Demand for single-site Australian wine has grown exponentially in recent years, so much so that East End Cellars owner Michael Andrewartha has resorted to strategically allocating his stock.
“We’re seeing a lot of interest coming from local buyers but also out of Hong Kong, Singapore, China, [and] Denmark,” Andrewartha says.
“We get emails every day and have started to limit the stock we give to each of our clients because it can be so rare.”
Much of this demand has been driven by an increase in the number of wine investors who purchase young wines with the intention of leaving them to age and increase in value.
Provided the quality and reputation is there, wine investment can be a prosperous venture.
“I’m not a fortune-teller or financial adviser; all I can go on is past history,” Andrewartha says, when pressed on how much wine can increase in value.
“Wine value can go up 10 to 15 per cent a year – that’s for a good-quality wine.
“The [Penfolds] Grange can go up 10 per cent a year minimum, [and] the rest sort of follow suit.”
Fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke of Henschke Wines, which is hosting a vertical tasting of Shiraz from its Mount Edelstone vineyard at this month’s Tasting Australia, says now is an opportune time for people to consider putting down wine to age.
“Now that we have an international market for Australian wine, the value of the wine has increased because of the demand for the wine over a larger market,” he says.
“The average Australian consumer is more knowledgeable [in wine] than in most countries in the world, probably because we’re a smaller nation and we’re more involved in our history and our heritage.
“I think there’s much more awareness now and it’s a good time for people not to go straight to a bottle shop and drink a bottle of wine that night, but to think about how a wine will age and give the wine an opportunity to show itself at its best.”
Both Henschke and Andrewartha recommend novice investors research and taste wines and establish a relationship with their local wine merchant.
“Always buy quality single-site wines and make sure it’s from a reputable producer,” Andrewartha says.
“Go to the tastings, enjoy the journey and understand what you buy.”
Andrewartha suggests medium-priced South Australian labels including Spinifex Wines, Kaesler Wines and Rusden Wines as good starting points.
Good-quality wines will show up better the next day, or days after
“These are a range of wines under $50 (a bottle) that will certainly pick up on price,” he says.
“It’s a knack to pick up – knowing the emerging winemakers and where they are.”
To test a wine’s quality and ability to age, Andrewartha recommends removing the bottle cork and leaving the bottle in a cellar overnight.
“If it’s good if not better after that 24-hour period, it’s worth keeping a decade.
“If you leave it two nights we believe that’s two decades in a cellar. Good-quality wines will show up better the next day, or days after.”
Wine enthusiasts will be able to gain a deeper understanding of how a single-site wine evolves with age at the Henschke Wines vertical tasting masterclass, which is part of the East End Cellars Masterclass series in the Tasting Australia Town Square (in Victoria Square). Taking place on April 14, it will feature 10 Mount Edelstone Shiraz vintages from 1986 through to 2013.
“They [the vintages] are really quite precious and rare now, even in our cellars,” Henschke says.
“There’s a lot of spice and perfume in the young wines but over time as the wines age the primary characters change into more secondary characters, [so] you see a huge variation between vintages.
“The wines will be in possibly the best condition that you’ll see them at the tasting.”
Henschke Wines Mount Edelstone Vertical Tasting will take place at East End Cellars Masterclass Pavilion at Town Square on April 14 as part of this year’s Tasting Australia festival. Further information is available here.
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