Just 1% of Australian vineyards grow their grapes in areas above 600 metres. This and a number of geological and topographical factors are what constitute the uniqueness in winemaking in the region of Orange, New South Wales. Newer in comparison to the old wine household names of the industry, the mineral rich hills of limestone, shales, greywhack overlain and basalt rich soils create a distinct taste and body.
Grapes have more difficulty ripening in cooler climates like Orange, which result in higher levels of acidity and lower levels of sugar. Orange’s elevation combines to create a medium to light-bodied aromatic drop which is the perfect storm for connoisseurs who lean more towards light, crisp, and dry wines.
“This time of year in the winemaking cycle is always an exciting time with many of our new vintage wine releases appearing in market and on wine lists. It is a celebration of bud burst, which symbolises the beginning of the growing process,” said Orange360 General Manager Caddie Marshall. “It is terrific to partner with the Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce to showcase more than half of our region’s cool climate wine brands.”
The wine making region of Orange forms a belt of 60 vineyards and 40 cellar doors around the township in which 60% of the wine produced is red.
Quick Questions with the Orange region winemakers & brewers appearing at Pyrmont Festival:
Slow Wine Co – Managing Director, Terrey Johnson
How does the unique climate and factors unique to Orange flavor your wine and cultivation process?
Slow Wine Co draws all its fruit from our Bantry Grove vineyard, located in the ‘deep’ south of the wine region beyond Blayney. It is where our home is, and where I have lived all my life (>70 yrs).
Terroir to me is all about location, soil type, altitude, slope and aspect. The vineyard is planted on an east facing slope, with a moderate slope. Soil is based on andesite (volcanic ash) rock laid down 450 million years ago. For comparison, most of the vineyards in the Orange region are on basalt and ‘only’ 250 millions years old. 960 metres elevation, the east facing slope and location 50 kms south of Orange makes us one of the coolest vineyards in Orange.
Therefore our varieties are those that you find growing in central and northern France. Think the Loire valley, Burgundy, the Champagne region and Alsace. We can’t ripen Cabernet, Shiraz and other Mediterranean varieties.
Keen judges are starting to recognise subtle differences in flavour and style in our wines such as Pinot Noir – not better or worse than Orange, but different. That is what terroir is about and to be celebrated – “Vive la difference”.
Badlands Brewery – Head Brewer, Jon Shiner
What are the different adjuncts used in beer and what is it exactly that makes your brew unique to Orange?
“Most Aussie-based macro-breweries (that control about 95% of the market and are all off-shore owned – think brands like VB, Tooheys, Carlton, XXXX, Great Northern etc. – use around 40% cane sugar to make their beers. At Badlands we use 100% malted wheat or barley to extract the sugars that get turned to alcohol. Badlands differentiates itself from most other breweries because the Owner is also the Head Brewer. This means that the brewer has full creative control over the beers styles and quality. We are known especially for our flavourful, sessionable and interesting take on new and traditional beer styles and producing “Dangerously Drinkable” beers.
Pyrmont’s finest eateries will also spotlight Orange’s winemakers with a tantalizing series of special events, including: wines from Orange region on show at the Pyrmont Point Hotel (20 September – 6 October); and a celebration of all things biodynamic, organic and direct-trade at Bar Zini paired with Tamburlaine Organic Wines (21 September).
On 24 September, The Apprentice will see Sydney’s next exciting generation of up-and-coming student chefs serving up a spectacular dinner matched with wines from SeeSaw Wines; and following the festivities in Pirrama Park on 29 September, head down Harris Street for the official after party at The Terminus Hotel with Printhe Wines.
Running throughout the festival will be evenings of Orange wine tasting hosted by local specialty liquor purveyors Porter’s Liquor; and cooking masterclasses with Sydney Seafood School, with Michael Rantissi (Kepos Street Kitchen) and sushi master Hideo Dekura divulging their secrets on top-notch seafood cooking.
Gather your nearest and dearest, and sample award-winning wines exemplary of Orange’s high-altitude, cool-climate flavor profiles from family-run Phillip Shaw; organic, vegan-friendly drops from minimal-intervention winemakers Tamburlaine Organic Wines; and Slow Wine Co, whose distinctly slow approach combines Orange’s unique soils, small lot selection, and slow maturation methods.
Also in the spotlight will be limited-release beers from Pioneer Brewing Co, with vibrantly hoppy Extra Pale Ales, refreshing lagers and everything in between; and Badlands Brewery, whose creative approach to brewing has seen the use of black truffles, finger-limes and chilies in past kegged creations.
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Cover Image: Anne Marie Calilhanna / Pyrmont Festival Launch
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