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Image: Wine Australia

AWRI winemaking trial hits the road

RD&E News | February 2019
Image: Wine Australia
08 Feb 2019
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Imagine having the time, energy and resources to experiment at will with fruit from a single vineyard – changing just one variable with each wine you produce.

That’s exactly what the team at the Australian Wine Research Institute has assembled for participants to experience at this year’s Cabernet Sauvignon tasting workshops.

Funded by Wine Australia, the workshops across more than 20 wine regions will provide participants with the opportunity to taste up to 17 different wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from a single source using a range of winemaking techniques and from the same block but harvested on different harvest dates.

‘The aim of the workshops is to provide a better understanding of winemaking techniques and strategies that can be applied to Cabernet Sauvignon, and to evaluate the differences resulting from the techniques applied’, said AWRI Senior Oenologist Matt Holdstock.

‘Being able to apply that information in a practical way will in turn assist winemakers to adopt new winemaking techniques and improve the quality and stylistic diversity of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon wines.’

Matt said that many wineries didn’t have the capacity to make more than a few experimental wines each vintage, ‘so to be able to sit down and assess wine made with fruit from the same vineyard, with one variable changed at a time under controlled conditions, provided some great learning opportunities and potential options to implement.’

Some of the winemaking treatments included in the AWRI’s Cabernet Sauvignon tasting workshop include:

  • extended post-fermentation maceration
  • whole bunch fermentation
  • cold soak
  • enzyme addition
  • timing of malolactic fermentation
  • oenotannin application
  • saignée, and
  • water addition.

Matt said some of the winemaking treatments used in the trial were considered ‘standard practice,’ and were relatively simple and inexpensive to implement.

‘Treatments including hot and rapid fermentation (fermented at a temperature higher than the control ferment), enzyme addition, cold soak, extended maceration and water dilution (where the fruit was picked much riper and diluted back to the control °Baumé) appear to have had a significant positive effect when compared to the control wine.’

He said flavour, colour and mouthfeel differences – including variation in tannin extraction – were quite distinct in some of the treatments used in the trial.

Matt said that the pre-vintage timing of the workshops was ideal: ‘It works well with winemakers preparing for vintage, and hopefully will provide them with some ideas for the upcoming vintage.’

Click here for more information about the treatments included in the winemaking trial.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.