Last night saw the Mistletoe Wines 2009 Reserve Chardonnay crowned the 2011 Citibank NSW Wine of the Year in front of the who's who of the wine industry at the Citibank NSW Wine Awards Presentation Dinner at Guillaume at Bennelong in Sydney.
Those who attended also heard from special guest the NSW Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Small Business, the Honourable Katrina Hodgkinson MP, who was delighted to announce new Nielsen data, revealing that since the launch of the government /industry partnership behind the NSW Wine Strategy in February 2008, sales of bottled NSW wine within NSW have dramatically increased from $52.4 million a year to a new record yearly sales figure of $86.3 million*, a 64% increase in just 3 years.
Mike De Iuliis, Chair of the NSW Wine Strategy said, "The partnership with the NSW government has been critical in the achievement of these great results and we know with continued hard work this growth is here to stay."
The State of NSW is passionate about wine. In the last 12 months, ending July 2011, total bottled wine sales in NSW have grown by +8.4% in value – outperforming the market with other States growing at just +3.4%. And the latest quarterly figures highlight further growth of +11.1%, show that not only is there growth but that growth is accelerating!
Mike added, "And it's not that NSWs enjoys wine, we are also continuing to appreciate our local wines more. The latest Nielsen figures show local Sales of NSW wine in NSW are now outpacing bottled wine from Victoria and South Australia by 2X and whilst all price points are growing it is the premium wines in the $20+ per bottle category which continue to lead the growth with an increase of +14%, now making up 15% of the state's bottled wine sales."
These amazing Off-Premise sales figures from Nielsen are complemented in a report by Wine Business Solutions on the On-Premise that shows a 22% increase in the last year in the representation of NSW and ACT wines on NSW /ACT wine lists.
Even more encouraging is that the message of NSW wines' quality, diversity and value - which has been so successfully accepted by wine drinkers in NSW - is now spreading. Nielsen figures show within Total Australia, sales of bottled wine indicated to be from NSW is growing by +10.6% in value with growth rates in QLD and SA doubling and quadrupling respectively! Reasons for all NSW winemakers to celebrate. But it was Ken Sloan from Mistletoe Wines who had the most to celebrate, collecting the Trophy for the 2011 Citibank NSW Wine of the Year, flanked by the other 8 Trophy winners of the 2011 Citibank NSW Wine Awards:
2011 Citibank NSW Wine of the Year & Trophy Best Young Chardonnay ~ Mistletoe Wines 2009 Reserve Chardonnay, Hunter ($40)
A contemporary Chardonnay which highlights that this grape is making a comeback! This wine also collected Gold at the 2011 Winewise Awards and 2011 Hunter Valley Boutique Winemakers Show, and last year was crowned the 'Reserve Wine of Show' at the International Chardonnay Challenge in NZ. Mistletoe Wines is a wonderful example of the family businesses which dominate NSW winemaking (family owned wineries account for over 75% of the total NSW crush) and shower our vineyards with care and dedication, creating wines worthy of world-class status.
Trophy Best Young Semillon ~ Two Rivers 2011 Stones Throw Semillon, Hunter ($16)
Another multi-award winning wine, capturing the qualities of the Hunters signature white grape and showing exceptional value for money at just $16.
Trophy Best Mature Dry White ~ Thomas Wines 2006 Cellar Reserve Braemore Semillon, Hunter ($45)
Re-released in August 2011, this wine is just starting to emerge with those classic bottle aged Hunter Semillon complexities.
Trophy Best Young Shiraz ~ First Creek Wines 2010 Winemakers Reserve Shiraz, Hunter ($42)
The Hunter has again collected the most Trophies, with the 'new generation' of winemakers, not resting on their laurels but pushing winemaking further.
Trophy Best Young Cabernet ~ Winburndale Wines 2008 Fontana Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Ranges ($30)
Bathurst can sometimes be a little overshadowed by its neighbour Orange, but wines from the Central Ranges are starting to shine in their own right.
Trophy Best Young Red Other Variety ~ Logan 2009 Weemala Merlot, Central Ranges ($18)
The 2nd wine from the Central Ranges, proving their quality is not just a case of luck but an emerging region with great grapes & talented winemaking.
Trophy Best Young Red Blend ~ Logan 2009 Cabernet Merlot, Orange ($25)
The region of Orange goes from strength to strength every year creating increasing amounts of wine with elegance and flair.
Trophy Best Mature Dry Red ~ Freeman Vineyards Secco Aged Release 2004 Rondinella Corvina, Hilltops ($75)
A very unusual blend of two Italian varieties this wine showcases their amazing ageing potential and longevity.
Trophy Best Sweet White ~ De Bortoli 2008 Noble One, Riverina ($64)
Yet again proving that the Riverina is a region that dominates in sweet wine production.
Alongside the Trophies, two other special awards were presented on the night. The NSW Department of Primary Industries Graham Gregory Award is presented to someone for their individual contribution to the NSW wine industry and this year the deserving recipient was Richard Hilder. Katrina Hodgkinson, NSW Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Small Business, presented the award commenting, "Richard has contributed significantly to the viticulture and horticulture industries within the Australian Wine Industry. His forward planning for the development of irrigation, fertigation, pruning, harvesting, and other viticultural practices has benefited the overall wine industry…it is because of people like Mr Hilder that the NSW wine industry is continuing to go from strength to strength and is a major player in the international wine market."
The NSW Department of Primary Industries Award for Best Organic Wine was awarded to David Lowe for the Lowe Wines 2009 Zinfandel from Mudgee. The Organic category was a hot division this year with 30 Organic wines entered into the Wine Show (20% more than last year) and 2 were awarded with spots in the 2011 Citibank NSW Wine Top 40. Both of these wines, along with the rest of the Top 40, will be on taste for the public at the upcoming Citibank NSW Wine Awards "Best of the Best Top 40" Tasting on Thursday 20th October. Visit www.nswwine.com.au for details.
*MAT 31 July 2011 Nielsen figures:
· Data prepared by Nielsen is based on wine sold in NSW that is indicated to be from NSW.
· The figures are calculated using off-premise sales of wines that indicate that they are from NSW on the bottle.
· In $AUD dollar