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Tasting offers glimpse of the future for Australian wine

Published:  12 December, 2016

Australia Day Tasting, the event which gives a taste of things to come from Down Under over the following year, has given a glimpse of some of new releases for the trade to try when it returns to the UK next month.

Among the 80 exhibitors coming to London, Edinburgh and Dublin between January 24 and 26 will be Jim Barry Wines, which will be launching its Assyrtiko 2016 - touted as being Australia's first commercial wine made from the Greek grape variety.

Jim Barry Wines will be showcasing the new wine, which came about after managing director Peter Barry tasted Assyrtiko in 2006 while on holiday in Santorini.

Following a lengthy process of importation and quarantine, the Assyrtiko was launched in Australia in November 2016 and is now ready for launch in the UK.

Bird in Hand Winery will also be introducing its range to the UK having recently partnered with Seckford Agencies for national distribution.

Bird in Hand's chief winemaker, Kym Milne MW, will be pouring the wines at the London and Edinburgh events.

At the Australia Day Tasting in London earlier this year, Accolade Wines' new general manager for the UK and Ireland Rob Harrison issued a "word of warning" that challenges lay ahead for Australian wines, which now sits below the average price of wine of £5.83 at just £5.20.

"The point I want to make is a bit of a word of warning for Australia. In terms of being fit for the future I am not really sure we are exactly where we want to be. I think there is work as an industry, and as champions of the industry, we need to do a better job of that," Harrison said at the time.

He added that Australia needs do more work to better compete in the UK market going forward - since then Brexit has happened and the Wine and Spirit Trade Assocation (WSTA) in the UK has been in talks with Wine Australia and trade officials about how trade can be improved through current and impending upheavals.

The Wine Australia event is the largest trade tasting of Australian wine in Europe.

This year will feature over 1000 wines from nearly 200 different wineries and brands, across three tastings days.

Visitors will be able to try new releases: new vintages, but also recently launched and soon-to-launch wines.

Some of the new releases include Thistledown, which will be launching the Blewitt Springs Grenache 2016 while Bob Berton will be presenting Berton Vineyards' new Winemakers Reserve Fiano 2016.

Laura Jewell MW, Wine Australia head of market EMEA, said: "With new wineries, product launches and bigger venues, this year's events shouldn't be missed. I'm confident that the tastings will show off the diversity of Australian wine and reinforce the country's reputation as a premium wine producer."

Wine Australia supports the Australian wine industry, by investing in research, development and extension (RD&E), growing domestic and international markets and protecting the reputation of Australian wine.

The Australia Day Tasting takes place in London (24 January), Edinburgh (26 January, Australia Day) and Dublin (30 January).

Registration is now open at: