Vino Geek – New England Wine Region

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For those who aren’t familiar with the New England Wine region, it’s one of the largest defined wine regions in Australia.

This gives the region diversity – something that allows each sub-region to speak for itself. The exact thing that gives the wine from the north-east, around Tenterfield, different growing conditions and characteristics to those of the south, near Armidale and Tamworth. This includes temperatures, rainfall, altitude and soil, often referred to in the wine industry as “Terroir”. In its native tongue, French, “Terroir” refers to the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced.

So I won’t bore you with wine-nerd talk, but what is great to see is the New England region forging its way ahead, with each part of the region gaining its own identity. Whether it’s from the cool-climate hills of Armidale, the snowy Glencoe, or the granite soiled Tenterfield, each sub-region is rapidly gaining momentum in each wine, and winery, defining its own personality.

Each and every wine has two variables: the vineyard it comes from and the winemaker who makes it. For me, it is vital that these two inputs make the wine individual and unique. Wine should be treated like something, someone, you love – with care and interest. A wine has a story, and the stronger that story, the more interest it will gather. Wineries of the New England produce wines with stories. Whether it be produced from a family vineyard that has been part of a way of life for decades, or made in a winery that ensures everything is done by hand using natural winemaking techniques, each and every wine that comes from this great region has a personality.

Now that you know my point of view on wine, why not have a think about it? Visit a cellar door and talk to the winemaker, vigneron or winery owner. Ask them about their vines, how the wines are made, or how long they’d suggest cellaring the wine for. Be sure to get in touch with your local winery, buy a few bottles off them and drink local.
To finish up this edition, a big congratulations to a local winery, Topper’s Mountain. Owner, Mark Kirkby, has been busy on the show circuit and recently picked up some phenomenal awards, including four gold medals at the Berlin International Wine Trophy, and only a few weeks ago, the trophy from the Royal Queensland Wine Show for Best Other Single White Variety of Show with their 2014 Barrel Ferment Gewurztraminer. A fantastic effort, beating a lot of big names in the wine world!

About the Vino Geek: Sam Watson, the Vino Geek, focuses on making good wine more accessible and fun! Check out his website (, like him on Facebook (, and follow him on twitter & instagram (@TheVinoGeek) to keep up to date with reviews, news and special offers!

This column was from issue 99 of New England Focus.

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