Max Allen’s new book The Future Makers: Australian wines for the 21st century has recently been released, showcasing Australia’s best grape growers and winemakers. Below is an excerpt from the book, in which Allen talks about Yalumba’s work with alternative varieties and environmental performance. For more information about Max Allen and where to purchase the book, visit his blog at www.realaustralianwines.blogspot.com.
“If I had to nominate one company as the leading large family wine business in Australia, it would have to be Yalumba, the lairds of Angaston, on the western edge of the Eden Valley. The company just ticks all the right boxes. It has an amazingly sensitive awareness of its precious 150 year heritage, and builds that depth into the story it tells the world. The company-wide sustainability program, Vitis, pre-dates most other companies’ environmental initiatives by several years, and is very impressive in its scope and its commitment to emissions reduction, carbon sequestration and organic viticulture. The leadership the company has shown recently on issues of label integrity by self-imposing a code of conduct regarding the use of slippery terms such as ‘old vine’ and ‘reserve’ are commendable. And there’s no more vocal proponent of alternative grapes, particularly Eden Valley viognier.
“Yalumba’s pioneering work with white grapes in Eden Valley goes back decades...It’s their dogged commitment to viognier that impresses me most, though: the Virgilius viognier, the top-of-the-range white in Yalumba’s stable, sourced from now-mature Eden Valley viognier vineyards, is a magnificent expression of both grape and place with super-exotic honeysuckle syrup and cream crammed in between a latticework of perfectly judged oak and fine acidity.
“Yalumba lead the industry in the area of environmental performance, and have won many national and international green awards along the way, thanks in large part to Cecil Camilleri, the company’s thinker-in-residence. His official title is Senior Technical Manager, Environmental Matters, but that dry description doesn’t do justice to the depth and breadth of his work on the ethical and philosophical issues surrounding the sustainable production of grapes and wine.”
Max Allen, “The Future Makers: Australian wines for the 21st century” Hardie Grant Books, 2010, pg 273-274