is a project of Darby Higgs, a Melbourne based wine writer and enthusiast. It deals primarily with Australian wine made using "alternative" grape varieties
*See how Darby "retired" and became busier than ever.
The Central Idea
The central idea of Vinodiversity is that wine is a product of prodigious variety and diversity. Yet most people seem to become fixated with just a few varieties or styles.
When I tell people what I'm on about they sometimes say
"But what's wrong with Shiraz?"
And I say
"Nothing. But it's like saying what's wrong with grilled eye fillet steak? I enjoy it but I don't eat it everyday."
Better wines or more interesting wines?
There are thousands of grape varieties used throughout the world, some undoubtedly make better wine than others but each has characteristics that make them interesting.
Both of the terms "better" and "more interesting" call up concepts that are necessarily subjective.
For each wine lover a better wine is one that she enjoys more than another. For example, Vermentino is an interesting wine for Australians to try but it is fairly humdrum for Sardinians.
Which wines are described here?
This site aims to cover the wines made in Australia from grape varieties that are not in the mainstream. The border between mainstream and alternative is fuzzy, and I have erred on the side of including varieties rather than excluding them.
There is some reference to non-Australian wines, but I don't have experience or time to cover these. I generally confine my remarks to table wines, but some varieties such as the Portuguese varieties which are used primarily to make fortified wines are increasingly being used in table wines.
Where do I get the data?
Behind Vinodiversity, and Vinodiversity the Book, is a large database containing entries for 1600+ wineries and the alternative varieties that they use. It has been compiled from material from wineries; newspaper and magazine articles and advertisements; printed guides to Australian wines; lists of wine show results; winery and regional websites; other websites; and contributions by readers.
The database is constantly being updated but it never quite catches up. The industry is changing so quickly.
If you wish to help by notifying me of any changes, omissions or errors please contact me