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There's nothing new about blending different types of grape at any stage of the winemaking process to create a finished wine. The purpose of blending is to enhance the flavour, aroma, complexity and balance of a wine. Winemakers are striving to produce a wine that has something to offer from the front to the back of the palate with the right balance of fruit, acidity, alcohol and tannins.
A variety of blending options are available to a winemaker - some blended wines are put into an oak barrel halfway through the ageing process, other blends are made by combining the wines one to two weeks before bottling, while sometimes the wines ferment together from start to finish.
Penfold's Grange, Australia's most revered red wine, is a Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon blend, made with grapes from a variety of South Australian wine regions. Every vintage the composition of the final wine will be altered according to the fruit and how it works in harmony.
Wines can be blended from: multiple vintages of the same grape from the same vineyard; the same grape variety from a different region; two or more different grape varieties; or a combination of red and white grapes. However take note: only a combination of different grapes is classified as a ‘Blend’, while a combination of the same grape variety, regardless of age or origin, is known as a ‘Varietal’.
In Australia, among the most popular red wine blends are Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon and GSM (Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvèdre) while the most commonly seen white wine blend is Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. Occasionally red and white grapes are blended, for example in Shiraz Viogner.
So you see there is much to learn in the art of wine blending which could explain why wineries are increasingly offering the opportunity to learn from the experts. The winemaking teams at the Ultimate Wineries are always eager to impart some wisdom and, at these Australian winery experiences, while you may not be ready to blend the next Grange, you’ll at least have a bottle of your own unique creation to take home.
Ultimate Leeuwin Wine Blending & Dining Experience, Leeuwin Estate: Margaret River, WA
Experience Leeuwin Estate’s fine wine, food and the arts with a full day of discovery including Leeuwin's famous Art Gallery, a tutored wine tasting, degustation and, of course, a wine blending session. You will be invited to take part in a hands-on red wine blending session, the ‘Discovery of Winemaking’, during which you will have the opportunity to blend your own Margaret River red wine.
At the conclusion of the experience each guest will receive a special commemorative bottle of the wine they created during the blending session.
“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”
Guided by a Tahbilk Wine Ambassador you will start this blending experience with individual wines, discovering the contributing characters and each one's effect on the palate, before experimenting with different quantities of each to create a wine that is truly yours.
A 750ml bottle of your blend will be yours to take away.
This fascinating experience begins in the Alternate Realities Museum, an inspiring space on the ground floor of the d'Arenberg Cube, filled with interactive exhibits and art installations curated to awaken your senses. Once you’ve explored the museum, you will proceed to meet your host on Level 4 of the Cube who will guide you to The Blending Bench.
A palette of wine parcels, each with distinctive flavours and textures, are melded in search of balance, fullness, and finesse. The physical work has been done for you – picking, crushing, fermenting, foot treading, basket pressing and barrel ageing, leaving you to create a wine that is truly unique. You then bottle, name and label a 750ml sample to take home and show off to your friends.
Discover over 125 years of family winemaking history at the home of Brown Brothers with a full day experience at the Milawa Winery, Cellar Door and Patricia’s Table Restaurant. Experience behind the scenes at Brown Brothers with exclusive winemaking and blending workshops as well as a winery tour including the modern working winery and the historic buildings with over 128 years of family winemaking history.
Jacob’s Creek is one of the only places in South Australia where you can choose to blend a white or red wine.
The unique Blend experience combines a social wine bar atmosphere with the opportunity to work one-on-one with a Jacob’s Creek staff member to taste a number of individual grape varieties and combine them to make your very own red or white blend.
Your exact wine recipe will then be blended by the state-of-the-art Jacob’s Creek Blend machine and professionally bottled on the spot, complete with a personalised label featuring your name.