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Reserve Charter

The Yalumba Wine Company RESERVE CHARTER

In the wine world, 'Reserve' invokes connotations of:

  • a 'special' wine,
  • a wine worthy of seeking out for its enhanced character or quality,
  • a wine that might be more expensive than otherwise comparable wines.

In some parts of the world, the use of the "R" word or its local translation is strictly defined in local wine law - with maturation time and/or alcohol level often the principle criteria.

We know from conversations over the years with our peers that we at Yalumba are not the only Australian winemakers who feel that excessive or indiscriminate use of Reserve has undermined its 'specialness' leading to a loss of both credibility and value, while causing confusion in the minds of wine consumers – particularly when the proposition just doesn’t stack up!

We are not finger-pointing here, just stating the obvious.

As with many evolving issues, habits develop over time and we also have been guilty, by our own definition, of misusing the word Reserve. Being part of the problem, we now wish to be part of the solution.

In an attempt to redress this situation we have developed a Reserve Charter to clearly define what Reserve means when put on a bottle of Yalumba or other fine wines of the Hill-Smith Family. This will hopefully neatly link to the Old Vine Charter we have earlier communicated.

To establish a framework, we initially researched the dictionary definition of reserve and attempted to apply those interpretations to wine, with the following result:

  • A wine "put aside or held back for a later occasion or special use" or a wine which is "an outstanding selection or batch from a particular vintage – above the norm".

The inherent subjectivity of wine led us to consider more hurdles to add both rigour to the winemaker and value to the consumer.

As wine consumers ourselves, we also had the belief that a person buying a bottle of Reserve wine might reasonably expect:

  • a wine of provenance
  • a guarantee of quality
  • a wine of relatively limited quantity
  • a wine possessing superior bottle ageing qualities

We have attempted to address the above in the following way:



A Reserve wine from The Yalumba Wine Company and Hill-Smith Family Vineyards will:

  • Be Made From Only the Following (Classic) Grape Varieties: [inc blends]
    • Cabernet Sauvignon
    • Shiraz
    • Merlot
    • Pinot Noir
    • Chardonnay
    • Riesling
    • (ergo even our beloved Viognier doesn't yet get the nod)
  • Be From a Vineyard that:
    • is farmed sustainably
    • has a history of achievement
    • has a balanced yield
    • in a reserve year, enjoyed favourable seasonable conditions, and naturally achieved the desired physiological ripeness.
  • Be Vinified:
    • with minimal intervention
    • using traditional winemaking practices
    • with no shortcuts
    • with full and complete records


Quantity, Quality & Longevity

A Reserve wine from The Yalumba Wine Company and Hill-Smith Family Vineyards will:

  • Be Bottled and Bottle Matured (until release):
    • under Yalumba's control (on the estate)
    • in a suitably controlled temperature environment
    • as part of a stated, auditable quantity produced.
  • Be of superior quality:
    • As assessed by a special tasting panel including expert(s) not employed by Yalumba. The tasting panel will be identified and referenced with accompanying information on release.
  • Be (money back) Guaranteed:
    • as to its quality
    • for the life of its optimum drinking period



The information on vineyard, season, winemaking, maturation, quantity, predicted longevity and all criteria pertinent to the rewarding of Reserve status will be contained in a detailed statement accessible to any purchaser of our Reserve wines.

We can't turn back the clock but we can ensure that any new releases from this day on must fulfil the aspirations of the Yalumba Reserve Charter - it may not yet be perfect, but it's a start.



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