22º Halo - Climate Change Wines

We are using the Cellr 'tap' technology to help tell our 22º Halo story.

What makes alternative grape varieties special? One could argue nothing! The grape varieties that fall under the ‘alternative variety’ banner have been grown for centuries, there is nothing new about them! Let’s cast our minds back twenty years and the collections of grape varieties grown in Australia were limited, actually you would have had a few spare fingers if you tried to count on two hands. So, the first thing that makes them important is they have brought diversity to the Australian wine scene. Most half decent restaurant wine offerings today have a Fiano, Nero d’Avola or Vermentino listed, (this would have been unheard of ten years ago). 

The talk among many wine writers and sommeliers is how these new ‘alternative’ grape varieties are benefiting the environment. There are some misconceptions and truths behind these thoughts. There are some of these new grape varieties that have vegetative growth habits that differ if managed like a traditional grape variety (traditional is referred to as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay). Nero d’Avola is a perfect example of this. Water and irrigate it in a traditional fashion and the foliage growth and berry size will lead to the production of inferior wines. The best approach to manage excess vigour and berry size is to reduce water and fertiliser, hence making Nero d’Avola a grape variety that has a smaller environmental footprint than many of the traditional grape varieties. 

These new grape varieties have also brought a new way of thinking re the growing and making of premium wines, especially in wine regions that have been associated with the production of bulk and cheap wine. Alternative grape varieties are making high quality wines from all regions of Australia, irrespective of the climate. In some cases the warmer the climate the better the wine. As most of the bulk wine producing regions are situated in the warmest wine growing regions of Australia, these new alternative grape varieties are opening a new and exciting horizon for these impoverished areas. Growers in places like the Riverland, Mildura and Griffith are now focusing on wine quality rather than quantity. To achieve quality, less water and fertiliser is being applied to vineyards. Again, the environmental footprint has been reduced.

Finally, there is no ownership of these alternative grape varieties! Consider Shiraz. It is rusted on to either the Barossa or McLaren Vale! Cabernet Sauvignon has strong ties to Coonawarra and Margaret River, while the Riesling regions of Australia are Clare and Eden Valley. No one owns Fiano, Vermentino, Nero d’Avola and all the other alternative grape varieties. The race, in its own rights, to own these varieties will lead growers and winemakers wanting to make the best quality wines, meaning the adoption of environmentally conscious management practices will prevail, which is good for all.

The Cellr technology will be used on the 2021 22ºHalo range.

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