While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in all different ways, one of its common impacts has been to push people to re-evaluate things – from businesses, to priorities, to values. 

In recent months in Australia, there’s been plenty of time to do this, as restrictions limit our ability to go about life as we usually would. 

The team from South Australian wine label Terre à Terre have used this time to not only reflect on how far they’ve come in twenty years, but also where they will go next. The latest releases from the label come from this evaluation, and are indicative of their new streamlined future.

Xavier Bizot, Owner and Winemaker, described how they came to this point. He said that adapting to a new normal at the same time as they underwent their 2020 vintage was extremely difficult, but proved their resilience and 

“It is undeniable that the extraordinary climatic and economic challenges of late 2019 and of the first half of 2020 will have a long-lasting impact,” Bizot said.

“However, the seasons continue no matter what else is happening in the world and so vintage 2020 was conducted under trying and stressful circumstances for us all. At Terre à Terre and DAOSA, we have been lucky to have had an excellent quality 2020 vintage both in Wrattonbully and in the Piccadilly Valley, albeit in minute quantities. The wines in tank and barrel are of the highest standard, which has brought some comfort in these otherwise very difficult times.”

The free time caused by the pandemic also helped Bizot and the team to think about what they have achieved since they planted the Bizot Vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley in 1995 and the Crayères Vineyard in Wrattonbully in 2004. This was followed by their first wines under the Terre à Terre and DAOSA labels in 2008 and 2009 respectively. 

Bizot said: “Since the very beginning we have always maintained a strong vision- to select cool climate vineyard sites that are best suited to their variety, to manage our vineyards ourselves, and to only make wine from fruit that we grow and harvest by hand.

“Over the past twenty years or so we have continually worked to improve our knowledge and understanding of our different vineyard sites in the Piccadilly Valley and Wrattonbully, most notably in terms of pruning regime, refined vine training practices and soil management. In the winery, over the years we have tried different techniques for different wines, different oak regimes (new/old, large/small, but always French…), and different fermentation regimes for both red and white wines (use of whole fruit for white pressing, use of whole fruit in red fermentation, wild ferments trials).”

The 12 year period of exploration in winemaking and grape growing culminated in 65 different wines and vintages, something that Bizot described as “an essential foundation to refine our style and to achieve the best out of our precious vineyard sites.”

After all this reflection and evaluation, Terre à Terre has now released a line of four wines which the team believes represents a milestone in their history, and the way forward. Brand Manager Rebecca Dugmore explained further. 

“We have moved past the experimental years of really getting to know the vineyard site, to a place where we are very confident of which wines best represent this unique terroir – Cabernet Shiraz blends and Sauvignon Blanc,” Dugmore said. 

The four new releases are all from the Crayères Vineyard, including a 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, a 2018 Cabernet Franc Shiraz, a 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, and a 2016 Crayères Vineyard Reserve red blend. The unique characters of each expression gives the range great cellaring potential, as well as being a high quality ‘drink now’ option. 

Not only does the range create a premium wine drinking experience, it also tells a story of the winery and its vineyards. And as Dugmore describes, positioning a range to do this is incredibly important – one of the major takeaways from the past few months of challenges for Terre à Terre has been: “the value of carving out time for reflection on your business and wines, and resetting your vision for the future.

This is of note to retailers, because as Dugmore said: “The wines which we have just released represent the end of the experimental phase and represent what we think is the very best expression of the vineyard.

“It has been great to see increased support from retailers of small, local wineries. Particularly in the light of this summer’s bushfires, and then followed up by COVID, I think customers seem to be more aware than ever of where their dollar goes and it’s lovely to see that interest reflected by retailers.”

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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