By James Wells in Melbourne

With predictions of an excellent 2012 vintage which commenced last week, Jacob's Creek chief winemaker Bernard Hickin has revealed he and his Orlando team have started experimenting with eight new European grape varietals from Portugal, Italy and Spain.

Speaking during the brand’s largest marketing execution at The Australian Open in Melbourne this week, Hickin said the full bodied varietals which have been planted include Italian varietals Montepulciano, Negro Amaro, Fiano, Sagrantino, Nero D’Avola, as well as a Spanish varietal Graciano and Portguese varietal Touriga Nacional.

“In recent years we’ve replanted some of our vineyards with some more experimental and emerging varietals and we are starting to see good fruit coming off these new plantings. This is providing us with the opportunity to be more adventurous and expand the Jacob’s Creek portfolio with new offerings.”

Click on the video below to hear more from Jacob's Creek chief winemaker, Bernard Hickin…

This experimentation follows the introduction of the female-friendly Cool Harvest range which features lighter alcohol styles around 10 per cent ABV with varietals such as Pinot Grigio, Shiraz Rose, Sauvignon Blanc and Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc.

“We think that in order for the Australian category to prosper at home and overseas, we need to look at innovative ways to bring new wines to market and create demand while also catering to evolving consumer tastes.”

Hickin said that news from the Murray Darling region where crushing has begun for the Chardonnay grapes used in Jacob’s Creek sparkling wines shows good promise for the 2012 vintage.

“At this stage, our quality expectations on this year’s vintage in Australia are high,” Hickin said.

“Spring rain established ideal soil moisture levels for vine growth in most regions and this, coupled with relatively mild temperatures throughout December, has provided a great foundation for vintage 2012.

“Crops appear to be light to moderate at this early stage, which is usually indicative of good fruit intensity. We’re looking forward to veraison (onset of ripening) across other varieties and regions so we can start to really judge which will be the standout performers for the coming year,” he said.

“Of course it depends on favourable weather conditions over the next three months, but at this stage, we are quite excited about the quality of what’s to come and certainly expect some cracking Australian wines to emerge from 2012.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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