Winewatch: Australian wines

Australian wines are responsible for one in every five bottles sold in terms of country of origin which, in anyone's eyes, is fair dinkum. This month's Winewatch reviews the continuing health of the Australian wine market.

While Australian wine’s crown slipped slightly here in 2014 in losing its regal status as the top wine importing country of origin to Chile, nevertheless at 1.6 million cases nearly one in every five bottles of wine purchased here emanates from Oz.

Australia had a good year in 2015 with exports reaching the highest growth in value since 2007. A 14% increase in value took the total income from Australian wine exports to €1.37 billion (Au$2.1bn) at today’s rate from €1.19 billion (Au$1.82bn) according to Wine Australia, with volumes up 6.4% to over 82 million nine-litre case-equivalent. This is the first time that there has been growth in each of Australia’s top 15 markets in a calendar year.

Here in Ireland direct shipments of Australian wine in the year to the end of September 2015 accounted for nearly 366,700 cases worth nearly €8 million (Au$12.1m) according to figures supplied to Drinks Industry Ireland by Wine Australia.

However to this direct shipment figure must be added Australian wines imported via the UK which provides a somewhat larger import total of over 920,000 cases worth €29.1 million according to figures supplied by the Revenue Commissioners.

This volume total comprises 800,000 cases in bottle format worth €25.4 million, over 111,000 case-equivalent in bulk format and over 11,000 cases of Australian sparkling wine worth €6 million.

Australian reds take the lion’s share of those sales imported directly, according to Wine Australia, at 54%, predominantly Shiraz or blends of Shiraz. Wines from South Eastern Australia and South Eastern Australian blends have proved popular too, being responsible for 67% of sales by region for wines directly




BT008386-ARDAGH Bordeaux 500g CabShirMerlot CrestlowBT008501-ARDAGH 460g ChardSauvBlanc Crestlow


160 years after its inception in South Australia Hardys is a major player among world wines. The Hardys label can be found in more than 80 countries around the globe. Currently it carries the title of ‘Most Powerful Australian Wine Brand’ globally and is consistently ranked amongst the top five ‘Most Powerful Global Wine Brands’.

Thomas Hardy’s vision was to produce wines that would be prized in the markets of the world by showing outstanding innovation and resourcefulness, making wines of quality and character. Hardys has received over 7,000 awards across its portfolio including Gold at the 2014 Decanter Awards and the 2014 IWC.

C&C Gleeson distribute the Hardys range including Hardys Crest and Mill Cellar here in Ireland.

Hardys Crest Cabarnet Shiraz Merlot is delightfully fresh with a clean, tight palate. Zesty flavours of passionfruit, pears and citrus fill the mouth.

Hardys Crest Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc is a soft and fruit-driven wine, displaying intense creamy peach flavours and hints of crisp citrus that linger on the finish.


Wolf Blass

Wolf Blass Rugby Scrum Lineuplow
Leading Australian wine brand Wolf Blass will build on the success of its Rugby World Cup campaign by continuing availability of its popular rugby-themed rugby labels for the duration of the Six Nations tournament in February and March.




Wine and rugby unite again as fans get the chance to enjoy the specially-commissioned labels exclusive to Wolf Blass’s Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines.

Of the 15 different labels available each includes a different number and illustration representing that player – one for each rugby position. The unique labels first appeared in advance of the Rugby World Cup last September and proved to be extremely popular.

Wolf Blass YL LE Rugby Cabernetlow



Wolf Blass Wines, established in the Barossa Valley in 1966, grew from a humble tin shed to become one of the world’s most successful and awarded wineries including International Winery of the Year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition 2015.
Exported to more than 50 countries it won Australia’s most coveted trophy, the Jimmy Watson, an unprecedented four times. There’s a tradition of quality, character and consistency from the refined and elite Platinum Label and the majestic and complex Black Label through to delicate Rieslings and crisp Chardonnays in its Gold and Yellow Label ranges.
Findlater Wine & Spirit Group exclusively distributes Wolf Blass in Ireland.Wolf Blass YL LE Rugby Chardonnaylow








Penfolds Rangelow
Established in 1844, Penfolds, one of Australia’s oldest and most iconic wineries, was once described by wine writer Hugh Johnson as “the one true First Growth of the southern hemisphere”. Indeed recent accolades attest to this: IWSC’s Australian Wine Producer of the Year, November 2014 and IWC’s International White Winemaker of the Year 2015.
Though perhaps most famous for its legendary Grange – a modern icon and by far Australia’s most prestigious wine – Penfolds extends this knowledge and experience of making Grange across the entire portfolio.
Rawson’s Retreat is Penfolds’ most contemporary and approachable range, made with the same eye for quality as its top-tier wines. The perfect entry into the world of Penfolds’ fine wines, this provides consumers the opportunity to sample this legendary brand at an attractive price point.
Established 1976 the reputation of the Koonunga Hill range has been built on its affordability and approachability in its youth with the potential to develop if carefully cellared.

It’s available in two core SKUs – Shiraz/Cabernet and Chardonnay – as well as two more premium expressions under its lauded ‘Retro Label’ offshoot: a select Shiraz/Cabernet blend and the acclaimed award-winning Autumn Riesling.
Finally the Bin Range provides the best that South Australia can offer, starting with the Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz and Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling, progressing through single vineyard expressions and crafted multi-regional blends.
Findlater Wine & Spirit Group exclusively distributes Penfolds.


Master Logo Simulated Gold


Lindeman’s new brand identity
Lindeman’s famous Bin series has refreshed its packaging and updated its logo, the first update since 2001. This celebrates a number of elements in Lindeman’s history: the company’s heritage in the Hunter Valley, founder Dr Henry Lindeman and his original homestead ‘Cawarra’ built in 1855.
The labels have been modernised to make them easily identifiable and the distinctive colours of individual varietals updated to more vibrant and eye-catching colour palettes.
The famous Lindeman’s logo wreath has been updated to feature native Australian eucalyptus and gum nuts and includes ‘1843’, the year Henry Lindeman founded his company in the Hunter Valley.
The logo is finished off with the Latin phrase ‘Felicitas in Vitae’ meaning ‘In Life Happiness’.
“Lindeman’s remarkable global popularity has been driven by the simple and personal philosophy of Dr Henry Lindeman who planted the first Lindeman’s vines in the Hunter Valley in 1843,” commented Mathew Bird, EMEA Marketing Director at Treasury Wine Estates, “Through the launch of the new brand identity we’re looking to champion the fundamental brand values of Lindeman’s – heritage, home and happiness – in everything we do.
“This fresh new brand identity and look for Lindeman’s will deliver greater stand-out on shelf with clearer and more impactful packaging, making it easier to spot for shoppers which will ultimately drive more sales for retailers.”

Lindemans Rangelow
Findlater Wine & Spirit Group exclusively distributes Lindeman’s.






Describing Katnook as an “outstanding winery regularly producing wines of exemplary quality and typicity”, Australian wine industry benchmark the James Halliday Wine Companion has again awarded Katnook Coonawarra the highest possible rating of five Red Stars.
And Katnook’s worldwide wine success in shows has continued, winning silver medals in the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 for its Estate Shiraz 2012 and Founder’s Block Shiraz 2014 along with four bronze medals.
Meanwhile Katnook Estate Shiraz 2012 was voted Best Australian Wine at the 18th Japan Wine Challenge 2015. In the UK Founder’s Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 was awarded Silver Medal at the Global Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2015 conducted by The Drinks Business magazine.
Katnook Estate’s winemaking history began in 1896 when Coonawarra’s second vintage was made by Scottish immigrant John Riddoch in the Katnook woolshed. That woolshed, a popular attraction today, now houses Katnook’s oak barrels.
Senior Winemaker Wayne Stehbens celebrates over 35 vintages at Katnook making him one of Australia’s longest-serving wine makers. He’s won two Jimmy Watson trophies, a double trophy at the International Wine & Spirit Competition and a Decanter Wine Award trophy.
His wines represent remarkable value for those looking for a wine with the Coonawarra stamp while his goal has always been to “make wines which show subtlety, intrigue and complexity; reflecting the essence of Coonawarra’s terroir is integral to my winemaking approach.”
Findlater Wine & Spirit Group distributes Lindeman’s.Katnook Rangelow


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