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been cynically trashed will ever trust again
the notion of single vineyard ?
So where s the relationship between a
site, and the sense of place which goes
with the wine from it, if we define an SV on
a naming (i.e. marketing) convention?
Second: a loose adherence to a
naming convention is inconsistent with
what the rest of the world accepts. Yes,
French systems are inconsistent. I can t
comment about the rest of Europe. But
I am pretty sure that most established
SV definition systems do not allow the
arbitrary creation of an SV according to
what someone chooses to put on a label,
without any restriction. And realistically,
who will seek to define or restrict our
labelling habits? Do we actually want
someone to? I suspect not.
So what s it all mean? For the record,
and only to stimulate the debate, here s a
couple of thoughts:
• A single vineyard must have some sort
of boundary; be limited in some logical
way. To leave it unlimited is nonsense,
and would undermine our efforts toward
international seriousness recognition .
The current wine show definitions include
no concept of boundaries.
• There is little point worrying about
whether an SV wine is 85, 95 or 100%
from a specific site if we can t define
where that site is;
• The current inconsistency between our
wine shows is not helpful; and
• If we ignore what the rest of the world
does, and what a reasonable person
may expect of an SV , we are going to
make life very difficult for ourselves.
But the aim of this little piece was to
start a debate, not to attack any idea or
any person. Please enter into the debate!
PETER LESKE is a leading Australian
winemaker, educator and consultant.
First published in WBM---Australia s Wine
Business Magazine Dec09/Jan10 edition.
(named and labelled) source? In
Melbourne, only 95%. Logical---allows for
inevitable blips like the inclusion of a yeast
culture. But in Hobart, your individual
vineyard wine must be 100% from that
site. In the 2010 Royal Sydney show your
wine must be from an "individually named
vineyard, or blends from the same discreet
vineyard, the name of which appears on
the commercial label of the wine". But
unless I have missed it, they don t stipulate
the percentage from that vineyard.
How can we expect consumers to take
our reverence for SVs seriously if we vary
what can go into those wines?
I am also puzzled as to the Why? of
these classes. The implication is that these
wines need to be judged separately; with
But what benefit does it offer the
• Are judges expected to approach the
• Do they expect better wine? More
• Are judges to make excuses for---or be
more critical of---these wines?
What benefit does it offer the exhibitor?
• Smaller classes?
• More trophy opportunities?
• Status, if the wine wins? What s more
valuable ---a trophy in normal classes,
or in those reserved for SV wines?
Anyone out there want to explain why
we need---as distinct from want---these
classes? Here s a job for the ASVO!
But back to the topic. Ignoring the
marketing and product differentiation
efforts of the wine shows, we still have a
major issue in how we define an SV. There
are complications in using geographical
features. After all, we all know an SV
which is bisected by a road, headland,
creek, LIP boundary, land title or soil
change. Which feature(s) are more
important than others? So should we
Some discussions have suggested that
an SV does not have to be continuous
(or contiguous)? So, can more than one
block , separated by a driveway, be
an SV? What if the driveway is a six-lane
freeway? Or a river? Or something the
size of New South Wales? Or just the crest
of a hill, so that one side is south-facing,
and another north? There are very difficult
issues here, but we need to think about
and discuss them.
I have already suggested that a
name on a label is not much help, as it
precludes recognition of what is clearly
from an SV, but does not have a name on
the label. But there are wider issues if we
rely on a naming convention, as it places
great faith in we makers and marketers
to represent single vineyard wines
accurately. Several problems here.
First, it s unlimited, and governed
only by our marketing imaginations.
Currently, names can come and go, and
expand or contract to include whatever
the owner wants. Let s imagine that I
have owned for decades 2ha of prime
Coonawarra red dirt, on which I have
lovely 45-year-old Cabernet. Its wine
has always been labelled Pete s Single
Vineyard, Coonawarra ; it is a ripper wine,
synonymous with Coonawarra; it has
pedigree and heritage. But I sell the block
to a unprincipled owner of 20ha of eight
year old Cabernet on black dirt, sited
20km away, and not in the Coonawarra
GI. The different vine age, different soil,
different clones---different everything---
mean that his dirt produces different
(lesser) wine. But he decides that Pete s
Single Vineyard is now conveniently
bigger than it was, and includes that black
dirt fruit. There s no need for continuity or
consistency of site, remember?
He rightly removes Coonawarra from
the label, but that s no problem, as
the connection between Pete s and
Coonawarra is well established. Yes, the
market may sort out his deception in a
few years, but not before some damage
is done. And which consumer who buys
Pete s Single Vineyard after the label has
OLIVER'S TARANGA VINEYARDS
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