April 2018 is proving to be one of the busiest months ever for immersive wine tours due to additional funding through the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, with Wine Australia hosting more than 30 international wine professionals this month.
The groups of journalists, sommeliers, wine buyers and wine influencers from China mainland, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States (USA) are in Australia to gain first-hand experience of the unique regions that help make Australian wine so special.
Across five visits, guests are meeting producers face-to-face and sampling wines over tastings and master classes in regions including the Adelaide Hills, Hunter Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Macedon Ranges, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Margaret River.
These visits build their knowledge and confidence to become ambassadors of Australian wine.
Visitors are also exploring wines from Langhorne Creek, Coonawarra, Limestone Coast, Tasmania, Canberra, Tumbarumba, Orange, Mudgee and New England at centrally held master classes, allowing them to explore more regional expressions within the limited time of their visit.
“The trip has been deeply educational for me as we were able to gain visual and sensual experience with the terroir of these legendary New World wine regions”
Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark said the visits give guests insight into the history of Australian wine, modern innovations and our food and wine culture.
“Wine Australia hosts more than 140 visitors each year – bringing influential members of the international wine trade and media to our wine regions to help them discover the people and places that influence the unique characteristics of Australian wine.
“With the support of the $50m Package, we’re able to amplify the Australian wine experience for many visitors and ensure that they return home with a refreshed perspective of our wines that can be shared with trade, media and consumers in-market,” he said.
Chinese sommelier Arneis Wu of two–Michelan starred restaurant, L’atelier de Joel Robuchon took part in this year’s China Vintage trip and said the visit provided insight into Australian wine and wine culture.
Geoff Krieger, Iain Riggs and Stuart Hordern representing Brokenwood Wines for the China Vintage Trip. Photo supplied by Wine Australia
“The trip is a very good chance to get to know the wine people here, to understand their hardworking and innovative spirits, along with their winemaking philosophy.
“It’s really rare to find back vintage Semillon in China and during the visit I saw the potential aging of the grape variety, which has quite a different aroma, creaminess and roundness after ageing compared with a young one.
“We also came across grape varieties like Grüner Veltliner and Sangiovese, and wines made from 100% Pinot Meunier from Yarra Valley, which demonstrate the diversity here, as well as the climate, the soil and terroir,” he said.
China Vintage Trip at Brokenwood Wines. Photo supplied by Wine Australia
Sylvia Wu, web editor from Decanter China said she is most surprised with the various expressions and styles of the more familiar varieties, such as ‘the elegant and vibrant Cabernet and Shiraz/Syrah in Yarra Valley’ and also the ‘incredible complexity of aged Semillon from Hunter Valley’.
“I think the diversity is the most exciting element of Australian wines,” she said.
“The trip has been deeply educational for me as we were able to gain visual and sensual experience with the terroir of these legendary New World wine regions.
“The trip will certainly help me to talk and write about Australian wines with deeper understanding and personal interest,” she said.
More information about upcoming visits is available at https://www.wineaustralia.com/whats-happening/visitor-programs