News / Blog
Vintage 2018 is underway!
Vintage 2018 kicked off last week (Jan 25th) with an early harvest of Muscat for our Sparkling Lizzie. This is now fermenting and is looking excellent, if we do say so ourselves! It has beautiful fruit characters, and that refreshing zing that should make a great sparkling wine.
The rest of the whites (Chenin & Viognier) are well on the way too, as well as Shiraz for rosé.
Our red wine harvest is looking like commencing in mid-February. This is a bit earlier than average, but we have had earlier years in the past. Last year was about 2 weeks later, but 2016 was about a week earlier.
Spring is an exciting time in the vineyard. The vines are starting to grow again, and those little green shoots hold the promise of next year's harvest. The season is off to a good start, with just enough rain, at the right time, but let's see what the next 4 or 5 months bring...!
In the winery, Spring means bottling last year's reds, getting Sparkling stocks ready for Christmas, and sending out Cellar club packs.
It is also wine show season, and we've had some great results again this year. Particularly at the Australian Small Winemakers show, where we were thrilled to learn that out of 12 wines entered, we won 4 Gold medals, 4 Silver medals and 2 Bronze medals. The Golds were for our 2014 Storyteller Durif, 2013 Cellar block Durif, 2013 Verrier Durif Shiraz & 2014 Melanie (none are released yet, but previous vintages with similar awards are). Silvers include Petit verdot & Saperavi.
25 years of Anderson winery!
Anderson winery is 25 years old!
Howard planted our first vines in the Spring of 1992, and then opened our Cellar door in March 1993. So we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Anderson winery all the way through from Spring 2017 until March 2018!
You can join the celebration and wish us a Happy Birthday by opening your favourite Anderson wine (or a nicely aged one!), take a photo and either:
- post it to our Facebook page (AndersonWinery) or
- tag us on Instagram (@andersonwinery #andersonwinery)
We'd love to see what you're enjoying for us!
To set the scene for the beginnings of Anderson winery, here's a bit of a list of how Australia was 25 years ago, so you can do a bit of reminiscing with us! (And yes, that photo is of Howard & Christobelle in 1992!).
● Prime minister: Paul Keating
● Top of the Australian music charts: Achy breaky heart by Billy Ray Cyrus
● Movies released: Strictly ballroom, The Bodyguard, Wayne’s World, A Few Good Men, Sister Act, Aladdin (Disney)
● TV show debuts: Bananas in pyjamas, Getaway
● The Gold Logie went to Jana Wendt in A Current Affair. Other winning programs included E-Street, Fast Forward, A Country Practice, Brides of Christ & Burke’s Backyard.
● Average petrol price: 68c/L
● The Australian 1 and 2 cent coins were withdrawn from circulation
● The cost of a postage stamp was increased from 43 cents to 45 cents.
● The population of Australia was 17.5 million (now 24.5 million)
● The West coast eagles were the first non-Victorian team to win the AFL grand final
● The Mabo case, recognising native title in Australia, was decided on June 3, 1992.
● The median house price in Melbourne was about $138,000.
● The average annual individual income was about $30,000.
● The Olympic games were held in Barcelona, where Keiren Perkins dominated the men’s 1500m freestyle.
● Subzero won the Melbourne cup.
● The best selling car in Australia was the Ford Falcon, followed by the Holden Commodore.
● The first SMS text message was sent from a personal computer to a phone.
● Fax was the predominant means for electronic communications.
● There were about 700 wineries in Australia. Now there are well over 2500.
● Howard Anderson established Anderson vineyard by planting 1 hectare of Shiraz vines.
● Christobelle did a Grade 5 school project on the grapevine aphid phylloxera.
● The insulated shed where Anderson Cellar door still is, was built.
● Howard Anderson made 6 wines for his new brand, from purchased grapes, and using the facilities of other local wineries – a Sparkling Pinot noir Chardonnay, a Chardonnay, a Pinot noir, a Shiraz, a Cabernet (labelled “Soft Cabernet”) and a Sparkling Shiraz.
Preservatives in wine
All Anderson wines are low preservative, but what does that actually mean?
The main preservative used in basically all wines is sulphur dioxide. Without it, a wine will oxidise and spoil, and sulphur dioxide has been used to great effect for hundreds of years. Only a very small percentage of the population is actually allergic to sulphur dioxide itself, and the levels found in wine are much lower than in some other foods, such as dried fruit and some processed foods (baked goods, soups etc). For example, the maximum limit in Australian wine is 250ppm (300ppm for sweet wine). Dried apricots can have 3000ppm or more.
Also, contrary to what many people believe, Organic wine can contain sulphur dioxide in Australia. The limit is lower (120ppm), but it is still there.
Sulphur dioxide can be added to wine in 2 ways – as a pure gas (preservative 220), or as a powdered form (Potassium metabisulfate 223). Most wineries use the powdered form, as it is much easier to add (plus it’s necessary for machine harvested grapes, as gas is impractical in the vineyard). However, we believe that some people (ourselves included), do have a reaction to Potassium metabisulfate, but not pure Sulphur dioxide.
Unfortunately it is not necessary to declare which method of addition has been used on a wine label – it only legally needs to say “Contains sulphites”.
At Anderson winery we only use pure Sulphur dioxide gas (220), and even though we are not certified, we stay within the organic limits of 120ppm.
Saperavi - an ancient grape
We are very excited to be releasing our first Saperavi!
If you've never heard of Saperavi, you're not alone. However, it is an absolutely fascinating variety, both in it's history and in it's taste.
Saperavi is the major premium red grape variety of Georgia, where they have been making wine for more than 8000 years, using large clay pots called qvevri. But this ancient grape has only fairly recently been introduced to Australia, and there are still only about 20 producers of it here. These 20 or so wineries are scattered around Australia, and are in a range of climates (including Rutherglen, McLaren vale, Barossa, King valley, Adelaide hills, Granite belt).
Unlike some other grape varieties which can have quite a narrow ideal climatic range, Saperavi seems to have quite a broad climatic range (Shiraz is another example with a broad range). It just makes a different style of wine depending on whether the region is cooler or warmer.
In Rutherglen we are warm climate, and our Saperavi makes a lovely rich red wine with quite distinctive aromas and flavours of dark cherries & bramble berries, beetroot, and warm spices.
In the vineyard, Saperavi vines can even have a kind of ancient look about them. Particularly in our dryland situation, their shoots can be quite nobbly, like old arthritic fingers.
The grapes themselves are quite unusual too as the flesh itself is coloured as well as the skins. Most red grapes have a clear flesh (like white grapes), and all the colour is in the skins. The name Saperavi literally means "dye" or "paint".
Saperavi wine has quite a unique flavour, and even though it is quite a robust red, we find our Saperavi doesn't go particularly well with plain grilled or barbequed meat. It needs some kind of sauce or marinade, preferably with some component of acidity (vinegar, tomato, citrus, pomegranate etc). We are still exploring the world of Saperavi wine and food matching ourselves, so there'll be a few more "research" bottles consumed yet!!
Vintage over for 2017
Vintage is over for another year, and we're very happy with how our 2017 wines are looking!
The grapes are picked, fermented & pressed, but the vintage winemaking work is not quite complete yet. The big job in May is to take all our 2016 reds out of barrel and put the 2017s in. This might sound simple, but because we work with such small individual batches, it is always a juggling act getting it all to work out right. For example, we can't have 2 and a half barrels of something, so it is like a big puzzle where you have to fill up a certain number of 220L, 300L & 480L barrels with different volumes of individual wines, without combining any wines to achieve this, and without having too much left over. And then you have to consider the age of the barrels each wine goes into too, as that has a big impact on the finished wine (newer oak = more flavour).
I think I deserve a prize when I work it out!! Certainly a (large) glass of wine anyway!
James Halliday's 2017 Wine Companion
We have attained a Five star rating by James Halliday, and been named as one of his "Ten Dark Horse Wineries" for 2017. We achieved this rating with:
95 for our 2008 Cellar block Shiraz
95 for our 2008 Cellar block Petit verdot
94 for our 2008 Verrier Durif Shiraz
The story behind our Storyteller label
Our new release 2013 Storyteller Durif is a special wine - not only because of all the awards it has won, but because of the story behind the label.
Our Storyteller label is in honour of our multi-generational family pet, Cocky. Cocky was a Major Mitchell Cockatoo who was born in 1940, and died in 2013.
Over the course of his 73 years, he knew 4 generations of our family, and had a lot of stories to tell about what happened in the backyard!
Like all cockatoos, Cocky was boisterous and cheeky, and also very intelligent. My great-grandparents were obviously well spoken, as Cocky did not swear (the closest he got was if he was really hungry / impatient, his "Cocky wanna nut" would progress to "I wanna nut" and then occasionally to what sounded like "I wanna narkin nut!").
2016 Rutherglen Wine Show trophies
We have won the trophies for:
- "Best Rutherglen Red wine up to 3 years old"
- "Best North East Victorian Red wine up to 3 years old", and
- "Best Oak matured North East Victorian wine" (red or white, any age)
at the 2016 Rutherglen Wine Show with our 2013 Verrier Durif Shiraz.
This is the third time in five years we have won the two "up to 3 years old" trophies (won in 2012 with our 2010 Verrier Durif Shiraz and 2013 with our 2010 Cellar block Durif).