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Special stories about special wines
July 07, 2016

What’s so special about alternative varieties?

I have been writing about alternative varieties now for over a decade. It’s been a long and enjoyable trip. Met lots of interesting people, tasted some amazing wines and I have been to some beautiful places, in Australia and around the world.

Over the course of that decade the alternative wine scene has grown enormously. If you look at the statistics it doesn’t seem so. The overwhelming bulk of Australian wine is made from traditional varieties. But "Bulk" is the operative word. The stats are loaded by the vast amount of characterless wine produced on an industrial scale from traditional varieties and destined for casks or for the shelves in cheap chain stores.

The real growth in alternatives can best be measured by looking at three parameters, - the number of different varieties now being used, the number of producers of alternative varietal wine and the number of consumers enthusiastic about them. All three of these areas are continuing to grow.

But what IS so special about alternative varieties?

They are made from special people for a start. People who are passionate, a bit reckless, a bit crazy, a bit creative, a bit visionary and usually quite talented. They fall in love with a variety and just get on with growing it, breaking a few rules perhaps and learning along the way.

So I have set up a few pages on vinodiversity to let some of these special people tell us about their special varieties.

See and

More stories and varieties will be added over the coming weeks.

If you are a special winemaker you might like to share your story as well. Just reply to this message and I’ll give you an invitation with some details.

Data update

I am in the process of improving the readability and layout of the vinodiversity website. Hope you like it. In the process i am renewing my database which contains the list of varieties and producers.

If you see an error or omission on one of the variety pages or regions pages please let me know. It is hard for me to keep up with the changes - new wineries, old wineries closing, wineries adding (or subtracting) alternative varieties on their list. All help gratefully received.

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