New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has dominated the Australian white wine market, leaving local winemakers searching for a way to dethrone the top-selling Kiwi brands.
For Burch Family Wines, this means adjusting the production techniques used on their Margaret River and Great Southern vineyards.
Natalie Burch, Operations Manager and Director for Howard Park Wines, says that the key to creating a worthy opponent to our rival across the Tasman isn’t in imitation, but distinction.
“NZ Sauvignon Blanc has been very successful, but it’s not something Australia could replicate because we aren’t New Zealand,” says Burch. “So producers, like ourselves, who have Sauvignon Blanc planted have looked at how to differentiate ourselves and make the wines more interesting to drink.”
The aim for Burch Family Wines is to create a drink that hits the mark in its own right and is known for its exceptional quality and food friendliness. In this attempt to contrast the much-loved New Zealand varietal, they have carefully applied innovative techniques to their winemaking process.
“The main difference is oak,” explains Burch. “We tend to do a little barrel fermentation in French oak or extended lees/skin contact. It softens the fruit acidity of the wine a little and adds more richness and complexity.”
Demand for Australian-made Sauvignon Blanc has gone up, despite the fact that they often come with a higher price tag. This can be due, in part, to their distinctive flavours, richness and complexity, which makes them well worth the price.
As Australian winemakers become more eager to reclaim the white wine market, innovation will undoubtedly follow. This commitment to bettering the much-loved varietal demonstrates how wine drinkers can benefit from the ever-evolving nature of the industry.
“It’s a very exciting time in the industry; overall, the wines Australia are making now are better than we’ve ever made before because it is hypercompetitive,” says Burch. “There’s so much to try and enjoy. It’s a great time to be an Australian wine drinker.
This article was first published on Leading Agriculture.