“There is no doubt there is a growing market for luxury wine,” says one of Australia’s most highly decorated winemakers, Chris Hatcher, chief winemaker at Wolf Blass.
“People are spending more per bottle of luxury wine. They are becoming more educated about wine and are prepared to pay for something special.
“It’s an evolution of culture – as people look for higher quality food, what they drink is all part of that experience,” says Hatcher.
The volume of bottled wine priced above $50 grew by 18 per cent in the 12 months ending May 2013, according to market research company Nielson.
In response, Wolf Blass has launched its Luxury Collection with bottles up to $179.99.
Growing premium grapes is more labour intensive at every stage and the crop yield is up to six times lower than for commercial wines, hence the higher cost.
“The biggest evolution in the wine industry I’ve seen is regionality and varietal expression,” says Hatcher. “That is, wineries that have distinct characteristics giving the grapes a particular taste.
“As people become more inquisitive about wine they become knowledgeable about different regions and it becomes a hobby to look for differences in wine.”
The Riesling and Chardonnay wines in the Luxury Collection are grown in a small area of the Clare Valley and in a small part of the Adelaide Hills.
“Some people buy luxury wine for investment,” says Hatcher. “But most are looking at it is an investment for themselves as a better wine to drink rather than a financial gain.
“I make wine for people to drink.” Cheers to that.
“Queensland has a warm climate and consumers are looking for lighter wine styles to go with fresher foods,” says Hatcher.
For summer Queensland days, he recommends Wolf Blass’ Riesling and its chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills.