It is interesting to note that the Australian Wine Industry is becoming more diverse. There was a time when many thought that a few large companies would end up owning all the wineries in Australia, but it hasn’t happened and doesn’t look like happening in the near future. There are many independent wineries that have sprung up and are determinedly going about their business in their own way, and, of course, there is “The First Families of Wine Group” that includes some of the great names of wine in Australia, Brown Brothers, Tahbilk, McWilliams, Henschke, Yalumba, Tyrrells, etc. These companies seem determined to stay independent, and long may they do so.
Some wineries are excluded from this group because they lack an iconic wine or have not been going for long enough. Two such wineries are 919 in Berri SA and Angoves, nearby in Renmark SA. Angoves don’t have an iconic wine but they have some of the best value wines on the market, and an extensive range. They are working hard with their winery in McLaren to tick the iconic wine box. The cellar door in Renmark is always worth a visit and the staff are very helpful. The unusually named 919 winery is just outside the pretty town of Berri on the Murray River and is a small producer of Durif, and Petit Manseng amongst other more common varieties. (Petit Manseng is the new number 1 favourite of The Farmer’s Wife.) The name of the winery comes from the lot number on which the winery sits. The owners informed me that they had tried all the names they really wanted and found them all spoken for, so they decided, after consuming copious amounts of their own wine, that the lot number 919 would do. We will be hearing a lot more from them in the future.
But returning to my original statement, we are still seeing new and exciting grape varieties being introduced into Australian wineries, and they are finding a good home in certain areas. One that appeals to me is the Italian variety Aglianico. I was immediately taken with it when recently trying it in Italy, and was then pleasantly surprised to see it is available in Australia. Chalmers make an excellent version of Aglianico in their winery near Mildura, but there are others available cellar door.