International Viognier Day

By J'aime Cardillo

7 Apr, 2022

Yalumba is championing viognier by devoting an entire day to celebrating this textural white grape. Join in the festivities on the last Friday in April.

South Australian winery Yalumba introduced the world to International Viognier Day in 2021, and will once again highlight the textural white on April 29. Yalumba first planted viognier vines in the Eden Valley in 1980. Prior to this, plantings were limited to the appellations of Condrieu and Côte Rôtie in France. Yalumba's plantings are now some of the oldest in Australia.

Head of winemaking Louisa Rose, who began working at Yalumba in 1992, has championed Australian viognier for the past 30 years. Yalumba now produces five aromatic viogniers: Y Series Viognier; Eden Valley Viognier; Organic Viognier; FSW 8B Botrytis Viognier; and The Virgilius Viognier from the family winemaker’s Rare and Fine collection. We spoke to Louisa about why the variety first captured her attention.

Yalumba Viognier bottles with two glasses of wine and dumplings Yalumba's International Viognier Day is on April 29.

H. Your name is synonymous with viognier. What do you love about the variety?
L. I love the fact that it's such a versatile wine when it comes to food and wine matching. It goes with every food you can imagine. At the tastings I've been doing this year, I say to people, "experiment with viognier, and when you find something it doesn't go with, let me know." It's much quicker for me to list things it doesn't go with, than things it does. So far no one has come to me and said, "hey, this doesn't go with viognier."

H. How would you describe viognier to someone who’s never tried it before?
L. It has a softness, with a naturally low acidity, but a richness and that textural white tannin – those lovely, fine, bitter, white tannins that keep it all in balance – that make it so good with everything from rich or spicy foods to red meat. It's a full-bodied wine with beautiful flavours and fragrances, and the long, dry palate makes it such a great food wine. It's absolutely at home with most things you'd normally match with a red. It's low acid and has a tannin structure that is quite red wine-like as well.

H. How does the winemaking process change for each viognier, and how has it evolved?
L. It was really a journey of discovery. When I started in 1992, it had been growing for 12 years, and I said well, "what's viognier?" I'd just come out of Roseworthy, arguably one of the best courses for learning about wine, and I don't ever remember ever learning about or tasting it. It was still small, with only a few hectares planted in France in the late '70s, and the only thing I could find was an article Jancis [Robinson] had written. So we learned by trial and error, and the evaluation in the vineyard and the winery has come the same way. One of the trials we did early on was not inoculating and not clarifying, just letting it react with the air and the wild yeast that came from the vineyard through the fermentation. That was a huge step in liberating flavours and textures and really elevating the quality. In our minds, that evolution was really important, and now all of our viognier wines are fermented just with the wild yeast that comes in on the grapes and we stop them by chilling them down. There's no malolactic fermentation, and then it's just a little time on lees before they're blended and bottled. 

The difference comes with the fermentation vessels. The Y Series and the Organic are fermented in stainless steel. The Eden Valley is partly fermented in stainless steel but about 60 per cent in mature French oak barriques and puncheons. The Virgilius is 100 per cent fermented in those mature French oak barrels and puncheons. The Eden Valley and the Virgilus then spend nine or 10 months on lees, and the other wines only a couple of months. What you're seeing is the difference in where the grapes come from. When we do the blending for the Virgilius and the Eden Valley, we choose barrels that are more restrained and look like they will unwind and take people on a journey.

Below are the five viogniers in the Yalumba range.

2021 Yalumba Y Series Viognier

2021 Yalumba Y Series Viognier

Bright straw in colour with green hues. Aromas of orange blossom with fresh ginger, hints of honeysuckle and white flowers. Fresh apricot, white tea, dried figs and fennel lead to a creamy mid-palate with a silky, textural finish. The wild fermentation and lees ageing gives the wine an extra level of complexity on the palate that belies its age.

Suggested food pairing: Harissa chicken or crispy rice pancakes with potato and chickpeas.

RRP $15 | Winemaker: Heather Fraser

2020 Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier

2020 Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier

Pure aromas reminiscent of fresh apricots, lifted ginger and fresh white flowers. The palate is long and silky, with luscious textures, stone fruit flavours, a hint of exotic saffron and finishing with an alluring freshness.

Suggested food pairing: Moroccan tajine and spiced cous cous, pork dumplings with ginger and chilli oil dipping sauce, roasted cauliflower with sunflower seeds and buckwheat, or falafel and baba ganoush.

RRP $28 | Winemaker: Louisa Rose

2021 Yalumba Organic Viognier

2021 Yalumba Organic Viognier

Pale lemon in colour with green hues. An exotic mix of white flowers, ginger and jasmine aromas with hints of apricot and fennel. The palate is creamy and rich with lingering flavours of fresh apricot nectar and almond meal, finishing with bright stone fruit and Asian five spice.

Suggested food pairing: Red duck curry, pad Thai, or red lentil dhal with spinach.

RRP $22 | Winemaker: Heather Fraser

2020 Yalumba FSW Botrytis Viognier

2020 Yalumba FSW Botrytis Viognier

The wine is pale gold in colour. Aromas of intense honeysuckle, musk and vanilla with notes of lemon thyme and ginger. The palate, with high residual sugar, is long and luscious with opulent flavours of stone fruit and spice. The balance is perfect, delicately poised between sweetness and acidity with a memorable, lingering finish.

Suggested food pairing: Tarte tatin and cinnamon ice cream, baklava or vegan raspberry cheesecake.

RRP $30 | Winemaker: Heather Fraser

2019 Yalumba The Virgilius Eden Valley Viognier

2019 Yalumba The Virgilius Eden Valley Viognier

Pale gold with green highlights. Intense aromas of apricots, cardamom, white pepper and fresh ginger. Lifted ginger spice is layered on the palate with mineral, sourdough-like texture, apricots and almond savouriness. The hallmark viognier texture of the palate is clearly evident in this wine. It is complex while at the same time shows purity and restraint that will unwind slowly in the glass and take the imbiber on a sensory journey.

Suggested food pairing: Pan-fried, herb-stuffed mushrooms or fresh gnocchi with olive oil and shaved truffles.

RRP $50 | Winemaker: Louisa Rose

You can join in the celebrations with a viognier tasting flight at Yalumba's Wine Room throughout April, for more information visit