The wizard of Oz

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By combining tradition with new ideas and focusing on technical innovation to produce a diversity of styles, Australia’s vineyards have delivered magical results.


Brand Central

12 October 2010

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Oz wines1Australia’s first vineyards were planted in 1788 in a small area near the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Today, vineyards can be found throughout all 63 designated wine regions totalling approximately 160,000 hectares, according to industry website Current export figures place Australia as the fourth largest exporter of wine, selling to more than 100 countries around the world and contributing $5.5 billion to the nation’s economy. Furthermore, with its export volumes up 63.15% between 2003 and 2007, Australia maintained its position as leading supplier of wines to Ireland in 2007, according to the Vinexpo/IWSR 2009 study on the Irish wine and spirits market.

Major Australian grape varieties include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Riesling. Australia’s wine industry was kick-started when vitis vinifera varieties were introduced from Europe and South Africa in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. However some varieties have also been bred by Australian viticulturalists, such as Cienna and Tarrango.

Following the dramatic commercial success of Australia’s Shiraz variety; although Syrah was actually originally called Shiraz in Australia and Syrah elsewhere, many Syrah producers around the world now label their wine “Shiraz” also.

Australian vineyards are also beginning to explore so called “alternative varieties” from France, Italy and Spain. Petit Verdot, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Viognier are subsequently all becoming more common.

Oz wines 2A distinguished winemaker

McGuigan wines, distributed in Ireland by Barry & Fitzwilliam, continue to out-perform the market. The Black Label range comprises of a Cabernet/Merlot, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Rosé, as well as McGuigan Black Label Sparkling Chardonnay and Sparkling Rosé. The range will have strong above the line marketing support,  particularly in the national press and radio with a major emphasis on Neil McGuigan’s awards at the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) as “Best White Winemaker in the world” and “Winemaker of the year”.

Oz wines3A hardy competitor

The great Thomas Hardy legacy lives on today at The Hardy Wine Company. Quality, flavour and character remain the cornerstones of its contemporary wines while respect for the Hardy family history ensures the wines benefit from the lessons of long tradition. Hardy’s, which is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam, will be backed by a radio campaign and the major emphasis will be on the promotion of Hardy’s Stamp litres for the price of 75cl.

Results all sewn up

With 160 years of Barossa heritage, Yalumba continues to champion Australia’s most celebrated wine region and variety with its Patchwork Shiraz sourced from several high quality yet vastly different Barossa vineyards.

The opportunity to craft a single wine of individuality and personality from a ‘patchwork quilt’ of soils, aspects, microclimates and cultures is simply too good to refuse. Through rigorous site selection, Yalumba’s winemakers unearth power, elegance, spice and structure – all the elements required to produce outstanding Barossa Shiraz.

Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz is available exclusively through Cassidy Wines; telephone 01 466 8900 for more details.

Oz wines PClassic quality

Pewsey Vale Vineyard was first planted to Riesling by Joseph Gilbert in 1847. The site was later purchased by well known grazier Geoff Angas-Parsons whom in 1961 invited his friend Wyndham Hill Smith to jointly develop the historic vineyard site. They believed the site could produce “delicate Rieslings in the Germanic style”.

High in the Eden Valley (nearly 500m above sea level) the quality of the vineyard is a reflection of this altitude and the low-fertility, grey, sandy loam soils which prolong ripening into the cool autumn season. This long ripening period develops unique, consistent flavour profiles, which is now described as ‘classic Pewsey Vale’.

Pewsey Vale, Eden Valley Riesling, is available exclusively through Cassidy Wines; telephone 01 466 8900 for more details.

Authentic attention to detail

William Jacob first surveyed the Barossa region over 150 years ago when he and his brother took up land at the meeting of two waters, the North Para river and creek.  This creek was later renamed Jacob’s Creek and in 1847 Johann Gramp purchased the land further up the stream, when a year later he planted the Barossa valley’s first commercial vineyard.

JacobsJacob’s Creek has grown to become one of the leading wine brands in the world and celebrates being true to yourself, having a point of view about life, standing up for your beliefs and being authentic. For over 150 years as a winemaker, Jacob’s Creek has stayed true to its passion for making premium quality wines with real character. When it comes to wine Jacob’s Creek believes that the most important wine critic is the consumer.

The philosophy behind Jacob’s Creek is to offer a fresh, fruit-driven wine. The company’s goal is to produce a wine of consistency and quality as seen in The Jacob’s Creek Classic range. However Jacob’s Creek prides itself on the attention to detail that is given to all its wines from the Classic range to the Reserve Collection and Sparkling wines.

Jacob’s Creek is renowned for innovation and leadership and will soon be moving to regional appellation on its Reserve range of wines. The new Jacob’s Creek Reserve offering will focus on three key wine regions, being Barossa, Coonawarra and Adelaide Hills, and the new wines will reflect the distinct personality of each region through the chosen grape variety. Jacob’s Creek is distributed in Ireland by Irish Distillers.

TSBUnited we stand

United Wine Merchants is proud to supply two top Australian brands throughout Ireland.

Tortoiseshell Bay was re-launched in the Irish market at the start of 2008 and distribution and sales have been on the increase ever since.  Distributed by United Wine Merchants Ireland, Tortoiseshell Bay has a range of five varietals (Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Rose, Merlot and Shiraz) from South Eastern Australia.  

The legend tells us: “Tortoise Shell Bay is a mythical place on the Australian coast, which according to ancient legends and rock paintings, was the home of the giant tortoise.  At this place spirits of the ancient people were required to cross the river mouth before they could reach the world of eternal life, and the only path by which they could travel lay across the shell of the tortoise.”

Immersed in mystery, the facts about the range are just as impressive.  The vineyards used for each varietal are chosen for their suitability for each grape varietal, whether crisp, zesty whites or rounded, textured reds.

The McGuigan Private Bin Range comes from McGuigan Wines, which is the culmination of the McGuigan family’s involvement in the Australian wine industry for more than 50 years. The family’s commitment to best viticulture practice and winemaking expertise; linked to a dedicated team of professionals, has seen four generations of the McGuigan family making wine their life. The premium fruit, the modern winemaking facilities and the good understanding of customer’s needs, enables production of premium quality product at a price that represents exceptional value for the high quality wine on offer. McGuigan Private Bin is available in a fresh zingy Sauvignon Blanc, a rich Chardonnay, a full bodied Merlot and a spicy Shiraz.
For more information contact United Wine Merchants; telephone 048 3831 6555 or visit



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