Did you know that you are in the minority of wine drinkers? The truth is, the majority of people who buy wine are thoroughly confused by the enormous number of wines available at the bottle shop and spend less than a minute choosing a bottle of wine. Do they get satisfaction from that wine? - possibly temporarily, but it's probably not going to be very memorable. In contrast, if you ask winemakers and wine professionals why they chose a career in wine, they usually cite THAT one bottle of wine (with a dreamy look in their eye) that was the start of the love affair.
Many people never get the chance to taste really great wine - and many may think that they simply don't care. But oh, when that chance arrives, people who previously headed straight for the discount bins at the bottle-o suddenly find themselves showing a lot more interest. It's not about being a wine snob - more about recreating the pleasure of that moment again and again. For example, we often meet people at wine shows who proclaim that they don't drink sweet wines when we offer them our Riesling to taste. What a pleasure it is when we convince them to taste through the three styles of Bellarmine Riesling, and watch them discover that not only do they like Riesling after all, but that even the sweet style is unlike others they have tried.
While they might be a minority, there are thousands of people like you having fun discovering wine, and enjoying great wine conversations online, at wine events and with the winemakers themselves. And somewhere along the way, you just might find that one bottle that you never forget.
Did you know that you are one of the smart wine drinkers? The truth is, the majority of people who buy wine are thoroughly confused by the enormous number of wines available at the bottle shop and spend less than a minute choosing a bottle of wine. Do they get satisfaction from that wine - possibly temporarily, but it's probably not going to be very memorable. In contrast, I have read countless interviews with winemakers and wine professionals that cite that one bottle of wine that set them o
When we talk about wine we are often talking about what's inside the bottle. But what about the bottle itself? Or the way that wine is tasted? The wine world has a language all of its own, so here are five fun and interesting things you may not already know that will help to get any wine conversation started.
1. What is the name given to the indentation in the bottom of a wine bottle? it's called the 'punt'. It's mainly there as a nod to tradition, but its also a handy place to put your thumb if you pour wine by holding the base of the bottle (like the experts!).
2. What is a Tastevin? Next time you see a wine taster wearing what looks a bit like an oversized Olympic medal, you can be sure that is his or her Tastevin. Better yet, pick one up on eBay and create a stir by insisting you try the wine in your Tastevin before ordering the whole bottle. Not sure if that tip will make or lose friends for you, but I guarantee you will have some fun.
3. Which grape varieties are used to make Champagne? It might surprise you to know that most Champagne is made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. The reason a white wine can be made from mainly red grapes is because the grapes are pressed verrrry gently. It's a tricky business, Champagne making, and well worth learning about.
Would you like to tick off all the grown-ups on your Christmas list right now? We've made it possible by putting together a guide to wines for all sorts of personalities. Find the right wines for your favourite people, and give your family and friends the gift of beautiful, single vineyard Australian wine this Christmas.
It's got to be the 2015 Half-Dry Riesling. Just released, super food friendly and amazing with summery seafood barbecues, or fresh thai salads. Summer in a bottle, and the lower alcohol allows those zingy lemongrass, lime and chilli flavours to shine.
Always on the lookout for a new experience, this person will be thrilled to try the 2010 Bellarmine Petit Verdot - it's a lesser known red variety that dares to be bold and different.
Riesling is the wine that winemakers drink (so they say) and the Bellarmine Riesling Dry is a stand-out example of this variety. This is a wine that achieves consistently high ratings year after year, and has a dedicated following of Riesling lovers who know the reward of cellaring a few bottles. Give the 2016 vintage to the wine appreciator in your life, or ask us about our aged Rieslings.
The Info Geek
An information sponge who likes to share their knowledge, help them get on board the cool-climate trend - there is so much to discover about why cool climate is hot right now, including lighter, food-friendly styles of red such as the 2014 Bellarmine Shiraz.
While sweet wines have a reputation for being old-fashioned, your granny is going to be blown away by the 2014 Bellarmine Riesling Select - with 3 Gold Medals and 96 points from James Halliday, why should grandma have all the fun? Sneak a bottle for yourself too.
Word is that Rose is set to overtake Sauvignon Blanc as the most popular wine in Australia, so give a bottle of our 2016 Bellarmino Rose to your stylish friends and family - and photos with pink wine are very popular on social media right now!
The "I know what I like" Type
They know what they like, and what they like is Sauvignon Blanc thank you very much. They probably even have their favourite brand and stick to it like glue. Drag them ever so slightly out of their comfort zone and let them be pleasantly surprised when they find they love the 2015 Bellarmine Sauvignon Blanc.
So jump over to the Our Wines page and get your Christmas gifts sorted now. And whoever you spend Christmas with, we hope you enjoy the pleasure of sharing good food and wine with the people you love. Merry Christmas!
I recently had a great trip to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to spend time out on the road making sales calls with the reps from our distributor, Crush Fine Wines. The people from Crush are so enthusiastic, and it was great to meet them and some of their clients. In Melbourne we visited the Top Paddock cafe, mexican restaurant Mamasitas, and Armenian restaurant Sezar. I also had the fun of hosting a wine dinner at the Carlisle Wine Bar in Balaclava, organised by Sarah from Crush.
On to Sydney where I spent time with Crush reps Cam and Nigel who have been selling Bellarmine Wines for years with our previous distributors. These guys are covering a lot of territory and do it so well. We went to the beautiful City Recital Hall concert venue in the city where we met Anthony who obviously loves his job and took time to give us a tour. I didn't manage to catch a performance - next time! We also drove down to the beautiful Southern Highlands and lunched at the Surveyor General Inn, an historic landmark.
Next stop was Brisbane, where it was my first visit to the trade. I met the very friendly and helpful Jacqui who introduced me to Brent, the wine guy at The Wine Emporium. He can give clients great advice on what to buy so he is well worth contacting if you ever need wine advice, and he has lots of gems in his store - including Bellarmine Wines of course!
It was a whirlwind trip but it is always so worthwhile to spend time with the people who are selling Bellarmine Wines. And having a great partnership with the reps means that we can keep delivering great wine to you - the wine lover! 'Til next month, Di.
For many winemakers July means hitting the road to the big smoke, wherever that may be, to catch up with distributors and their sales team. For me this meant a trip to our distributor in Perth, David Mullen Wine Agency. Dave has been in the wine wholesaling business for more than 20 years and has a huge knowledge of wine. Together with his wine savvy staff, former Dockers star player Ben Allan, former Crown food and beverage manager Andrew Moody and former Rottnest Island liquor store manager Pete, he distributes our wines to restaurants, wine bars, and retail stores from Perth to Margaret River as well as a couple of locations in Broome. Mmm, Broome - may need a sales trip there sometime soon!
Dave and I met up at Hermosa, a very smooth new Spanish eatery in Wembley. Federico is the chef and in charge of the wine list, and he has our Bellarmine half-dry Riesling on his list. He treated us to a delicious lunch with jamon, a severely addictive toastie, wonderful cornbread and cheese. http://www.hermosa.net.au
We were also excited to find that our Bellarmine Chardonnay is now on the list at Clarkes of North Beach. A highly awarded chef and fabulous menu - have a look http://clarkesofnorthbeach.com.au
In September I'll be on the road in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. I am looking forward to meeting with our distributor and reps over there. We will also hosting a Bellarmine wine dinner in Melbourne at the Carlisle Wine Bar, http://www.carlislewinebar.com.au, which should be a lot of fun.
We love to keep in touch with our customers and the easiest way to do that is to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter - I couldn't help including this cute photo of Mumford the Winery Dog doing a little 'sheep work' that we posted on Facebook recently.
The 12th vintage for Bellarmine is now complete, with all the wines getting close now to finishing fermentation. There was an early break to the season and a lot of bird pressure this year, so we have left the Merlot and Petit Verdot on the vines. However, the other grapes all look fantastic, especially the Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc. Quality is our priority at Bellarmine, and it is wonderful to receive recognition for that in a recent article by James Halliday where he rated our 2012 Shiraz at 96 points and named it as one of five wines that belong in the Holy Grail. Positive reviews have a direct impact on sales and the orders for Shiraz have been flooding in - we have even sent some to Adelaide, the home of Australian shiraz!
I am getting close to sitting my Master of Wine exams and have been trying to fit in plenty of tasting around work and family life. The third part of the Master of Wine is a research project and my research proposal has been written and submitted. I'm feeling excited and nervous and ever hopeful that I will pass this year - I'm not sure my finances or family can cope with another year of the pressure!
27th March 2015
We are halfway through harvesting our year long's work. All the whites are in, as well as the Pinot Noir. Still to come are our Shiraz, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Ripening has slowed down quite a bit as the nights have cooled, which is great for flavour development. Now we wait for the seeds to turn from green and pulpy to a nice crunchy brown, and the flavours to develop with Merlot typically showing delicious plum pudding, fruit mince pie and blackberries whilst the Shiraz has pepper, ripe black plums and chocolate. The Petit Verdot is a high acid variety with aromas of violets and dark fruits of the forest. Suitable grapes and wines to match with Easter that's for sure!
Meanwhile I am busy studying for my Masters of Wine - tasting wines from around the world, from whites to reds, sweet to fortified, sparkling and rose. All of them need to be my little friends as I have come to think of them, as during the upcoming exam I need to be able to blind taste 36 different wines over three days and write intelligent essay type answers as to what variety they are, where they come from, how old they are, quality level etc. The exams have only a 10% pass rate so it's definitely a challenge but one I find both terrifying and exciting all at the same time, and a lot safer than extreme sports. Currently there are only 323 Masters of Wine graduates in the world - and I am hoping to join them!
Have a great Easter!
Winemaker and Operations Manager