CSU wine named best boutique Merlot

23 JULY 2011

Hands-on attention and a close collaboration contributed to Charles Sturt University's (CSU) winery winning the trophy for Best Merlot at the prestigious Boutique Wine Awards 2011 says CSU winemaker Mr Andrew Drumm.

Hands-on attention and a close collaboration contributed to Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) winery winning the trophy for Best Merlot at the prestigious Boutique Wine Awards 2011 says CSU winemaker Mr Andrew Drumm.
 
The winning wine, the 2009 Charles Sturt Winery Merlot, was grown at CSU’s vineyards on the Orange Campus and was produced by CSU’s winemaker at the winery in Wagga Wagga.
 
Winemaker Mr Andrew Drumm, who was in Sydney last night to receive the award, was very pleased with the recognition.
 
"We're really thrilled with the trophy, especially for our first straight Merlot,” Mr Drumm said. “The hardest part about making good Merlot is actually growing good Merlot grapes, so the fact it has come off Charles Sturt University's vineyard is probably the best part of this win."
 
CSU Winery Marketing Manager Mr Justin Byrne was also excited by the win.
 
“This is excellent news for the Charles Sturt Winery and great for the Orange region,” Mr Byrne said. “Merlot is a variety that the region does very well but it often goes unrecognised. We have had some tough seasons over the last few years, so it is good to see the hard work done in the vineyard and the winery rewarded with a gold medal and trophy.”
 
With an 18 hectare vineyard managed by vigneron Mr Geoff Cook at CSU in Orange, and a further 10 hectares at CSU in Wagga Wagga adjacent to the Charles Sturt University Winery, Mr Drumm believes the close relationship of the team across both locations is the reason for the wine’s success.
 
“Although Merlot grapes do very well in the Orange climate, that particular grape variety requires a lot of attention and Geoff is able to provide hands-on care of the vines and grapes throughout the growing season,” Mr Drumm said. “If you grow too much fruit, it waters out and gets thin and green quite quickly, so the vines need hands-on attention. The fruit is nursed with hand pruning and several inspections to check shoots aren’t overcrowded.”
 
Since the Orange vineyard joined CSU’s wine enterprise in 2004, Mr Drumm has enjoyed the new challenges that came with the acquisition.
 
“The Orange vineyard is the best thing that has happened to us. We’re fortunate to have guaranteed access to good fruit that we have tight control over and it’s been a very collaborative process. Some varieties are easy to grow but Merlot is more difficult and is something you want to grow yourself allowing more control of day to day care, and we’re all in agreement in what we want to achieve. It’s a very tight operation.”
 
The award winning variety has a brand new label, part of the Charles Sturt Winery rebrand.
 
According to Mr Byrne, “The new label is designed to highlight interesting or unusual varieties from around NSW. We will be making only small quantities of these wines and looking to attract a new, younger market to our wines, particularly in wine bars and bistros. The first release ’M’ is a Merlot from Orange. But watch for other letters later in the year.”

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