Regional wine researchers shared a ‘drop’ of expertise in Hong Kong

TASTE TEST: The unique qualities of Australia's shiraz were explained by wine researchers during a gathering in Hong Kong. Picture: Wine Australia
TASTE TEST: The unique qualities of Australia's shiraz were explained by wine researchers during a gathering in Hong Kong. Picture: Wine Australia

Wine lovers in Hong Kong have been given a taste of the expertise of this region’s wine researchers.

Charles Sturt University’s wine experts were part of a team that used Asia’s premier wine trade fair to both promote Australia wine and collect research data.

Lecturer John Blackman and PhD candidate Wes Pearson conducted a sensory analysis workshop at Vinexpo Hong Kong, while part of a project by the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre and Australian Wine Research Institute to gather new information.

“The workshop at Vinexpo gives us an insight into the language used by Chinese trade members to describe Australian Shiraz and we’re looking forward to comparing that to what we learn from a future workshop with the wine trade in the United States later this year,” Dr Blackman said.

It was part of a number of master class seminars organised by Wine Australia with members of the Chinese wine sector taking part.

The workshop aimed to showcase Wine Australia’s commitment to research, as well as highlighting the quality and diversity of Australian shiraz.

Dr Blackman said the research tool is being used as part of a project to define the sensory properties of shiraz from selected regions in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

“We’re looking for correlations between the sensory properties of Australian Shiraz wines, their chemical profiles and the climatic regions from which the grapes were sourced,” he said.

Mr Pearson, who is also an AWRI senior scientist, is making use of the ‘pivot profiling’ technique as part of his PhD research at CSU.

“Pivot profiling is a rapid data collection method that asks people not to assess and describe wines in isolation but to compare each wine to a control wine, the pivot,” he said.

Wine Australia’s general manager of research and development, Liz Waters, said the Vinexpo Hong Kong engagement was an ideal opportunity to collect information on Chinese wine professionals’ perception of Australian shiraz.

“Similar exercises have been carried out in the USA and when we’ve had large groups of international sommeliers visiting Australia,” Dr Waters said.

“It all helps us better understand how the diversity of Australian shiraz wines is perceived by our international customers and how large the differences between the wines from the different regions are.”

This is shaping up to be a big year for the CSU winery, which in April announced it would be adding three new wines.

CSU is making a pinot noir, pinot gris and prosecco in addition to its other wines.