Eric Vivian Thomson receives Victorian wine honour

Eric Vivian Thomson, fondly known as Viv Thomson amongst wine industry peers, has been announced Legend of the Vine Victoria at the annual WCA Melbourne Wine Show Awards Lunch. Thomson comes from a long line of winemakers and received ‘Legend of the Vine’ status for his service to the wine industry as one of Australia’s longest serving winemakers.

“Viv has made an outstanding contribution to the wine industry and is a highly respected figure amongst his wine peers in Australia,” said WCA National Chair Angus Barnes.

“His list of accolades, including his 2014 Order of Australia Medal, is a true reflection of where his reputation sits within the industry, and why he is recognised as Victorian’s newest Legend of the Vine.”

Thomson descends from one of Victoria’s most successful wine families dating back five generations. Born and raised in Swan Hill, Thomson moved to Great Western as a six-year-old boy where his grandfather owned Concongella Vineyards in Great Western. Winemaking has always been a part of Thomson’s family – in 1920 his grandfather purchased Best’s Great Western where Thomson has spent majority of his career managing operations and acting as chief winemaker.

A graduate of the acclaimed Roseworthy College in South Australia, Thomson spent three years studying agriculture before deciding it would be worth taking a crash-course in winery analysis. After returning from two years abroad, he joined his father Eric running the vineyard and making wine at Best’s Great Western, and managed two wineries 230 kilometres apart from each other, one at Great Western and one at Lake Boga.

Since entering the winemaking role in 1962, he has completed 51 consecutive vintages and was acknowledged for his service to the wine industry, awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the General Division as a part of the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

During the Christmas period, Thomson would close the doors of Best’s Great Western as there was no cellar door to manage. He spent a week behind closed doors examining each barrel to ensure it was meeting industry expectations and would virtually plan a 12-month program for the business before pre-harvest.

Best’s now operates across six vineyard blocks including Rhymney Vineyard, Concongella, Thomson Family Block, Nursery Block, Barts and Marcus and The Hill Block. The winery’s Concongella and Nursery Block was planted in 1868 by Henry Best, Best’s Great Western original founder.

Thomson now considers himself the elder statesman of Best’s Great Western since handing over the reins of the business to his eldest son Ben. Viv has been recognised by the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival as a “legend” for his services to the wine industry and was also President of the Victorian Wine Industry Association for many years.

Flavoured sparkling water in a can

Mount Franklin is extending its Lightly Sparkling offer in time for summer, with the launch of ‘Mount Franklin Lightly Sparkling’ Hint of Natural Flavours in a 250ml Can.

 Ideal for health-conscious consumers seeking icy-cold refreshment, the ‘Mount Franklin Lightly Sparkling’ Can range includes three delicious natural flavours – a hint of Lime, Raspberry or Mango, all with no sugar, no preservatives and no sweeteners.

 The flavours selected have strong consumer appeal, and the slim 250ml Can helps retain the light bubbles, chills fast and stays cool, offering a refreshing sensorial experience to encourage trial and drive repeat purchase.

 Mount Franklin’s Senior Brand Manager, Kara Morrow said “Mount Franklin Lightly Sparkling Cans are a fantastic innovation. The cans are very distinctive and will be noticed by anyone seeking great tasting and refreshing beverages.”

For retailers, the pack size and format represents a new opportunity in this category, offering a great tasting range of products at an affordable price point. The sparkling water market also offers plenty of room to grow, with almost 1 in 2 surveyed not having tried it in the previous 12 months.

The launch is supported by a multi-channel marketing campaign encouraging consumers to ‘Crack open the NEW taste Australiahhhhh’. Radio hosts Hamish and Andy will front a campaign across the HIT network, and ‘Mount Franklin’ will stage a nationwide sampling program at key summer hotspots and activate through out of home & in-store touchpoints.

 ‘Mount Franklin Lightly Sparkling’ spring water with hint of natural flavour is available now in 250ml Can size for immediate consumption and 4x 250ml multipacks to take-home, delivering icy-cold hydration on-the-go or at home this summer.

Session Ale joins Coopers Beer Family

Coopers Session Ale is a refreshing summer style beer with tropical fruit notes and an aromatic hop character  from the Galaxy and Melba hop varieties used in this brew. It will be available in keg to the on-premise (hotel) trade around Australia from October 9.

Coopers National Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said Session Ale had been developed to meet the growing demand for fruity, easy-drinking summer style beers and filled a niche in Coopers’ unique range of ales.

“Session Ale is brewed using Coopers’ traditional secondary fermentation process that eliminates the need for additives or preservatives,” he said.

“Being secondary fermented, the beer will also have the slightly cloudy appearance of our unique traditional ales.

“Our brewers have used pale and wheat malt and a combination of Galaxy and Melba hops along with a “secret ingredient” to brew Session Ale.

“The hops have been added late in the brewing process for bitterness and then dry hopped to extract flavour and aroma. This gives a moderate level of after-palate dry-hopped bitterness to balance the estery flavours produced by the famous Coopers Ale yeast.”

The beer has a golden straw colour and an alcohol level of 4.2 per cent.

The release of Session Ale follows earlier limited releases of Family Secrets Amber Ale and Brew A IPA to the on-premise market.

Mr Pearce said while Amber Ale and IPA had been released under the Thomas Cooper’s Selection label, Session Ale has been released under its own distinctive rondel (ale label) making it an obvious and distinct member of the family, alongside Sparkling Ale, Pale Ale, Stout, Dark Ale and Mild Ale.

“We believe Session Ale has the potential to become very popular among consumers looking for a premium quality, refreshing, summer-style beer,” he said.

 He said Session Ale’s distinctive blue Coopers rondel would be readily spotted in hotels stocking the beer.

International Riesling Week Starts in Canberra

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

The 18th Canberra International Riesling Challenge (CIRC) during the week 9 -14 October, will see the judging of 517 Rieslings from 225 wineries across seven countries.

Then winemakers, consumers and the wine trade can learn about the secrets of the golden wine, Riesling, at a Master Class, before the week concludes with one of the biggest consumer tastings of Riesling in the world.

Judges from Germany, USA, New Zealand, and Australia will rate the wines by region, country and the world over three days with results announced on Friday evening at an Awards ceremony at the Hotel Realm in Canberra. The judges of this this year’s entries will be John Belsham (NZ), Steve Baraglia (South Australia), Greer Carland (Tasmania), Alison Eisermann (NSW), Steffen Schindler (Germany), Trent Mannell (NSW) and Jim Trezise (USA).

Chair of the CIRC James Service AM said the Riesling Challenge has always prided itself on its ability to attract first class judges. Having three international judges again this year is indicative of our success in positioning the Challenge as a leader in the industry.

Riesling is the most flexible of grapes making a wide range of styles from very dry to sweet dessert wines and even sparkling wines. It is the wine which most reflects the terroir of the vineyard where it is grown. For this reason the Riedel Riesling Master Class (Old and New, Rieslings from Germany and Canberra District), will follow the pattern of showcasing Riesling trends and styles from an international competitor country and from an Australian Riesling region.

The Hotel Realm will hold a Riesling dinner where their Chef will match food with rare award winning Australian Rieslings. Bookings are essential for the events taking place at the Hotel Realm, Barton, on Riesling Friday, 13 October 2017 (by email or phone, details below).

The Challenge is a truly international event, and unique to Canberra. Its longevity and popularity reflect the growing interest in Riesling in all of its styles among consumers and producers. Join us during the Challenge and enjoy some golden wine, Riesling.

Redeveloped 2018 Drinks Industry Show tailored to industry needs

Extensive pre-show industry research has resulted in a redesigned 2018 Drinks Industry Show that will deliver the sector the innovative, high-level boutique event it’s looking for.

The redeveloped show takes all the very best elements of the trade-only event, and incorporates a host of new features.

Event Director David Paterson, of Exhibitions and Trade Fairs Pty Ltd, said, “In preparation for next year, we undertook extensive industry research.  As a result, we’ve completely reinvented the show – right down to the opening hours attendees prefer: 11am-8pm.

“The show will give on and off-premise buyers of alcohol the ideal platform to meet and engage with suppliers of independent, craft product from Australia and across the globe. What we have planned for 2018 will achieve exactly that.”

Mr Paterson said the redeveloped 2018 show will be a highly useful business event that captures the industry’s energy and forward focus.

The show will also relocate to Dockside in the heart of Sydney’s thriving Darling Harbour entertainment district.”

Mr Paterson said successes from 2017 will be retained and augmented.

“The industry-leading workshops, seminars and taste testings will remain. There was very strong feedback about the quality of the speakers and the seminars, with both exhibitors and visitors valuing these educational components. Our 2018 program will be even stronger, addressing key industry trends and challenges. It’s a unique opportunity for the drinks trade to discuss and have their say in their industry’s future direction.

We’ll build on the networking event and next year run two, a welcome reception and a closing reception. Connected with that, we’re planning a Summer Party to bring the trade together over a glass, and share the exciting changes taking place for this boutique show.”

He said other major changes in 2018 would be a focus on “product first”.

“To match industry desires for this event, we’ve revised the floor plan and stand set-up. Exhibitors will be zoned according to their product type, with section numbers capped to ensure a complete market cross-section for our discerning buyers, and to present them with maximum value. Visitor quality will equally be a focus, with VIP buyers qualified and personally invited in line with their purchasing potential.”

Exhibitor space will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We’ve devised a new uniformed stand model, too, where exhibitors are allocated personalised suites of equal size. It’s a stress-free exhibiting option for our suppliers and really does ensure product comes first.

“Exhibitions offer instant engagement with a target audience in a live environment, making them one of the most effective forms of marketing there is. The re-branded, redeveloped 2018 Drinks Industry Show will be the place to discover the latest products and knowledge to help grow Australian drinks-trade businesses across in this exciting, fast-moving industry, from craft breweries, cideries, boutique wineries and spirit distillers.”

The redeveloped Drinks Industry Show will be held from 18-19 June, 2018, in Sydney.



Spirits sector welcomes lifting of drinks restrictions for small bars

The spirits industry has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement to remove the current restrictions on small bars in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross from serving neat spirits and cocktails not listed on bar menus after midnight.

This decision means that from this Sunday, 1 October, Sydneysiders and visitors will be able to enjoy their favourite drinks exactly how they like them in some of the world’s best bars after midnight.

Sydney’s small bars have always had strong compliance and safety records. The move to lift spirits restrictions from these venues that contribute significantly to Sydney’s night time economy has been supported by major spirits producers, bartenders, small bar operators and craft distillers alike:

David Smith, Managing Director of Diageo Australia and Chair of Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia said, “We’ve been seeing cultural change in the way Australians consume alcohol for some time now. A rising premiumisation trend and consumers choosing to drink better rather than more has seen them embrace cocktail culture.

“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction for much needed liquor reform and equal treatment of spirits in line with wine and beer. A patron who wants to sip on a neat serve of a wonderful whisky or bourbon, or enjoy a fantastically crafted cocktail, will again be able to order it after midnight in their favourite small bar – just like they can order a schooner of beer or a glass of wine.”

Martin O’Sullivan, Chair of the Small Bars Association and owner of Grasshopper Bar, said, “This is an important step and we welcome the NSW Government’s announcement. Small bars are revolutionising the way people drink, creating a more sophisticated setting for people who want to unwind. Some of the best small bars in the world are here in Sydney.

It never made sense in a global city like this to explain to a customer they could only have a nip of whisky past midnight if I mixed it with coke. Small bars specialise in premium spirits, so these changes will help our industry grow and contribute to a vibrant but safe night-time economy.”


Wine awards – gold medals announced

The finalists of the 2017 Pier One Sydney Harbour NSW Wine Awards have just been revealed, and the 22nd annual NSW Wine Awards has unveiled one of the most exciting and diverse ranges of new gold medal wines on record.

In fact, 58 gold medals have been awarded this year, to wineries from 10 different NSW wine regions and to wines made from Semillon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Vermentino, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Barbera, Merlot and Durif, as well as blends of the above!

“We have indeed had a great result for both the show and our state’s wineries this year, with a high proportion of gold medal winners highlighting the quality and diversity of NSW wines available out there,” said President of the NSW Wine Industry Association Tom Ward.

“This is in no way a result of us trying to punch up the wine and make everyone a winner; a gold label is a level of trust for the consumer and our gold medals have to be seriously earned.

“That is why getting such a high profile and experienced panel of judges is so important. This year we were thrilled to have Dave Brookes as our Chief Judge, leading a panel of 8 other expert judges from across Australia, and 6 associate judges.

“We have also introduced a more hi-tech scoring process with an iPad based system from the Australian Wine Research Institute. This has enabled us to really get the best out of the judging – correlates all the scores in one system and monitoring judges high and low scores – and be as efficient as possible.”

Announcement of the 2017 Trophy winners will take place on Friday 27 October at the NSW Wine Awards Presentation Lunch at Pier One Sydney Harbour.

List of gold-medal-winning Finalists  (in alphabetical order) 

Agnew Wines 2017 The Ridge Semillon

Hunter Valley

Agnew Wines 2017 Winemakers Selection Semillon

Hunter Valley

Angullong Wines 2016 Fossil Hill Barbera


Ballinaclash 2016 Edward Shiraz


Berton Vineyards 2016 Reserve Botrytis Semillon


Bimbadgen 2017 Signature Palmers Lane Semillon

Hunter Valley

Bit O Heaven 2016 Think Outside The Circle Cabernet Sauvignon


Briar Ridge Vineyard 2016 Limited Release Tempranillo

Hilltops / Hunter

Brokenwood Wines 2016 Forest Edge Vineyard Chardonnay


Brokenwood Wines 2017 Forest Edge Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc


Calabria Family Wines 2016 Calabria Private Bin Vermentino


Calabria Family Wines 2016 The Boxer Bin 11 Durif


Collector Wines 2015 Marked Tree Red Shiraz


Coolangatta Estate 2011 Wollstonecraft Semillon

Shoalhaven Coast

Courabyra Wines 2013 805 Sparkling


De Bortoli Wines 2015 Noble One Semillon


De Iuliis Wines 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon


De Iuliis Wines 2016 LDR Vineyard Shiraz, Touriga Nacional

Hunter Valley

De Iuliis Wines 2017 Special Release Grenache


First Creek Wines 2013 Winemakers Reserve Semillon

Hunter Valley

First Creek Wines 2015 Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay

Hunter Valley

First Creek Wines 2016 Winemakers Reserve Semillon

Hunter Valley

First Creek Wines 2017 Harvest Semillon

Hunter Valley

Highland Heritage Estate 2016 Fume Blanc


Hungerford Hill 2016 Pinot Gris


Lerida Estate 2016 Canberra District Shiraz


McWilliam’s Wines 2013 Barwang Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon


McWilliam’s Wines 2014 Single Vineyard Shiraz


McWilliam’s Wines 2015 1877 Shiraz


McWilliam’s Wines 2015 842 Chardonnay


McWilliam’s Wines 2016 660 Reserve Chardonnay


Mino and Co 2013 Growers Touch Botrytis Semillon, Chardonnay


Montoro Wines 2013 Pepper Shiraz


Montoro Wines 2015 Pepper Shiraz


Moothi Estate 2017 Riesling


Moppity Vineyards 2016 Escalier Shiraz


Moppity Vineyards 2016 Estate Shiraz


Moppity Vineyards 2017 Lock & Key Rose Nebbiolo, Sangiovese


Mount Majura Vineyard 2017 Riesling


Mount Pleasant Wines 2011 Lovedale Semillon

Hunter Valley

Nugan Estate Pty Ltd 2014 Cookoothama Shiraz


Nugan Estate Pty Ltd 2014 Manuka Grove Durif


Robert Stein Winery 2017 Dry Riesling


Rowlee Wines 2016 Chardonnay


Shaw Vineyard Estate 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz


Tamburlaine Wines 2016 Orange Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon


Tamburlaine Wines 2017 Preservative Free Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot


Trentham Estate Wines 2016 Shiraz

Murray Darling (NSW)

Tulloch Wines 2016 Cellar Door Release Sangiovese

Hilltops / Young

Tulloch Wines 2017 Cellar Door Release Vermentino


Tulloch Wines 2017 Hunter River White Semillon

Hunter Valley

Tulloch Wines 2017 Julia Limited Release Semillon

Hunter Valley

Two Rivers Wines 2017 Wild Fire Chardonnay

Hunter Valley

Tyrrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd 2005 Vat 1 Semillon

Hunter Valley

Tyrrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd 2013 Vat 47 Chardonnay

Hunter Valley

Tyrrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd 2015 Belford Chardonnay

Hunter Valley

Tyrrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd 2017 Belford Semillon

Hunter Valley

Windowrie Estate 2016 Family Reserve Shiraz


Coca-Cola launches sugar-free Coca-Cola Plus Coffee

Australians will be the first in the world to taste the new Coca-Cola Plus Coffee – available as a limited edition over summer.

“Australians have a love affair with coffee so we thought why not give them more of what they want – the great taste of Coca-Cola with a dash of real coffee from Brazil,” Coca-Cola Australia spokeswoman Lisa Winn said.

Winn said the new flavour will start to roll out to stores from today.

“It’s a fresh take on the delicious taste of Coca-Cola Classic but with the unmistakable aroma of real coffee and some subtle caramel undertones.

“Just like the real thing, the delicious taste of Coca-Cola Plus Coffee is best served icy cold.

“And for those watching their sugar intake the good news is that Coke Plus Coffee is completely sugar free.”

Winn said the launch follows the standout success last year of the company’s most recent limited edition flavour, Coca-Cola Ginger.

“Coke Ginger was a huge success in Australia and it was inspired by the simple insight that Australians enjoy the taste of ginger drinks. The launch of the new Coke Plus Coffee follows a similar path to market – we know Australians love their coffee,” she said.

Winn said for many Aussies, it will be a popular alternative to a second cup of coffee in the afternoon.

“If it sounds like it packs a punch – people might be surprised. Coca-Cola Plus Coffee actually has much less caffeine than the same amount of a regular latte or flat white but a little more than Classic Coca- Cola.”

Coca-Cola Plus Coffee No Sugar will be available nationally as a limited edition product from September 26, 2017.

Aussie Wine Week makes its mark in the US

The inaugural ‘Aussie Wine Week’ headed to the US this month, with sixteen winemakers travelling to New York and San Francisco to showcase their wines at a series of trade, media and consumer events.

The week–long event kicked off a suite of early activities in the US and China delivered under the Australian Government’s Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the Package) – a one-off allocation of $50 million aimed at driving demand for our wine exports and showcasing Australian wine tourism.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said the early activities are part of a broader program of   sector–led events, designed to capture the growing enthusiasm for Australian wine in our largest and growing export markets.

“Our fine wines are gaining attention in the US, with exports growing by three per cent last year due to a rise in the average value of bottled wine exports. We’re maintaining this momentum by partnering with Australian wineries and exporters to deliver a series of early activities that showcase our diverse and quality styles of wine,” said Clark.

Speaking about Aussie Wine Week, the General Manager of Marketing at Wine Australia Stuart Barclay said, “The event was a terrific opportunity to kick start our program of activities for the US and China markets.”

“The event, alongside other trade activity taking place in the market, has given the US market a new thirst for Australian wine and we look forward to keeping the momentum up as we roll out our broader strategy for the Package over the next three years.”

Following the official launch of the Package in August, a three–year strategy is being developed by Wine Australia, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Australian Vignerons to guide the broader program of sector–led wine export and tourism activities.

In anticipation of the strategy being finalised later this year, Wine Australia received approval to commence some early activities in the US and China as the appetite for Australian wine gains momentum. Future opportunities will be communicated after the strategy is approved.

Australia’s first smart drink wins global beverage award

Smart drink Shine+ has been rewarded for its charitable efforts at the World Beverage Innovation Awards.

Taking home ‘Best Corporate Social Responsibility’, the Sydney born start-up was recognised for its partnership with ‘Water Is Life’ – providing one day of clean drinking to someone in need for every bottle of Shine+ sold. To date the company has already donated over 250,000 days of clean drinking water.

The World Beverage Innovation Awards are designed to celebrate excellence and innovation across every category of the global beverage industry. Presented at Drinktec 2017 in Munich, Germany, the judging panel considered over 200 entries from over 33 countries in 25 categories.

The company was also a finalist in the ‘Best New Beverage Concept’ category, competing with conglomerates such as Pepsi Co and Diageo.

“It’s a real honour to be a part of this prestigious event, and an even greater one to win an award. We feel incredibly lucky that all our hard work has been recognised and for such a vital cause. Over 780 million people in the world lack access to safe water and it was core in our vision to build a way we could also give back as well as help everyday Australians be at their best,” said CEO & Co-Founder of Shine+, Stephen Chapman (pictured, right).

Inspired by the rising consumer demand for healthy functional beverages and ways to reduce mental fatigue and stay sharp, Shine+ leads the way in a growing market of natural nootropics. Designed to increase alertness, clarity, concentration and memory, nootropics are clinically proven to improve cognitive function – becoming very popular in Silicon Valley and Ivy League Schools.

The drink contains natural ingredients such as Ginkgo Biloba, Green Tea Extract (with L-Theanine), Turmeric and other ingredients known to support mental function such as Siberian Ginseng and Vitamins B6 and B12.

The company is on track to achieve their goal of selling one million bottles in their first year of operation, and therefore donate one million days of clean drinking water to people in need.

Shine Smart Drink Bottle

Final week for entries to Sydney International Wine Competition

Wineries have one more week to enter the 38th Sydney International Wine Competition – the only international wine show that judges all its finalists in combination with appropriate food.

Entries need to be submitted by Friday 22 September. Competition entry is eligible from wine producers from around the world, with entries capped at a total of 2000 wines to ensure the most rigorous judging process.

Already, wineries from a record 13 countries have submitted wines, with all the major wine-producing countries represented, along with smaller producers such as Greece, Israel and Turkey. This year, entries have included 57 individual grape varieties, another record.

Judging will take place from 9 – 13 October, and provisional award and trophy winners will be notified by the end of October.

Online entries can be made via the competition’s website, which contains full details of the judging criteria and judges’ comments on all award winners from the 2017 competition.

With no minimum production requirements, this show is particularly applicable to experimental and small makers to test their wines alongside wines from major producers.

This year’s competition will be judged by an international panel of fourteen highly experienced and credentialed judges which includes five Masters of Wine, with Kym Milne MW returning as Chair of the judging panel.

New judges to the competition are Mike DeGaris, Corey Ryan, Natasha Hughes MW, Matthew Deller MW and Tan Ying Hsien MW, who qualified as Singapore’s first-ever Master of Wine in 2015.

They join returning judges Kym Milne MW, Stuart Halliday, Sue Bastian, Warren Gibson, Brent Mariss, Ken Dobler, Meg Brodtmann MW and Oliver Masters.

Renowned Chef Michael Manners will once again develop menus for the final rounds when wines are tasted “with appropriate food”.

Cerise Pink Gin by Bass and Flinders Distillery

Back by popular demand after a successful small scale trial of the product in May, Bass and Flinders Distillery will officially release Cerise Gin in time for Spring on Tuesday 12 September.

Cerise is a contemporary gin with subtle hibiscus and orange blossom aromas blended with cherry and raspberry flavours. A playful spirit reveals a balanced velvety finish with a subtle sweetness reminiscent of Turkish delight. Just right for a Gin and Tonic at a fun Springtime garden party or other celebration.

The delicate pink blush of Cerise Gin comes from a unique infusion of cherries and raspberries. Cerise Gin has been made in small batches to yield the best quality spirit that celebrates ingredients from local farms on Red Hill. All gins by Bass and Flinders are handcrafted from grape based spirit.

“Using grape spirit for gin provides another dimension to the gin’s botanicals and adds to the, texture, viscosity and flavour of the spirit.  This, combined with seasonal produce, produces extraordinary spirits,” said Wayne Klintworth, head distiller of Bass and Flinders Distillery.

Cerise gin can be purchased through the distillery’s cellar door or via the website for a limited time.

Bass and Flinders Distillery was founded in 2009 on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. An artisanal distillery, Bass and Flinders Distillery targets a niche market of gin lovers who appreciate seasonal and harvest products such as our Winter gin, Truffle gin & Truffle vodka and our Angry Ant gin.

Bass and Flinders produce grape spirit using a traditional Alembic Pot Still to create a range of eclectic gins and award winning spirits and liqueurs including Vodka, Limoncello, Grappa and of course our outstanding five-year aged brandy, Ochre.

Image: Katherine Jamison Photography

A lesson in Australian wine for international students

More than 150 international university students studying in Adelaide experienced a taste of Australia last week at the Australian Wine Showcase 2017, held at the National Wine Centre of Australia.

The seventh annual Australian Wine Showcase was a collaborative event, with Wine Australia, Study Adelaide, the National Wine Education and Training Centre and National Wine Centre of Australia introducing the students to an impressive range of Australian wine and familiarising students with producers from more than 20 Australian wine regions.

Wine Australia Head of Market, Asia Pacific, Hiro Tejima, said the Australian Wine Showcase was an interactive opportunity for students from across the world to taste wines from different Australian wine regions, in their host city.

“International students to Australia are curious about all aspects of life in their host country, including its food and wine culture. We hope that the Showcase inspires the students to learn more about our wine regions and to share their appreciation for our wines with their families and friends,” Tejima said.

Study Adelaide Chief Executive, Karyn Kent, said the students greatly valued the opportunity to learn about Australian wine in a fun, yet safe and responsible environment.

“Access to great food and wine is one of the best things about living in Adelaide. We’re pleased to partner with Wine Australia on the Australian Wine Showcase 2017, as it’s a great way to introduce this special part of the Adelaide lifestyle to international students in a fun, informative and responsible way. It is our hope that the Showcase will develop their appreciation for Australian wine and create a lifelong connection with and passion for the state,” said Kent.

At the free event, students discovered wines from more than 20 regions across Australia, including classic Australian wine styles and alternative varieties such as Fiano, Vermentino and Nebbiolo.

The international students attending this year’s Australian Wine Showcase were from 30 different countries including from some of Australia’s largest wine export markets, such as China where Australian wine exports increased in value by 44 per cent to $607 million in the 12 months to the end of June 2017.

Omni Innovation secures China medical food deal to help diabetics

Omni Innovation has signed an agreement with Eagle Health Holdings to exclusively manufacture and distribute its pre‐meal shake product for Type 2 diabetes and Pre‐Type 2 diabetes throughout mainland China.

“We are pleased that from a range of potential partners we were able to enter into this deal with Eagle Health,” said Ian Brown, Chairman of Omni Innovation.

“For Omni, having a licensing deal with a partner that we view as providing significant strategic value to us – not only for the pre‐meal drink but potentially for several of our upcoming R&D projects – was a key driver of selecting Eagle Health.

“We believe that Eagle Health are a great fit for Omni in the short and the long term, and we look forward to working with them to provide a basis for extensive sales and revenue growth for the mainland Chinese market.”

Brown pointed out that it is estimated that in 2018 there will be over 120 million men and women in China suffering from Type 2 diabetes ‐ growing to over 160 million by 2030.

“An aging and growing population, and increasing obesity are the main drivers of this alarming trend that is particularly prevalent in urban Chinese locations,” he said.

Omni Innovation creates unique and specialised medical food products that can be used be used by people with chronic and lifestyle diseases.

CUB extends partnership with NRL

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) and the National Rugby League (NRL) have announced a new partnership, taking the relationship into its 19th year.

The elevated partnership includes CUB becoming the official beer and cider partner of the Kangaroos and Jillaroos Australian representative teams; and CUB becoming the official beer and cider partner of the Holden State of Origin series.

Under the agreement the VB Friday Night Football partnership will also continue.

CUB’s VP of Marketing, Richard Oppy, was pleased to reaffirm CUB’s long-term sponsorship of rugby league in Australia.

“CUB has a long association with rugby league in Australia and we’re proud to be continuing to develop world class fan engagement initiatives to support this great and iconic game,” Oppy said.

NRL Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Abdo said the NRL and CUB partnership would continue to deliver great outcomes for two of Australia’s most iconic brands.

“CUB has been a supporter of rugby league and its fans over many years and we thank them for a partnership that is extending to be one of our longest standing,” Abdo said.

“We look forward to even greater opportunities together in the years ahead.”


Record demand for wine and spirit education in Australia

New figures from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) reveal that demand for wine and spirits education is higher than ever both in Australia and globally.

WSET, the largest global provider of qualifications in the field of wines and spirits, is reporting a record 85,487 candidates taken globally in the academic year finishing 31 July 2017, an increase of 19 per cent on last year, marking 15 years of growth. The UK continued to lead the global table with candidate numbers up 14 per cent to 19,401 with Mainland China and USA following closely behind, while Australia moved up from 8th to 7th place seeing 27 per cent growth in candidate numbers compared to the 2015-16 academic year.

As more and more consumers seek to learn more about wine and spirits, the need for more knowledgeable staff is rising, encouraging professionals to pursue accredited qualifications and hospitality businesses to prioritise formal training to cater to customers’ discerning tastes.

Top 10 WSET Markets for the Academic Year 2016/17 (growth from previous year):

  1. UK (+14%)
  2. Mainland China (+41%)
  3. USA (+48%)
  4. Canada (+4%)
  5. Hong Kong (+16%)
  6. France (+32%)
  7. Australia (+27%)
  8. Taiwan (+5%)
  9. South Korea (+13%)
  10. Switzerland (+11%)

Looking Ahead

In the last year, WSET expanded its global reach with the opening of its first international office in Hong Kong and launching courses in new markets including Czech Republic and Montenegro. WSET welcomed over 100 new Approved Programme Providers and there are now 750 Providers offering WSET courses to wine, spirits and sake consumer enthusiasts and trade professionals in over 70 countries. In Australia, 26 Approved Programme Providers now offer WSET courses.

This year, as the USA remains a strong region for growth across the wine, spirits and sake arenas, WSET will be cementing its presence in the market with the appointment of a dedicated team on-territory that will nurture its potential.

The new academic year will also see the release of the freshly updated Level 2 Award in Spirits and the availability of a full suite of printed materials for the Level 3 Award in Sake.


Wattleseed latte – a bush tucker alternative to coffee

Kakadu Plum Co has announced its new Wattleseed latte as an alternative to the morning coffee routine.

Hidden away in the Australian outback is a little tree that sprouts a husk with seeds inside. Foraged and picked, roasted and then ground, the result is a beautiful and exquisite blend that tastes a little nutty and smells a little like chocolate. Now, this taste of Australia can be enjoyed as an alternative to coffee.

“We have some of the best foods and flavours grown in our own backyard. It is my vision to create a movement and greater appreciation for our Indigenous foods, culture and traditions,” said Kakadu Plum Co founder, Tahlia Mandie

Best enjoyed with soy or almond milk frothed with the wattleseed, each glass delivers a rich yet subtle chocolatey hazelnut flavour with a touch of cinnamon on top. The wattleseed latte allows vegan and non-coffee drinkers the opportunity to experience a refreshing and warming latte, all while enjoying a naturally invigorating boost of energy and nutrients from the wattleseed.

Since it’s beginning, Kakadu Plum Co. has committed itself to celebrating, honouring and acknowledging our traditional bush foods to be used in our everyday life. Indigenous Australians have traditionally ground wattleseed and use it as a type of flour in their bread and damper. Now, beyond the damper, it is the perfect true Australian caffeine free latte blend.

Western Australian grain growers break into Asian beer market

The CBH Group joins Interflour Group in celebrating the opening of the US$70 million Intermalt facility in Vietnam providing Western Australian grain growers with direct access to the Asian beer market.

CBH Chairman Wally Newman and Chief Executive Officer Andy Crane attended the ceremony together with directors and senior leaders including Interflour Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Greg Harvey, Intermalt General Manager James Kirton and representatives from the Vietnamese government.

Mr Newman said CBH’s involvement in downstream grain processing, through its 50 per cent shareholding of Interflour, had diversified the co-operative’s income stream and resulted in increased market opportunities for Australian grain.

“CBH’s investment in Interflour 12 years ago was ground breaking and today’s opening of the Intermalt facility in Vietnam marks a new phase of growth for the business as it moves into barley processing and expands across South East Asia,” said Newman.

“It will be a new chapter for Western Australian barley growers who now have direct access to Vietnam’s burgeoning beer market – the fastest growing beer market in Asia.”

Mr Newman said over the past harvest growers delivered 1.5 million tonnes of malt barley into the CBH receival network and the facility provides a new market for growers.

As part of the final commissioning phase, Intermalt has already purchased 42,000 tonnes of malt barley, with 32,000 tonnes coming from the Kwinana and Albany port zones of the Western Australian grain belt.

Intermalt is located in Cai Mep, Vietnam, and will be the largest malting plant in South East Asia. It will have the capacity to produce 110,000 tonnes of malt a year and will service major brewers in the region including Heineken Vietnam.

“Not only is the Intermalt infrastructure impressive, but so too is the growth and opportunity it affords our growers, our businesses and the Asia Pacific region as a whole,” Mr Newman said.

“Our current and future growers can look forward to benefiting from Interflour’s expansion and this new venture generating value that we can then return to them a number of ways including through our investment rebate.”

Heineken Vietnam Corporate Affairs Director Matt Wilson said, “Heineken Vietnam always seeks to use local suppliers where possible in order to drive jobs and wealth in Vietnam”.

“Our preference for local sourcing has seen us contribute around 0.75 per cent of Vietnam’s total GDP and support nearly 200,000 jobs in Vietnam,” he said.

“Because of this, we are very happy to see Intermalt entering the local market with the potential to supply us with locally produced malt in the future and increase our contribution to the Vietnamese economy.”

Newcomer surprises at the CBIA Craft Beer Awards 2017

After only four months on the market Philter XPA Draught has taken out Best Pale Ale at the 2017 CBIA Craft Beer Awards in Adelaide.

Hitting locals in March this year, the XPA was the first release for the young Sydney brewing company that sets itself apart with its late 1980’s Australiana aesthetic and distinctive can design.

In her many years in the industry, Head Brewer Samara Füss has collected loads of national and international awards, but this is her first individual Champion win. “I’m absolutely stoked. I am so proud of this beer, it’s everything we wanted for our first release so it’s a sweet win,” Füss said.

Füss crafted the XPA as a naturally cloudy ale with tropical fruit aromas and a refreshing hop flavour. It’s already an easy-drinking hit and is all set to be a summer session favourite. New warm-weather releases are in the pipeline, too, so watch this space.

“We know it’s a great beer and it’s been really well-received so far, and Sam is a bloody great brewer, so part of me was quietly confident. But we’re so new, we thought it was a massive long shot,” said Sales and Marketing Director, Stef Constantoulas.


The Australian wine scene is evolving and the world is watching

On the eve of the annual KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show awards, this year’s invited international judge, Master of Wine, Mark Pygott says he likes what he sees in the evolution of Australian wine – and only not from the usual suspects.

Mark Pygott was invited this year to join 30 Australian wine experts in tasting and judging more than 2100 entries across four days at the KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show at Sydney Showground.

 Mr Pygott, originally from Northern England but these days director of Sniff Wine Ltd in Taiwan by way of lengthy winemaking stints with respected French wineries, became a Master of Wine after completing a research paper on climate change and adaptive viticultural practices in the Barossa Valley.

Mark Pygott says he also has seen firsthand the changing views on Australian wine, from what he says began as “friendly, approachable, fruit-forward, cheaper ‘sunshine in a glass’ offerings to places like the UK and the US, to the extremely high quality product the wine drinking world (including newer markets like China) know the Australian wine sector for today.

“The quality of the Grenache and some of the Semillon I have seen in judging this past week has been outstanding,” he said.

 “Not just very good wines – world class wines.

 “If I said I have tasted some great Shiraz, everyone would say ‘of course’,” he added.

 “A wine has made me cry, it happens maybe once every two years.

 While not revealing whether any of the reds, whites, sparklings and fortified entries this year made Mark well up during this year’s competition, he says he likes the fact the Australian wine sector is always testing itself and striving to improve.

 “I think you have to be very careful about thinking that what you have is the best, because if you stand still, other people won’t and that’s dangerous.”

 “You must keep on looking for the next best thing,” he said.

 Mark Pygott was also highly complimentary of the standard of the judging panel assembled for this year’s KPMG Sydney Wine Show.

 “You look around the room at the quality of not just the Judges, but Associate (invited trainee) Judges and there are some serious people here, people who have huge amounts of experience, hugely qualified and here to get a better picture of wine in Australia.

 The KPMG Sydney Wine Show culminates this week in the Awards Night on Thursday, July 27th, a trade day on Friday the 28th and the grand finale, the Sydney Royal Wine Experience this coming Saturday, July 29th, when members of the public are invited and encouraged to taste the very same premium Australian wines the Judges assessed just last week.