The 20th Canberra International Riesling Challenge starts today

One of the biggest international promotions of Riesling starts today at the Albert Hall in Canberra, Australia.

The Riesling challenge has attracted 502 entries from 228 wineries from across nine Riesling-producing countries.

Judges from China, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia will rate the wines by region, country, and the world over three days, with results announced this Friday evening at an awards ceremony at the Hotel Realm.

The week will conclude with one of the biggest consumer tastings of Riesling in the world.

A feature of this year’s entries is what may be the first-ever entry from China to an Australian wine show.

“… one remembers the early days when Riesling was regarded as a cheap low-quality wine. Riesling’s profile is now that of the greatest white wine in the world” states CIRC chair James Service

Riesling Week Events

  • Judging: 14-17 October 2019: Albert Hall, Yarralumla – Media only
  • Riedel Riesling Master Class: Thursday 17 October 2019, 6.00pm – 9.00pm at the Hotel Realm
  • Awards Presentation: Friday 18 October 2019, 5.30pm – 7.00pm at the Hotel Realm
  • Hotel Realm Riesling Dinner: Friday 19 October, 7:30pm, Buvette Restaurant, Hotel Realm
  • ActewAGL Trade and Consumer Tasting: Saturday 19 October 2019, 11.00am-3.00pm Albert Hall, Yarralumla

rieslingchallenge.com

Fall WestJet wine tasting at The Kelowna International Airport (YLW) 

The Fall Okanagan Wine Festival kicks off tomorrow. One of the first signature events is October 5th’s Fall WestJet Wine Tasting at YLW in the Carson Air hangar at Kelowna International Airport.

The event will have the largest capacity of any indoor wine tasting in the Okanagan, at a venue that will be quite memorable.

Details

Location: Carson Air hangar – Kelowna International Airport

Time

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

List of some of the participating wineries

Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery

Lake Breeze Vineyards

The View Winery

Rollingdale Winery

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery

Little Straw Vineyards

Quails’ Gate

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards

Dirty Laundry Vineyard

River Stone Estate Winery

Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Recline Ridge Vineyards and Winery Ltd.

House of Rose Winery

Volcanic Hills Estate Winery

Ancient Hill Estate Winery

Black Hills Estate Winery

Sandhill

Hester Creek Estate Winery

Red Rooster Winery

Okanaganvilla Vineyards and Events Corporation (The Vibrant Vine)

St Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery Ltd.

For further details and tickets:

https://www.thewinefestivals.com/events/view_event/1893/9961

 

Australian Cabernet Sauvignon Insights

According to Wine-Searcher, Australia produces seven of the world’s top 10 value Cabernet Sauvignon. Based on wines with at least a 90-point rating + and dividing the rating by the wine’s price, Cabernet Sauvignon from Australian regions Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Langhorne Creek and Margaret River out-performed wines from international competitors Napa Valley and Bordeaux.

This comes on top of Australia’s strong performance at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards. Of the 27 gold medals awarded to Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia received the most with seven golds ahead of France and South Africa.

Gold medals awarded to Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards:

Australia 7
France 4
South Africa 4
Chile 3
China 3
USA 2
Italy 1
Romania 1
Bulgaria 1
Israel 1
Total 27

Did you know that Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most planted grape variety?

According to IWSR, Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s largest selling variety with 163 million cases (9-liter case equivalents) sold across the globe in 2018. Cabernet Sauvignon is Australia’s second most planted red variety behind Shiraz.

In 2019, while the overall Australian grape-crush declined by 3 percent, the Cabernet Sauvignon crush increased by 3 percent to just over 250,000 tonnes and reflecting growing demand, the average purchase price of Cabernet increased by 14 percent to $846 per tonne. Reflecting the premium nature of Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 % of the Cabernet Sauvignon purchased by Australian wineries was at prices above $1500 per tonne (vs 7 % for all grapes).

Australian Cabernet Sauvignon is shipped to over 114 markets around the world, with China and the United States the two biggest export destinations with a combined 70 percent value share.

The premium status of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon is also evident in the latest export figures. Exports of Australian single variety Cabernet Sauvignon averaged A$6.71 per liter in 2018–19, well-above the total average for all red wines of A$4.54 per liter. Australian Cabernet Sauvignon was destined for 114 markets

According to IRI Worldwide, in 2018–19, sales of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon grew 6 % in value in the USA’s off-trade market, double the overall Cabernet market growth rate of 3 %. For Australia, the strongest growth is coming at US$8–14.99 per bottle and, albeit off a small base, above US$25 per bottle.

The Clones
Wine Australia is also investing in R & D into Cabernet Sauvignon. The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) is currently into the final year of a three-year project, ‘Cabernet Sauvignon trials to evaluate response to climate and management.’ Three field sites of Cabernet Sauvignon plantings will be established in contrasting climates and soils. Each will contain at least 10 Cabernet Sauvignon clones that will be selected in collaboration with the sector and monitored to ensure that vines are well-established.

In the future, clone performance will be evaluated via a range of parameters including vine phenology, vegetative and reproductive growth, water relations and berry traits. The construction of the trial will allow comparison between different clones at the same site and between the performance of each clone in different.

SARDI
https://pir.sa.gov.au/research/about_sardi

Wines Australia
https://www.wineaustralia.com/

Wines on the Wing 2019 Results are in!

Just a few months ago, I was judging at the 2019 Wines on the Wing international airline wine competition, one of the world’s most respected wine award competitions for first class and business class on international flights throughout the world.

This year it was held at City Winery, New York back, along with twenty-three wine professionals.

The process:

To participate in Global Traveler’s competition, airlines throughout the world that operate long-haul international first-class service and/ or business-class service are invited to submit two white wines, two red wines and one Champagne or other sparkling wine currently on their wine lists, as well as the wine lists themselves. The same rules apply to our North America category, which includes airlines with first-class and/or business-class service beginning and ending in North America. All wines are coded and divided into flights, or categories, according to their type. For example, all New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc submitted would be judged together, as would all Rioja. Wines are presented to judges in code-marked glasses. Judges are told only the type of wine and, when appropriate (vintage Champagne, for example), the year. If judges feel a wine is flawed, a reserve bottle is poured.

Each wine is judged on a modified Davis 20-point scale. The judges’ individual scores for each wine are added and averaged, and the averaged scores of an airline’s submissions are totaled. Individual wines with the highest scores and the airlines with the highest total scores win Wines on the Wing awards.

The organization committee, which is chaired by my friend and colleague, Eunice Fried, tallies up the scores. American Airlines received the highest score among first-class international service for 2019.

“This award is a direct reflection of the investments we’ve made in the premium customer experience, and American is honored to be recognized by Global Traveler,” said Janelle Anderson, vice president, Global Marketing, American Airlines. “Together with our master sommelier, Bobby Stuckey, we focus on designing a wine list that will give our guests something new while also providing them with wines from their favorite regions.”

To achieve this honor, Bobby Stuckey and Intervine, the airline’s wine management partner, taste more than 1,600 wines from 16 countries each year. In total, the airline opens 1,320,000 bottles annually on its first- and business-class international flights.

Among American’s highest-scoring first-class wines were Champagne, Bollinger La Grande Année 2008; the whites Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet 2015 and Simonnet Febvre Les Clos Chablis 2014; and the reds RoseRock Pinot Noir 2015 by Drouhin Oregon, and Masi Riserva Costasera Amarone Classico 2012.

The highest-scoring airline among international business-class service entries was Etihad Airways. Its Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut tied for top place among business-class Champagnes, while its Château Moulin Haut-Laroque 2012 was the highest-scoring red wine in business class, and its Grosset Springvale Riesling 2016 finished among the highest-scoring business-class white wines.

“These prestigious awards give us the opportunity to showcase our innovative beverage portfolio,” said Linda Celestino, vice president, Guest Services and Delivery, Etihad. “Our boutique inflight cellar focuses on Old- and New-World wines with a range of both subtle and intense flavors, ensuring we offer wines to delight all palates.”

Singapore Airlines did remarkably well, with high-scoring wines in nearly every category. It ranked among the five top-scoring first-class airlines, while its Champagne and a white wine finished among the best in their categories. It is also one of the highest-scoring business-class airlines, its wines among the top Champagnes and red wines.

Our commitment to the traveler is at the forefront of our in-flight wine program, and it gives us great pride to be named one of the top five scoring airlines in Global Traveler’s airline wine competition,” said Betty Wong, divisional vice president, Inflight Services and Design, Singapore Airlines. “We want to keep the palates of our frequent flyers excited with a new label delivered on board every few months. Our wine consultants source small-batch wines, many previously unavailable in flight. We are particularly pleased to see the fine showing of our Meursault and Château Tour Haut-Caussan wines.”

Judges included:

CESAR BAEZA is an oenologist and a consultant for the wine industry. A native of Chile, he studied winemaking there and in France, Spain and California and worked at several wineries. For 20 years he was wine master and co-owner of Brotherhood Winery in New York.

JOHN BRECHER is senior editor of Grape Collective. He and his wife, Dorothy Gaiter, were wine columnists at The Wall Street Journal from 1998 to 2010 and are also the authors of four books on wine.

J. SCOTT CARNEY, MS, is the dean of wine studies at the International Culinary Center. The center has schools in New York City and in Silicon Valley, California.

BETH COTENOFF, DWS, a senior vice president at R/West, has 20 years’ experience in wine and spirits. She worked in Paris and with Sopexa/Food & Wines from France. She earned the WSET diploma in Wine & Spirits and is a certified wine instructor.

JOHN FANNING is general manager of Hakkasan, New York. He has been wine director and/or general manager of other restaurants in New York including The Lambs Club, SD26, Accademia di Vino, Il Trulli, Beppe, Felidia, Coco Pazzo and Palio and in Rome, Bramante and San Michelle.

FRED FERRETTI is a wine and food writer whose articles have appeared in many national publications. Formerly a New York Times reporter, he was also a columnist for Gourmet magazine for many years.

XAVIER FLOURET is owner of Cognac One, LLC., a national wine importer and New York wine wholesaler. The company focuses on sustainable and organic privately owned wine estates throughout the world that specialize in the best expressions of terroir and wine appellations.

DAVID FRIESER, the fine wine purchaser at Park Avenue Liquor Shop in Manhattan, is a frequent wine lecturer and has been professionally involved with wine for more than 30 years.

DOROTHY J. GAITER is senior editor of Grape Collective. She and her husband, John Brecher, were wine columnists at The Wall Street Journal from 1998 to 2010 and are also the authors of four books on wine.

CURTIS GREEN is president and founder of TenFolk Enterprises, a wine education and marketing company created to broaden interest in wine among African Americans. He also publishes SlitelyChilled.com, the online magazine geared to the African- American wine drinker.

DAVID LECOMTE is chief winemaker at City Winery. A native of France’s Rhône Valley, he earned degrees in viticulture and winemaking in France and worked in French, American and Chinese wineries before making wine in the heart of Manhattan.

As president of the Wine and Spirits Program, HARRIET LEMBECK has taught consumers and wine trade personnel for 35 years. She is the author of the 6th and 7th editions of Grossman’s Guide to Wine, Beer and Spirits and is a contributor to Beverage Dynamics Magazine.

GILLES MARTIN serves as the winemaker and director of operations at Sparkling Pointe Winery on Long Island, New York, and as a consultant to many other Long Island wineries. French-born, he studied winemaking at Montpelier and has worked at Roederer Estate and Delas Frères.

DAVID MILLIGAN is president of David Milligan Selections, representing fine French producers. In the wine trade for more than 30 years, he began his training in England. He also served as president of Seagram Chateau & Estate Wines.

KATHERINE MOORE, FWS, is general manager of Union Square Wine & Spirits, a large retail shop in Manhattan.

President of her own company, Cornerstone Communications, MARSHA PALANCI has managed media relations emphasizing wine for 20 years. Previously she served as vice president for Schieffelin & Co., where she worked with Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon and Marqués de Riscal.

LIZ PALMER is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Champagne. She is also a wine journalist and global wine judge, founder of UPSocial Wine and Spirits Agency, President of Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario, and on the board of FIJEV – Paris.

On the staff of Heights Chateau, a wine shop in Brooklyn Heights, for more than 20 years, JUDITH RUNDEL takes part in wine-buying decisions, coordinates the Wine of the Month Club and writes the shop’s website. She also conducts wine tastings and classes.

ARNO SCHMIDT has been the executive chef of New York’s Waldorf Astoria, The Plaza and other famous hotels. In that capacity, he has organized numerous wine and food events. Born in Austria, he has worked in hospitality since 1946.

BOB SHACK is owner and president of HB Wine Merchants/R. Shack Selections and of Clos Robert Winery in Sonoma, California. Formerly he served as vice president and manager of the Premiere Wine Merchants Division of Rémy Martin Amerique for 20 years.

WILLIAM SHORT is regional manager, New York, for Dreyfus Ashby & Co., a fine-wine importing company. At 36 years, he is the longest-tenured salesman in the company’s history. Before joining the wine field, he taught school for 10 years.

AYELE SOLOMON is the winemaker and a pioneer in honey wine at his company, Bee D’Vine, in California. As well as still honey wine, he recently released the world’s only sparkling honey wine.

PAMELA WITTMANN is the principal of Millisime, Ltd., her 17-year-old public relations and marketing firm specializing in helping foreign wineries enter the U.S. market. With degrees in oenology and in business, she has worked in wineries and wine sales.

Here is a list of the winning wines, which were recently announced:

TOP INTERNATIONAL FIRST-CLASS WINES ON THE WING
1. American Airlines
2. All Nippon Airways
3. Air France
4. Singapore Airlines
5. Etihad Airways

TOP INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS-CLASS WINES ON THE WING
1. Etihad Airways
2. United Airlines
3. Aeromexico
4. All Nippon Airways
5. Tie: Air Tahiti Nui
Singapore Airlines

TOP CHAMPAGNES INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. Krug Grande Cuvée (Air France)
2. Bollinger La Grande Année 2008 (American Airlines)
3. Tie: Krug Brut 2004 (All Nippon Airways)
Krug Brut 2004 (Singapore Airlines)
4. Tie: Lanson Black Label Brut (Delta Air Lines)
Charles Heidsieck Brut 2006 (Etihad Airways)

TOP CHAMPAGNES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. Tie: Jacquart Brut Mosaïque (Aeromexico)
Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut (Etihad Airways)
2. Tie: Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve (Air Tahiti Nui)
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve (Singapore Airlines)
3. Tie: Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut (Aeroflot)
Laurent-Perrier Brut (Air New Zealand)
4. Ayala 2009 (United Airlines)
5. Lanson Black Label Brut (Delta Air Lines)

TOP FIVE WHITE WINES INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault 2016 (Singapore Airlines)
2. Joseph Drouhin Chassagne- Montrachet 2015 (American Airlines)
3. Simonnet Febvre Les Clos Chablis 2014 (American Airlines)
4. Domaine Laroche Chablis 2014 (All Nippon Airways)
5. Domaine Verget Pouilly-Fuissé 2017 (All Nippon Airways)

TOP FIVE WHITE WINES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. Bouchard Père et Fils Mâcon 2016 (All Nippon Airways)
2. Grosset Springvale Riesling 2016, Australia (Etihad Airways)
3. Domaine Verget Mâcon-Villages 2016 (Air Tahiti-Nui)
4. Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 2017 (United Airlines)
5. Casa de Compostela Alvarinho 2017, Portugal (TAP Air Portugal)

TOP FIVE RED WINES INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. Château Léoville-Barton 2012, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux (All Nippon Airways)
2. RoseRock Zéphirine Pinot Noir 2015, Drouhin Oregon, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon (American Airlines)
3. Château Giscours 2011, Margaux, Bordeaux (All Nippon Airways)
4. Château Lynch-Bages 2008, Pauillac, Bordeaux (Air France)
5. Masi Riserva Costasera Amarone Classico 2012 (American Airlines)

TOP FIVE RED WINES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. Château Moulin Haut-Laroque 2012, Fronsac, Bordeaux (Etihad Airways)
2. Tie: Bramare Malbec 2013, Argentina (Etihad Airways)
Château Rauzan-Ségla 2006, Margaux, Bordeaux (Singapore Airlines)
3. Château Haut-Caussan 2015, Médoc, Bordeaux (Singapore Airlines)
4. Petit Castel 2017, Domaine du Castel, Israel (EL AL Israel Airlines)
5. Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Sonoma, California (Aeromexico)

BEST NORTH AMERICAN FIRST CLASS/ BUSINESS CLASS WINES ON THE WING
1. American Airlines
2. United Airlines
3. Aeromexico
4. Delta Air Lines

BEST NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPAGNE/SPARKLING WINE
1. Jacquart Brut Mosaïque (Aeromexico)
2. Ayala 2009 (United Airlines)
3. Mionetto Prosecco Brut (Delta Air Lines)
4. Lanson Black Label Brut (American Airlines)

BEST NORTH AMERICAN RED WINE
1. Battle Creek Cellars Pinot Noir Reserve 2017, Oregon (Alaska Airlines)
2. Château Villotte 2016, Bordeaux (United Airlines)
3. Antica Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa, California (Delta Air Lines)
4. Tie: Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Sonoma, California (Aeromexico)
Hall Merlot 2015, Napa, California (American Airlines)
5. RoseRock Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir 2015, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon (American Airlines)

BEST NORTH AMERICAN WHITE WINE
1. Joseph Drouhin Saint-Véran 2017, Mâcon, Burgundy (American Airlines)
2. Decoy Chardonnay 2017, Sonoma, California (Aeromexico)
3. Gravelly Ford Chardonnay 2017, California (United Airlines)
4. J. Hofstätter Pinot Bianco 2017, Alto Adige, Italy (American Airlines)
5. Rued Chardonnay 2018, Sonoma, California (Alaska Airlines)

BEST ALLIANCE WINES ON THE WING
1. oneworld
2. Star Alliance
3. SkyTeam

Georg J. Riedel Honoured by Wine Spectator Magazine

10TH GENERATION GLASSMAKER ACKNOWLEDGED FOR “DISTINGUISHED SERVICE”

Writing in Wine Spectator, News Editor Mitch Frank states how Georg Riedel “revolutionized how we drink wine by spreading the gospel of his family’s wine glasses”. Georg educated tens of thousands of wine drinkers on the benefits of varietal-specific glassware and brought financial stability to the company in the 1980s through savvy business development and an evangelist’s approach to marketing his products.

“I am sincerely grateful to Wine Spectator for offering me this outstanding reward and it is an honor to be named in line with the most respected personalities of the wine and food industry,” says Riedel. “I am not the first Austrian, but the first glassmaker to be called to the Wine Spectator Olympus, and am very proud to share the honor with my team and family.”

Riedel follows luminaries of the global wine community in his receipt of the award and stands apart as the first glassmaker to receive the accolade. Past honorees include Julia Child, Robert Mondavi, Christian Moueix, Angelo Gaja, Francis Ford Coppola, Andre Tchelistcheff, fellow Austrian Wolfgang Puck, and Californian Governor Gavin Newsom – larger-than-life personalities whose contributions to the wine and culinary world are innumerable.

The Riedel family’s business began in 1756 when Johann Leopold Riedel (3rd generation) founded a glass factory in Bohemia (in what is today’s Czech Republic). In 1945, the successful family business came to an abrupt end due to World War II, when all German possessions were nationalized and German-speaking people expatriated.

In 1956, some two hundred years after the first factory was opened, Walter Riedel (8th generation) and Claus Riedel (9th generation) were offered the unique opportunity to take over the bankrupt glass factory Tiroler Glashütte in Kufstein, Austria. It was in this new period that Claus Riedel became known as the first glass designer to create wine-friendly glassware. His designs were launched from the 1950s to the 1970s, and continue to have a major impact on today’s universally known glass shapes.

Georg Riedel (10th generation, born 1949) joined the family business in 1973 as the company’s accountant. At an early stage, he became passionate about wine and how glass shapes profoundly influence the perception of wine’s aromas and flavors. Gifted with fine senses and supported with strong commercial talents, he quickly took over the company’s direction, developing varietal specific glassware.

At the same time, a New World wine boom created new demand and highlighted new wines of classic varietals grown on foreign soils. The launch of Riedel’s first machine-made line, VINUM – the perfect wine glass at a popular price level – built the foundation for a solid future for the company.

Georg opened his first subsidiary as importer and distributor in the USA in 1979 and have since opened eight more around the globe including China, Japan, and Australia. He was the first to approach wine distributors to represent the Riedel brand, which grew the company’s presence around the world to over 100 countries. As a shrewd businessman, without bank loans and using accumulated company cash, Riedel acquired the then much larger glass companies Nachtmann and Spiegelau in 2004. With this takeover came the opportunity for Riedel to produce all glasses in the company’s own factories.

Today, Georg’s children Laetizia, a solicitor and Maximilian, the current CEO, are the Riedel team members responsible for directing and guiding the family business as the 11th generation.

Source: Riedel, Austria