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Published:  23 July, 2008

By David Williams

Former Rosemount/Southcorp star winemaker Philip Shaw has unveiled the first fruits of his new life as CEO of Cumulus Wines - a new range from Orange and the Central Ranges. The range, which features Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and red and white blends, is divided into three sub-brands. Two of these - Rolling (RRP 6.99) and Climbing (7.99) are already available in the UK through D&D Wines. Another more premium sub-brand, Chasing, will follow shortly. The wines are produced using fruit from Cumulus' 508 hectare (ha) estate, which straddles the Orange/Central Ranges boundary and which was acquired by Cumulus when it purchased the assets of the liquidated Reynolds Wines in May. Shaw's own vineyards in Orange also supply some of the fruit, while the rest is sourced from growers in high-altitude' sites, with the highest located at 1,000m above sea-level. Shaw said the company is looking to sell 20,000 to 30,000 cases in the UK, and said the emphasis was on bright fruit, elegance and palate structure'. Regionality will also be important, and Shaw identified Merlot as particularly successful in the area. A lot of wines in Bordeaux have lost their sense of regionality,' Shaw said. These wines will be more European than Australian in style.' In a nod to his former employer, Shaw, who still sells grapes from his own Orange vineyard to Rosemount, said that he wanted to take a totally different direction to Southcorp [with Cumulus]. I don't want it to be corporate at all.' The unusual labels, which are produced in-house, are an example of this approach, he said. The market is a bit constipated with labels. So you have to do something different, which is what we have done.' Shaw will also be launching his own range of wines, sourced from his own vineyards, next year.