Development opportunities for Cabernet Sauvignon in WA

Page last updated: Tuesday, 16 December 2014 - 12:42pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted wine grape variety in the world. Western Australia (WA) produces Cabernet wines from diverse regions, many of which have received international commendations.

The popularity of Cabernet Sauvignon combined with WA’s premium wine production presents opportunities to increase the value of Cabernet production for the state.

Cabernet Sauvignon wine production in WA has been reviewed to identify where and how Cabernet Sauvignon wine production can be strengthened.

With feedback from industry, the following Cabernet Sauvignon review has identified a number of key aspects aimed at increasing the quality and value of Cabernet Sauvignon wine in WA. The major opportunities within grape production, wine production and marketing have been identified:

Wine grape production opportunities

  • Investigate the influence of vineyard site and viticulture management on tannin development in Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Examine which soil types are suited to the premium production of Cabernet.
  • Determination of earlier ripening and higher yielding Cabernet clones.
  • Investigate the effect of yield on quality (vine balance) with a variety of clones.
  • Regional clone identification ‑ which clones work best, and where should these clones be grown?
  • The effect of virus loads from grafting over to new clones.
  • Assess the optimal yield to pruning weight ratio and leaf area required for ripening and production of premium fruit.
  • Investigate the rootstocks suited to WA conditions and high quality Cabernet wine production.
  • Evaluate the use of vineyard-based techniques on the reduction of green characters (methoxypyrazines) in grapes and wine.
  • Investigate the concept of ‘hang time’ in the production of Cabernet wines. What are the consequences for fruit and wine quality produced from a range of fruit ripeness in WA conditions?

Wine production opportunities

  • Produce Cabernet wines that concentrate on consumer preference of the targeted market segment.
  • Gain a greater understanding of consumer perception and response to green characters in wine.
  • Investigate various winemaking techniques that influence the production of green characters in wine. How can these characters be reduced in wines made from grapes at lower sugar maturities?
  • Investigate the effect of growing and making wine from a single clone versus a blend of clones.
  • To further investigate the potential of yeasts to produce optimal aroma, flavour and wine characters.
  • Further investigation of maceration techniques that enhance Cabernet wine production in key WA regions. This includes extended maceration, timing and temperature.
  • Investigate the use of oak and how this can be maximised in Cabernet wine production.

Wine marketing opportunities

  • Grow demand and export of Cabernet Sauvignon wines from WA to key export markets.
  • Grow the value of WA wine from key production regions into higher price point brackets.
  • Understand the characteristics of wines achieving high price points in export markets. Where are the key markets achieving top prices? How can these markets be captured and accessed by other wine exporters?
  • Investigate the consumer preference for Cabernet versus wine maker’s preference taking into account profitability, price point and affordability.
  • Case study of Cabernet wine price determination in WA. Investigate the price points of Cabernet in WA, market segments, how the price is set and how it can be raised.
  • Development of a strategy for the long-term investment in wine quality and regional reputation leading to higher purchase prices across the product range.

Contact information

Kristen Brodison
+61 (0)8 9780 6189
Glynn Ward
+61 (0)8 9368 3568