Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Monday, May 03, 2010

New England's bumper wine crop

The New England wine region - essentially the New England Tablelands and its western slopes  - is one of Australia's oldest wine growing areas but also its newest in terms of formal recognition.

In my post on New England Wine Regions - Hunter Valley I spoke of the role played by George Wyndham in establishing the Hunter Valley wine industry. I also mentioned that in 1831 he brought the 100,000 acre property "Bukkulla" near Inverell on the edge of the Northern Tablelands and there established another vineyard. Other settlers also planted vineyards and made their own wine.

By 1870 George had 10ha of vines bearing fruit which contributed to the total 11,000 gallons of Wyndham Estate wines being produced. By 1905, wine production from the Inverell area of New England was 227,000 litres from seven or eight larger vineyards and a number of smaller vineyards.

Between 1870 & 1920 wines from the area won many awards at wine shows in Sydney, Amsterdam, London, San Francisco, Chicago & France. A prominent English wine judge of the time wrote of the Bukkulla wines, “(They) have a character and quality above the average of most wine-producing countries. The lowest quality is better than a large proportion of the ordinary wines of Europe, while the best would not suffer in comparison to the finest known growths”.

Thereafter wine production went into decline, really re-emerging over the last ten years.

Now I see from the Armidale Express that it has had a bumper grape crop. I can't give you a link because this story is not on line.

The excellent grape quality is expected to translate into very good wines. Sadly, you won't be able to buy them in your local bottle shop because sales via cellar door or to local outlets take up most of production. If you want to try the wine, you will need to visit or contact wineries direct.