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The History of St Andrews Vineyard…

For over 40 years, from 1891 until 1934, the St Andrews vineyard at Auburn was one of the leading wine producers in the Clare Valley.  The property was developed by two Scotsmen, John Christison (1849-1911) and David Alexander Lyall (1860-1956) and was named in honour of the patron saint of Scotland, St. Andrew.

On the 21st of September 1891, John Christison and David Lyall purchased Sampson Montgomery’s 323-acre farming property at Auburn with the intention of planting vineyards and orchards. Planting began at St Andrews in 1891 and continued for the next two seasons. By 1895 St Andrews had 115 acres of vineyards and 19 acres of orchard and it was already being referred to as ‘a model farm’. One agricultural journalist wrote, ‘The vineyard and orchard are the best laid out plantations it has been my privilege to see in South Australia.’

The suitability of the land for vine growing was recognised from the outset. To quote a contemporary writer of the time (1896), ‘The character of the country changes a good deal through the vineyard, but the bulk is a light loamy soil containing a quantity of decomposed slate, and this rests on a clay sub-soil. But occasionally there are belts of limestone subsoil, and wherever this is the case the 2½ year old vines have made wonderful growth.’

Ernest Whitington of The Register wrote in 1903, ‘The valley of the Wakefield contains some of the finest land in South Australia.  It does one’s heart good to drive through it.’

The grape varieties planted at St Andrews were Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Mataro, Cabernet Gris and Zante Currant (used mainly for dried fruit). In good years they produced up to six tons of dried currants. The orchards were planted to apples (900 trees), plums (600 trees) and apricots (300 trees).

Construction of the stone, gravity flow winery and cellars began in 1895 and it was used for the first time in the vintage of 1896 when 3500 gallons of wine were made (15,911 litres). The original wine cage was the hollow log of a large gum tree and the press a 1.5 tonne log which worked as a lever.  Production of wine increased rapidly over the next few years – 10,000 gallons in 1897, 15,000 gallons in 1898, increasing to 28,000 gallons in 1903.

Historic St. Andrews winery - circa

Additions were made to the cellars in 1897-98 bringing the storage capacity to 65,000 gallons. A cooling system was introduced that same year.

In 1896, a reporter from the Observer wrote; ‘The Wakefield River runs through St Andrews, and Mr Lyall has ingeniously diverted a small stream for irrigation purposes.  The sight which met our view upon entering the property was delightfully refreshing and cheering…’

The winery cellars were described in 1897:  ‘The cellars are on the hill side, are well built, and every care has been taken in arranging, so that the whole work is done by gravitation.… The cellars are three stories high, one being underground, and the second storey is half underground. The cellar, casks, and everything connected with the cellar are scrupulously clean, and the wines sampled by us proved, without doubt, that Mr Lyall is determined that the St Andrew’s wine will make a name for South Australia.’

And the St Andrews wines did became very well-known. Christison & Lyall concentrated on making a light claret style wine for the export market with much of the wine being exported to England. They also produced ‘a very fine fruity port’ for which there was strong local demand.

Ernest Whitington from The Register, reported in The South Australian Vintage 1903, ‘Only the best sorts of vines are planted at St Andrews and most of them are trellised. In every way, the vineyard is worked on the most up-to-date scientific principles… The winery and cellars are well built, substantial and fitted with modern appliances… Mr Lyall has succeeded in making a first-class wine at St Andrews and it is admirably suited for the export trade…He is one of the most popular men in the district and everyone wishes him the best of luck.’

In August 1907 David and Emily Lyall purchased John Christison’s interest in the business. By 1910 the storage capacity of the winery had grown to 80,000 gallons, making it the second largest winery in the Clare district. The winemaker from 1919 to 1926 was Michael Auld, later Managing Director of Stonyfell Wines (1943).

Vintages in the 1920s produced up to 28,000 gallons of wine. The last vintage was in 1932. The Lyalls sold St Andrews in March 1934 to pastoralist Joseph Kenworthy. David Lyall retired to Walkerville. He died at Medindie on 27 August 1956 aged 96; buried at North Road Cemetery.

Joe Kenworthy was more interested in livestock grazing and race-horses than wine production and most of the vineyards were pulled out. He developed a Merino stud at St Andrews and converted the winery into a woolshed.  The St Andrews house was rebuilt in its current two-storied form in 1939. The Kenworthys were great supporters of the local community. They would often give the use of their place for a annual fundraising events.  Joseph Kenworthy died in 1943 aged 70. His funeral cortège travelled from St Andrews to the Auburn Cemetery.

Mrs Blanche Kenworthy remained at St Andrews for a further 30 years following her husband’s death. Mrs Kenworthy, who became one of the largest landowners in the district; died in May 1972.  In 1959, prior the Mrs Kenworthy’s death, the homestead and some of the Kenworthy’s land passed to Lawrence and Daphne Iskov. (Daphne was Blanche Kenworthy’s grand-daughter).

The Taylor family quickly recognised the potential of the adjacent St. Andrews property when they were first establishing their vineyards in the Clare Valley, and wanted to make it a part of the estate.  So, on 2nd of November 1995 the family purchased the property and became proud custodians of a piece of Australian wine history. They immediately set about the task of ‘recreating history’ and began restoring the property to its original purpose, a vineyard to produce handcrafted wines that stand alongside Australia’s iconic wine names and proudly showcase their Clare Valley origins.

The St Andrews vineyard now forms part of the overall Taylor family estate, which consists of 750 hectares in total with over 400 hectares under vine, planted in the finest terra rossa soils.

St.Andrews Original Winery

On Taylors St Andrews wines…

In 1999 the first of the Taylors St Andrews wines were released, including a Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Riesling.  Fruit for the St Andrews wines is selected from those blocks on the family’s estate that consistently produce the finest examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Riesling.

The Riesling is predominantly sourced from the St Andrews vineyard – block A80 and A81; an east-facing, sheltered site on the southern border of Watervale.

The Shiraz is predominantly sourced from two gently west facing sites; The 40 acre block (one of the oldest on the estate) and the St Andrews vineyard – block A30; a block that has been delivering fruit quality deemed ‘from heaven’ and so nicknamed ‘God’ by the winemakers.

Chardonnay is sourced from the St Andrews vineyard – blocks G30 and V20; a north-eastern site planted to French chardonnay clones that consistently delivers wine of greater ‘palate completeness’ and ‘elegance’.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is predominantly sourced from the St Andrews vineyard – block A60 and A70 block; vineyards that whilst basking in the sheltered warmth of the river flat still yield very shy bunches of tiny berries, resulting in those highly concentrated varietal fruit flavours sought by the winemaker for the flagship range.

St Andrews Range

The consistency of quality that these blocks deliver along with optimal viticultural techniques and a handcrafted approach to winemaking allow the unique site characteristics to shine through, making the St. Andrews wines a true reflection of what is known as ‘terroir’.  Indicative of the family’s commitment to producing a benchmark Clare Valley wine, the St Andrews wines are released only in what are deemed ‘exceptional’ vintages and with the Clare Valley region’s climate being what it is, this occurs more often than not.

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At the Taylors family winery, things are ‘full steam ahead’ as far as vintage 2017 goes with things progressing steadily and without incident.  The weather for January saw reasonably mild conditions with only 7 days registering a maximum temperature greater than 35°C and temperatures well in line with long term averages for the region.  Overall for the month we received almost 52 mm of rainfall, just under half of that we received in 1 day on the 20th January!  That day the temperature was also high – around 36°C – which can be problematic as these conditions tend to promote mildew diseases but Mother Nature was on our side and the temperatures quickly plummeted overnight to 21 °C for the next day coupled with reasonable winds – helping to dry out the canopies and dissipate humidity.  In any case, our vineyard team worked diligently to keep on top of any potential outbreaks and as a consequence, we saw no evidence of any mildew issues on the estate.

HarvestingPicforMarchpost_Mar2017

The harvest commenced at our Clare Valley estate on the 1st of March as usual with a white variety; Pinot Gris.  The following day, we harvested Pinot Noir for sparkling base – which is technically a white wine too.  The winemakers were pleased to be able to use some new picking bins specifically designed to protect the juice from picking up any colour.  They have what is essentially like a sieve fitted inside the bin and any free run juice is protected from skin contact by draining through the holes in the sieve, collecting in the bottom to be syphoned off prior to being tipped into the press. These new bins will also be employed when the Pinot Noir for our Rosé wines are harvested, resulting in much better control of colour & phenolic pickup during the harvest and ultimately a more delicate wine.

Riesling was the next variety to be harvested on the 5th of March, quickly followed by Chardonnay and by the 24th of March, all of the white varieties from the estate had been harvested bar the Viognier.  We pick that at the same time as the Shiraz as the two varieties are co-fermented for our Eighty Acres wine.  Meanwhile, we commenced harvesting the first red variety from the estate, Tempranillo on the 8th of March.  Things quickly picked up from there with the team picking good quantities of both Shiraz and Merlot from the 10th of March.  The first of the Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate was only harvested yesterday on the 28th March and with the mild, sunny conditions promising a lovely long ‘hang time’ for the Cabernet Sauvignon – which bodes well for the wines we’ll produce.

At the time of writing, we’re only around 40% of what we intend to pick from the estate and as a comparison, this time last year, we were almost 85% through!

As far as the harvest from our grower partners in other regions go, Shiraz from McLaren Vale is the only one to reach 50 % completed so far.  We still have quite a bit to come in from the Adelaide Hills and also our Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra for the Jaraman range.  This is often the last fruit to come in over vintage.  With the weather holding beautifully for the foreseeable future, it’s certainly been slow and steady but you know, that’s just how we like it!

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Did you know even if you are a wine aficionado, there is a very good chance that you are drinking your wine at the wrong temperature? It is a common mistake to go by the old ‘rule’ that red wine should be served at room temperature and white wine should be served straight from the fridge.

The truth is, red wine should be served at what is called ‘cellar temperature’, which is actually cooler than the room temperature most people aim for. And while white wine should be chilled, straight from the fridge is actually too cold.

The idea about serving red wine at room temperature actually hails from Europe. There, a good bottle of red will be served directly from the cellar where in actual fact, the temperatures are quite a bit cooler than those of an average room in Australia. Especially in summer! The temperature of wine from the cellar ranges between 15 to 18 degrees. This is actually the optimal drinking temperature of most varieties of red wine. However, average (climate controlled) room temperatures in Australia are usually between 23 – 25 degrees and of course, when outside in the typical Australian summer, a lot warmer!

If you cool a bottle of red wine down slightly to bring it to 15 – 18 degrees, you will notice a big difference in the taste and the overall experience will be much improved. Try one of these methods on your favourite bottle and enjoy the new flavours and aromas that are unlocked.

View our taylors-wines-optimum-drinking-temperature-guide to check the perfect serving temperature by varietal.

Taylors Wines Optimum Drinking Temperature Guide

 

Pop it in the fridge

The refrigerator may feel like a place reserved only for white wine or bubbles, but you should also make room for the red. As odd as it feels, the next time you wish to enjoy a bottle of red, pop it in shortly before serving. Don’t leave it for too long, just 15 minutes will do the trick. Any longer is not ideal, but if you do forget about it and go overtime just take it back out and let it warm slowly via room temperature. If you’re pushed for time, the freezer is another option. Wet a tea towel and wrap it around the bottle before placing it in the freezer to speed the process up a bit.

Decant before the fridge

If you have guests pop in unannounced, you may find waiting 15 minutes for the wine to cool in the fridge is too long. Not a problem, simply decant the wine first. Smaller amounts of liquid will cool much faster than a whole bottle. Pour the wine into the individual glasses and place them carefully into the fridge. This is especially pleasant on a hot day as the whole glass cools down and keeps the wine at the right temperature for a tad longer.

Chilled ‘rock’ cubes

Plopping an ice cube into a good glass of red wine is guaranteed to get you some eye rolls from people. But if done with those cool little cubes of marble usually reserved for whisky, you can chill your red just enough to get it to the right temperature without ruining the taste. Pop the chilled ‘rocks’ in to cool the wine down and then simply take them out and pop back into the freezer to use again another time.
Another idea is to use frozen grapes. Place clean frozen grapes into your glass and you will still get the full effect of an ice cube but without watering the wine down. It can also be a cute talking point at your next dinner party. Worst case, use an ice cube but make sure you take it out before it melts and ‘waters’ down the flavours in your wine.

If you are not at home

If you are camping or having a picnic and your bottle of red is a bit on the warm side, you can use nature to your advantage. On a really cold day, you can simply keep the bottle outdoors and it will gradually cool down to the right temperature. Or if there is a stream nearby, place the bottle in carefully for about half an hour until it has cooled. Turn the bottle occasionally to cool it down faster.

Wine in snow.jpg

Use a gadget

There are several gadgets on the market designed to either cool your wine down fast, or keep it cool on those hot days. There are electric ice buckets that can make a bottle cold in just 3 minutes, frozen sleeves to keep the bottle cool while it is on the table and frozen wine glasses designed to keep each serve refreshingly cool for hours. But you can’t go past the Corksicle Air, a plastic icicle full of gel that you freeze and then put into your wine. It won’t make a warm bottle of white go cold, but it will cool down a red to the desired temp or keep the white cold for longer. It will also aerate your wine while it pours.

White wine lovers

If you are drinking your white wine straight from the fridge, you are having it too cold. Most refrigerators are set to around 4 degrees, but most varieties of white wine should be served between 8 and 10 degrees. You should allow your white wine to warm up slightly before enjoying it. This can be done simply by taking the wine out of the fridge around half an hour before serving it.

When in doubt, always serve the wine a little colder than what you think it should be. Anything out of a fridge will eventually warm up, but it won’t become cooler on it’s own.

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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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.

V15 Season Rainfall chartV15 Season Min Temp chartGrowing Season Statistics - vintage 2015

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.

vintage-2015-1

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!

 

vintage-2015-2

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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The house is spotless, music is selected and delicious treats await your guests. Yes – it’s party time! But the big question remains – how will you select the best range and style of wines to complement your do? Well of course there are a number of different types of gatherings, from the rowdy get-together with mates, to the classic dinner party or cocktail soirée. At Taylors Wines, we’re rather fond of a knees-up ourselves, and certainly ensure that the wines selected are perfect for our guests. Here are our best tips for getting your wine selection right for your next event.

Crowd pleasers

Taylors Estate SparklingYou hear them before you see them sometimes… Those initial guests approaching your informal shindig on the deck. Over the sounds of the acoustic duo in the corner, those throaty laughs and tottering heels can be heard approaching the door. Then fairy lights are gleaming in the eyes of the crowd, as the numbers swell and the music starts to lift the party tempo. Now, you might be wondering which wine will be perfect to kick-start proceedings. Well, with all of this fresh and vital energy on your deck, what better way to start your party than with some crisp bubbles? Our signature sparkling, the Taylors Estate Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut Cuvee, provides the essence of citrus freshness, backed up on the mid palate with smooth notes of butter and vanilla.

Keeping with the white wine theme for several hours, you can provide a no-fail selection of Moscato, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc to match the light and summery morsels on your menu. With these choices, you can even take advantage of the temperature scale in our fresh new-look whites in the Taylors range. So, indoor or outdoor, you’ll be able to get your serving temperatures just right.

Later when everyone is getting a little philosophical down around the fire pit, a smooth red like the St Andrews 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon will be the perfect wind-down drop.

That subtler style

Now it tends to happen that as we grow up, our parties can become a little quieter. Not that we’ve become ‘mild’ rather that ‘wild’… it’s more a matter of starting to appreciate the finer things. And that’s when the magic of dinner parties comes to the fore. Candlelight, some cool music on the surround sound, and your guests are ready to enjoy proceedings. As the first course commences, an aromatic Riesling will prove the perfect accompaniment to delicious salads, light meat dishes and summer seafood ensembles.

Taking the night forward, the talk tends to liven up as friends old and new connect on the issues of the day. The main dish provides a chance to get adventurous and team that gorgeous savoury number with a bottle or two of a perfectly blended red.

Our 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Malbec Cabernet Franc from the Taylors Winemaker’s Project will delight all palates, with blackcurrant and plum notes melding beautifully with your feast.

And as the chat and laughter continues into the night, you can match chocolate, fruit and cheeses with both structured whites and smoother reds. For example, a classic cheese fondue (not that we’re showing our age!) will be best friends with a younger Chardonnay. And you certainly can’t go wrong with a 2012 St Andrews Shiraz to bring your terrific night to a close.

Mingling moments

Cocktail parties, buffet events and wine soirées have their own special magic. These ‘stand and mingle’ parties provide a number of unique benefits. Firstly, everybody has a chance to don their sequined numbers, lounge suits and coiffed hair, then walk about – and actually be seen! Waiters can start by bringing round that fail-safe, icy delight of a great Australian sparkling. This is the domain of canapés, where those glasses of bubbles cut beautifully across delicious and mysterious bites. Whether pastry, balsamic capers, caviar, or salmon with soft cheese – there’s no canapé that a well-structured sparkling can’t handle. Chandeliers glitter and glances are exchanged across the room. Those swishing skirts and alluring jewels move effortlessly about, as a selection of classic whites and light reds are then presented.

Consider the sophisticated elegance of the Taylors Estate Chardonnay, its enticing white peach, citrus and tropical fruit flavours overlaying toasted cashew and creamy nuances from fine French oak will prove irresistible. Red wine aficionados will be swept away by a younger Tempranillo or an opulent Merlot. These standing soirées tend to be short but memorable. And with your array of tantalising and creative refreshments, this is one ‘happening’ that will be spoken of for quite some time.

The party art

There are a couple of key elements to the perfect party. And remember – good preparation will prevent your blood pressure rising on the night. Even that casual deck party needs ice, plates and cutlery! Also consider your guests, and how the food and wine might complement this crowd – relaxed and young? Professional and quiet? When selecting your wine, you can take into account the length of time before eating and how this might impact upon your choices. Food of course is key, as is the season. Make sure that hot summer nights have a greater white to red ratio (unless you’re concocting luscious chilled sangria). And where canapés or tapas are the order of the day, a pleasant sparkling or light Moscato might be the perfect selection. But most importantly, as the guests wander in – relax. You’ve prepared well. Now let the party begin!

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As the weather begins to warm, a natural restlessness can tend to kick in.  So, what better time to shake up your wine selection with something a little new? With something fresh and perhaps a touch unusual? We think it’s a perfect time for us to showcase one of the newer white grapes being cultivated in Australia – Vermentino. A Mediterranean grape of medieval heritage, Vermentino is a wine of delicious, citrusy crispness with awe-inspiring food-matching capabilities.

Inspired voyage

wine-vermentinoIt’s interesting that we think of Vermentino as ‘new’ in terms of Australian winegrowing experience, yet it is certainly ‘old’ in the grand scheme of world winemaking. Like most wines, there is a bit of an historical tussle about the exact provenance of Vermentino grapes. In all likelihood, cuttings of the Vermentino vine first went from Spain to Italy in the 1300s. Medieval sailors took this precious botanical cargo to the Ligurian Coast, via the rocky island of Sardinia. With only 11km between Sardinia and the French isle of Corsica, it was inevitable that this promising white vine also made its way up into Corsica and through the greater French wine regions.

With all of this sea travel, it is perhaps not surprising that Vermentino goes by many names in Europe, such as Rolle and Favorita. But it was the Italians – led by the Liguria and Sardinia regions – who embraced and developed Vermentino to its magnificent best. Winemakers there became excited and encouraged by the striking golden wine that began to emerge from this hardy white varietal. Importantly, Vermentino handled heat like a champion, maintaining acidic balance and flavour integrity in the warmest of Mediterranean seasons. With a tang of citrus plus a fresh maritime minerality, Vermentino became a perfect companion for those long al fresco evenings of Italian seafood and antipasto under the stars.

Old and new

Now Australia, like many other nations, took a little longer than Italy to discover the promise of Vermentino. The first vines began to be planted here in the 1990s, as Australian vintners recognised the hardiness and heat-handling capabilities of this aromatic white. It is a testament to the character and quality of this grape that even in this short time, Vermentino has been moving from an obscure ‘alternative’ varietal to one that is becoming a go-to summer drop for discerning Australian consumers. With parts of our climate emulating the warm and breezy Mediterranean regions, Vermentino has once more travelled across the seas to find a new land in which to shine.  And at Taylors Wines, one of our greatest joys is sourcing fine Australian grape varietals – old and new – and working to create premium wines of quality and integrity.TWP_VER_bottle-CMYK(A4)

Lovely summer drop

Our winemakers have taken the ‘old’ aspects of Vermentino’s Mediterranean heritage and combined them with the very best of Australian growing conditions and oenology.

Within our TWP range, we’ve been drawn instinctively to the possibilities for Australian Vermentino grapes to deliver extraordinary white wines. Knowing that the SA Riverland region produces champion fruit, we source the best of the Vermentino crops from this region for our TWP maestros to work with.

Now the way that we work here is by respecting the past as well as embracing the best that the modern era of winemaking offers. Analysing the fruit in the field gives us the opportunity to apply classic techniques, such as early morning cool harvest and initial whole berry pressing.

Then, with an eye to the delicate flavours of the Vermentino, appropriate yeast strains are painstakingly selected for the cold fermentation. Throughout vinification, our wine makers utilise state-of-the-art techniques to preserve the fine balance and textural nuances of this fine white.

And sure – they sometimes develop a friendly rivalry as they work tirelessly towards revelation of Vermentino’s many virtues… but that’s okay! As we find across the TWP range, our keen winemakers are passionate in their pursuit of an excellent drop, hewn from an unbeatable combination of heritage, technology and beautiful fruit.

An Italian pairing

Vermentino creates a wondrous match with a wide selection of foods. Interestingly, a complex mid palate and that fine acidic tone both work together to facilitate perfect pairing – not only with light summer food, but also with some more full-flavoured morsels. So feel free to team your Vermentino with a spicy laksa, chorizo tapas or well-herbed barramundi. In fact, across the board of seafood cuisine, Vermentino is a loving partner to your entire summer catch of crustaceans, mackerel, calamari and oysters. And of course that hearty Italian platter of antipasto, replete with marinated artichoke hearts, semidried tomatoes, sardines, and chilli olives, absolutely begs for accompaniment with a crisp and lime-tinged Vermentino. Before you know it, you’ll think you’re sipping away on a pristine Sardinian headland, watching the aqua Mediterranean roll gently by… sigh…

 New seasons

It’s safe to say that we continue to be excited and delighted about the quality of our Australian Vermentino. This is a wine that brings to mind freshness, new beginnings and breezy summer enjoyment. With a clarity and structure that sees Vermentino’s fine acidity hold across even the most challenging season, this is a white to be enjoyed in the prime of its younger years. Buon Apetito!

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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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