It seems like it's the week of wine at Idealog HQ, with various vino news coming in left, right and centre.
First is the giant PR push for the new book on George Fistonich and his story of founding Villa Maria, The Winemaker by Kerry Tyack and out through Random House on October 5 ($45). We've got a sneak peek at the book, which chronicles Sir George's journey over the past 50 years as he goes from humble beginnings in Mangere to the well-known wine label it is today. Sir George was the main proponent of screw caps in New Zealand and the first to go entirely to the new method. Now it seems almost unthinkable that we once used corks! Corkscrews – so inconvenient.
That brings us to the next item: local wine company Kim Crawford wines has not only seen the light with screw caps, it's going straight towards the sun. Kim Crawford has decided to launch a new screw cap on a bottle of its sparkling sauvignon blanc (on sale mid-October). The idea is that you don't have to drink the whole bottle in one go, but rather can save it til the next session. Screw caps on sparkling wine are already seen in Australia, with much success.
Kim Crawford sales and marketing manager Rob Sinclair said the ease of opening and the safety factor are both compelling benefits of shifting to screw caps for sparkling.
“Plus, the screw cap encourages moderation – if you know the wine will retain its bubbles, you’re probably more motivated to save some for later.”
The unique closure system took five years to develop and "significant investment" in R&D to ensure it was suited to traditional (five-gas-volume) or high-pressure sparkling wines. (More on the history of screw caps for interested types here.)
Finally, with the increasing focus on health and lifestyle and with summer just around the corner (hooray!), it's no surprise to see wine brands launching light ranges. Brancott Estate has created a light wine range with 9 percent alcohol.
Chief winemaker Patrick Materman confirmed the trend.
"Consumers have told us that they're looking for a wine style that's naturally lighter in alcohol," Materman said.
Industry figures in Australia, for example, show the lower-alcohol table wine category almost doubled in size in 2011 and is still growing. It's a trend mostly driven by weight-conscious wine lovers; Weight Watchers recently endorsed the light wine range by McWilliam's after its consumer research showed there was a potential market for the product.