Drinks news: March

By Nola James

12 Mar, 2024

Your monthly round-up of Australian drinks news.

Stock up on boxed wines, buy your mum a tea towel and try Tasmania’s first ‘hop water’ with this month’s drinks news round up.

Cult Cru Wine Company cask cabernet sauvignon

Cult Cru Wine Company casks

Vinomofo’s founders have branched into cask wine, releasing a range of six 2L bag-in-a-box wines under the Cult Cru Wine Company moniker. It joins the likes of Koerner, Hey Tomorrow and Gonzo Vino in the fast growing world of sustainable packaging, although unlike the aforementioned producers Cult Cru isn’t labelling for winemaker or production deets – you just get the variety and region (we’re told that Sidewood Estate, Patritti Wines and Brand & Sons have had a hand in this). 

The boxes are made from 72 per cent recycled materials and are fully recyclable themselves. Cru is working to find a partner that will recycle the bags – an industry-wide mission, since RedCycle combusted. The wines themselves, which include a McLaren Vale grenache and Limestone Coast pinot gris, last about six weeks after opening and retail for $35 each.

Lauren Langfield, Brendon Keys, Anita Goode

Langhorne Creek Project 5255 line up announced

Project 5255, named for the Langhorne Creek postcode, is back for its third year, with three Australian winemakers from outside the region entrusted with two-tonnes of local fruit to bottle under their own label. This year’s participants are Brendon Keys of BK Wines in the Adelaide Hills, Lauren Langfield of Lauren Langfield Wines (also of Orbis Wines) in McLaren Vale and Anita Goode of Wangolina in Mount Benson.

“Langhorne Creek has its signature varietals that are synonymous with the region. Inviting winemakers to interpret our fruit in their own way is what makes this project so successful. No two wines will ever be the same,” says Sam Watkins, chair of the Langhorne Creek Grape and Wine Winemaker Committee, which runs the project. For vintage 2024, Brendan will make an organic sangiovese, Lauren a cabernet franc and Anita a malbec.

Matt Fowles

Bats and wine study

Fowles Wine has wrapped up a micro-bat study with the University of New England that researchers hope will save the Australian wine industry $50 million a year in pest control. “Every day, the bats can consume 30–100 per cent of their body mass. A colony of 100 bats, weighing 10 grams each, could remove up to one kilo of insects every night,” owner Matt Fowles said. 

Dr Heidi Kolkert and Dr Zenon Czenze from UNE installed sound recording devices in the Fowles vineyards to better understand the different bat species living there. "In the first year of the 'Bats and Wine' initiative our preliminary results suggest that bats play a vital role in controlling agricultural pests within NSW vineyard ecosystems,” Dr Czenze said. A final report is expected mid-year. 

Wine map tea towels

These new wine maps are great for gifting

Three new wine maps – which double as tea towels – aim to get visitors on the road in Rutherglen, Coonawarra and Orange. Each hand-illustrated map features the region’s 15 best wineries, ranked four stars or more in the Companion, with a cellar door open to the public. The tea towels were created by Melbourne-based shop owner Elizabeth Hollingsworth and illustrated by Ballarat artist Caroline Keys. The tea towels are available from Brighton House Decor, as well as cellar doors within the regions.

Ian and Suzanne in the vineyard

New Hunter Valley cellar door

The Little Wine Company has opened a cellar door in the historic Hunter Valley village of Broke, about 15 minutes drive from Pokolbin. To celebrate, winemakers Ian and Suzanne Little are offering visitors spending $100 or more at the new cellar door a complimentary bottle from their White Label range during the month of April.

Notto Blotto

Moo Brew steps up no-alc game

Moo Brew’s brilliantly named ‘Notto Blotto’ is not a beer, although it’s made in a brewery. This is ‘hop soda’, a drinks category that hit its straps in the US and has finally made it to Australian shores, albeit minus the CBD spike. Although I’m sure Moo Brew would be all over this if it were legal on these shores. 

While it won’t get you high, this hops-infused sparkling water is kinda funky with a slightly citrusy kick (hot tip: add ice and a wedge of lemon). Drink this if you’re not sure if you want a lemon squash or a glass of bubbles. At $12 for a four-pack, its reasonably priced, too.