News & Media

New wine grape varieties for consumers

Released on

Released on:
Wednesday, 13. November 2013 - 10:45

A team from the Department of Agriculture and Food is developing brand new wines, yet to be tasted by consumers in Western Australia.

Four promising new varieties were recently provided for tasting by Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston in Bunbury.

The four new variety wines were identified from a trial of 18 alternative wine grape varieties planted at the department’s Manjimup Horticultural Research Institute.

The aim is to gain greater understanding of grape production, wine quality and suitability for production in the region.

Department research officer Richard Fennessy said the grape varieties originated from countries including France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Germany and Hungary.

“The department has made wine from the trial since 2007 and had the varieties assessed by winemakers and judges at regional and national wine shows,” Mr Fennessy said.

“We have also conducted consumer surveys to assess how the wines are perceived by wine consumers.”

The varieties presented to the Minister included the white wine Pinot Gris which is gaining popularity in Australia, a rosè (pink coloured) and two red wines.

“The Minister tasted a Brachetto rosè wine. Brachetto is a red variety from Italy which we make into a rosè that produces delicate, light-bodied pink-coloured wines which are highly perfumed, low in alcohol and slightly sweet,” Mr Fennessy said

“Brachetto is not widely known in Australia but has the potential to capitalise on the Pink Moscato trend which has experienced substantial growth in the domestic market in recent years.

“The Minister also tasted the department’s 2012 Barbera which is based on one of Italy’s most widely-planted varieties.

“There are a small number of growers in Western Australia who are producing Barbera, some of whom are located in the Geographe wine region.

“The final variety, Saperavi, is native to Georgia and produces deep-coloured wines.

“Its low disease susceptibility and distinct colour and flavour profile have made Saperavi one of the most exciting varieties of the trial.”

Mr Fennessy said by providing industry with data on how the new varieties performed in Western Australian conditions, producers who were considering planting new varieties could use this information to aid in their decision-making.

The results of the long-running trial in Manjimup have been extended to industry through a series of regional workshops and are available as Bulletin 4824 on the department website at

The second stage of the trial involved the establishment of a new planting of 20 alternative varieties, including a number that showed potential in Manjimup, in the warmer, drier region of Harvey.

The performance of the varieties in Harvey will provide insight about their suitability in other regions of Western Australia.

Western Australian Vine Improvement Association (WAVIA) provided the planting material.


Media contact: Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison   +61 (0)8 9368 3937