By James Atkinson
Accolade Wines celebrated the 160th birthday of the Hardy Wine Company with the launch of the mid-tier William Hardy range, which matches Australia's top wine varieties with the regions to which they are most suited.
The William Hardy range recognises the 40-year contribution to the company of Bill Hardy (pictured), who is a now a brand ambassador for Hardys and the great-great grandson of founder Thomas Hardy.
Line priced at $20.99, the new range sits right on the border of the 'masstige' and luxury segments, plugging an important gap in the company's portfolio.
"It's clearly an attempt to lift the centre of gravity of our range – we're trying to lift that drinker of our Nottage Hill or Oomoo brands up one level further," Bill Hardy told TheShout.
"Hardys in Australia and internationally has been a bigger player in the sub-$15 area – we've got some very solid top end wines but we were pretty light on in the $15 to $30 a bottle area."
He said Hardys is one of few companies that is in a position to match the country's best varieties with the best regions for those varieties, as it has done with the William Hardy range.
"Because we have holdings and vineyards and grower relationships all around the country, we can actually source most varieties that are available in most regions," he said.
Hardys winemakers Paul Lapsley and Tom Newtown
Hardy agreed that the new range and associated launch event in McLaren Vale – which included a vertical tasting of the Eileen Hardy range – signalled that the focus of Hardys' current owner Accolade is now fully on the wine.
"Our changes of ownership, our changes of staff have meant that we've lacked a bit of direction over the last few years," he said.
"We've now put together a team who are a lot more focused and want to start pushing our wines a little more than we have done."
The current William Hardy range comprises:
William Hardy Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
William Hardy Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012
William Hardy Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2012
William Hardy Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2012
It will be sold through major and independent liquor stores nationally.
Hardy said the range could in future include other renowned Australian combinations such as Margaret River Cabernet or Yarra Valley Chardonnay.