wine varieties; Tempranillo was picked on 11th February.  This is earlier than we would have expected but when they are ripe and ready, we are not going to argue!  In fact, this vintage is turning out to be a pretty ‘fast and furious’ affair, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the vintage of 2007.

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One of the great things about our cellars and winery is that they are designed with both gentle handling and capacity in mind so we can happily keep receiving those lovely ripe grapes as quickly as they want to ripen. Embracing continuous innovation is one of our core values so we always have lots of interesting R&D projects on the go.  This vintage is no exception, although one piece of new equipment seems to be causing more excitement than usual.  Our winemakers have collaborated with some forward thinking tank manufacturers to install a new small capacity fermentation vessel.  The unusual thing about this vessel is that it is shaped like an egg!  Now egg-shaped fermenters aren’t exactly new.  What’s new in this case is that it is constructed from stainless steel.  In fact, it’s the first stainless steel egg-shaped fermenter in the world!  We all agreed it looked a bit like Mork’s spaceship.  Now, of course, there have been concrete, clay and porcelain egg-shaped fermenters but the problem with these is the fact that you can keep them as clean as you would like and they are usually very small.  With stainless steel, you can completely sterilize and sanitize them; controlling the ‘zoo’ of microorganisms present in wine making is very important.  And you can make them with larger capacity.  Winemakers generally seek the egg shape fermenter as there is a convection currents created inside the vessel due to the shape during fermentation – this effectively ‘mixes’ the fermenting must without any mechanical intervention – a very gentle and efficient way of extracting all of the colour and flavour that translates into quality wine!  We’ll let you know how our egg-fermented wines turn out!

 

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Right now, the cellars are quickly filling with the gorgeous aromas of fermenting grapes – it really is an exciting time of the year.  I’ve said it before but I’ll happily repeat it – this is what I love about wine. It’s not just a beverage that you can make from a recipe anytime you like.  The grapes ripen as Mother Nature sees fit and the wines we craft from this vintage represents a snapshot in time or history even.  As these ‘fruits of our labour’ go through their various processing, fermentation and maturation stages on the way to being completed, my thoughts often wander to the future and what life will be like when we are enjoying these fine wines from vintage 2015.

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You might have heard of a phrase in education: ‘lifelong learning’. The idea is that your wellbeing improves if you keep learning new things right across your lifespan. Well, when it comes to learning new and innovative ways to grow grapes and make premium wines, we here at Taylors Wines are happy to be known as lifelong scholars. That’s because we humbly recognise that for the craft of viniculture – studied and applied by humans for at least the last 8,000 years – one whole lifetime couldn’t be long enough to learn all that there is to know. So we stay diligently up-to-date with the latest developments in wine craft, doing the best we can to ensure quality and refinement across everything that we do.

Learning at the edge

Like many practices since the early 20th century, viniculture has been greatly enhanced by incredible leaps in technology. At Taylors, we examine and trial new trends in viniculture with a view to continuously improving the taste, quality and integrity of our wine ranges. And because of our proven commitment both to the land and to overall vineyard health, we insist that any innovations not only avoid harming the environment, but also actually put something back. We’re learning more each day about the potential to improve our outputs, both in the vineyard and back at the winery. And that’s great news for enjoyers of wine, who can count on us staying at the cutting edge of developments in wine growth and development.

Developments in precision viticulture

Precision viticulture (PV) is a concept that started to gain traction in Australian winegrowing a few years ago (and just to avoid confusion – viticulture is about growing all types of grapes, for wine, the table and juice, while the term viniculture refers exclusively to wine grape production). The concept of ‘PV’ might seem ridiculously simple – basically, it’s about adapting your practices to suit varying vineyard requirements. Yet for too long in Australia, viticulturists and other primary producers have spent too much time fighting or ignoring the microclimatic realities within and across their paddocks. Precision viticulture promotes the harnessing of new technologies, such as GPS, high-res soil surveys, yield monitoring and remote sensors, in order to provide us grape growers with unbeatable data about individual vine needs. This technology can provide an enormous amount of precise information on moisture levels, soil issues, pest presence, pruning needs, and wind factors, for example. And the outcome for fruit quality and yield can be, well, simply outstanding.

GPS for wine?!

Now this approach isn’t about replacing people with machines – nothing comes close to the five senses, or to a producer’s personal affinity with their vines!

But if we can use technology to learn more about the subtleties of our soil, our vines, and our fruit, then our decisions about growth, harvest and vinification are going to be better informed.

You might ask what does this all mean for premium wine offerings, such as those in our award-winning collection? Well, it means our winemakers are presented with simply impeccable fruit that has been grown on carefully nurtured vines – each planted for optimum results. Water, nutrition and protection needs have been observed and acted on appropriately throughout the entire growth cycle. Plus, harvest has occurred at precisely the perfect time for each varietal. And the environment has received as little burden as possible, with wastage and overplanting issues eliminated. Our winemakers then have the opportunity to work with grapes that they’ve monitored closely right throughout growth and harvest. This gives them the ability to make vinification and fermentation decisions that are perfectly matched to the nuances of each particular vintage. Pretty heady stuff!

And, technological advances are happening all the time. The exciting innovations being talked about in viniculture might sometimes seem a bit pie in the sky – until you start to see examples of new technology coming into being.vineyard-tractor

Pinpointing vine stress

For instance, we were intrigued to hear earlier this year of a device being developed by a West Australian researcher, which monitors real-time vine stress. Now, we all know what a wilting plant looks like – but in the commercial vineyard, it pays to know about any water stress that vines are experiencing long before such visible signs emerge.

Bringing those grapes in pristine, succulent style to the winery is a skill that requires relentless monitoring of moisture, nutrient, pest and weather variables across the growing season. We need all the help available! So, it’s certainly exciting that Associate Professor Rafiei over at UWA is developing a real-time intelligent sensor water stress device that will do a whole lot better than humans at detecting precisely when the vines are under strain from the dry. And irrigation for such vines at exactly the right time prevents the avoidable problems with grape yield and quality if such stress goes undetected for too long.

Water is a constant issue for us primary producers. With innovations such as this emerging, we can conserve water though efficient use, while also enhancing grape yield and quality. That’s got to be a win-win!

Learning every day

We could certainly wax lyrical long into the night about the tremendous innovations coming through in viniculture. You might have guessed that at Taylors Wines, we’re excited to learn everything that we can about how to bring the best fruit from the vineyard straight to our winemakers.

The overall trends of precision viticulture, plus developments like the real-time water stress device, give us confidence that technology for winegrowers is improving every day.

Suffice to say, here in Auburn we intend to stay on the edge of technology, ensuring that our vines are tended and our wines created with knowledge of the best innovations available. If we reduce wastage, improve soil, enhance fruit and deliver premium wines… then every little bit of our learning is worth the effort. We can all raise a glass to that!

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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.

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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.

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