By Amy Looker
Riverina’s Westend Estate will continue to develop its alternative varieties of grapes during 2013, as it looks to gain market share from more traditional varieties such as Shiraz and Chardonnay.
Known for pioneering Durif in Australia, the family-owned winery has remained focused on developing new wine varieties with a particular emphasis on Italian grapes.
Managing director, Bill Calabria, said that developing new varieties is something Westend has regarded as an important aspect of the business and he is impressed with the results the winery has seen so far.
“We need a point of difference and if we just stick to producing Shiraz and Chardonnay there would be no future for us as a family business. Ten years ago we launched our Durif – back then Durif was a tired old variety, but today it is our most iconic wine,” Calabria told TheShout.
“We also have rare varieties such as Saint Macaire, which only has 50 acres currently grown in Australia, and our famous Aglianico. Climatically, the Riverina is well-suited to a number of Italian varieties and in 2012 we released our Calabria Pinot Bianco which has had great success already on the wine show circuit, picking up a gold medal at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show.”
Since 2002, Westend has an extensive program of developing wines from the Southern Italian varieties.
From this program three other varieties are in development – Nero D’Avola, Montepulciano and Negroamaro – and these are earmarked for future releases to join the Aglianico and Pinot Bianco.