Wine or Beer? New Zealand Vintner Blurs the Line With Tap Vino

 


Though New Zealand is the veritable Mecca of Sauvignon Blanc, winemaker Josh Scott isn’t afraid to experiment with the holiness that is the country’s signature white-wine taste.
 
Earlier this week Kiwi news site Stuff covered the beerish experiments of Allan Scott Family Winemakers, who are putting a decidedly hoppy spin on the nation's trademark wine.
 
“A Marlborough wine company has put a brewer’s twist on the region’s flagship wine variety by blending grapes and hops,” reporter Chloe Winter wrote.
 
The wine estate has created Green Hopped Gooseberry Bomb Sauvignon Blanc, a wine – or is it a beer? – made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes and green sauvin hops. 
 
“The idea was to turn traditional winemaking on its head and have a bit of play using some craft beer techniques,” Scott told Winter. “It came about last year. We were just talking in the winery about doing new things, building profile in the brand … Everyone talks about new product development, engaging with customers and keeping it fresh and I just wanted to do something a bit different.”
 
According to the story, the winery’s target market is New Zealand’s network of bars.
“On-tap is the only way to present them in the right condition – out of a keg, into a glass,” Scott said. ‘“We’ve had a lot of support out of the trade sector and I think that’s because it’s something a little bit different.”
 
Winter said the winery is serving their “craft wines” at the property’s restaurant. Scott isn’t setting his sights only on New Zealand – he believes Americans would love the wine-hop creation.
 
“I see it going really well in the States because they love their craft beer,” he said. “I think it will get lots of legs overseas.” 
 
The idea of mixing beer and wine is relatively new, in that not many wineries are creating wines infused with hops.
 
In the past few years, barley wine has become popular in the craft beer movement. The drink, however, isn’t a wine, but a top-fermenting ale which can boast alcohol levels equivalent to wine. 
San Francisco news outlet SFGate reported in 2012 about a beer made with Champagne yeast. 
 
“Woe to us beer lovers, who view each glass of Champagne as a wasted opportunity,” reporter Lessley Anderson wrote. “A few Bay Area craft brewers are … creating a new style of beer that’s fermented with Champagne yeast, and straddles the line between wine and beer just enough for you to bring it to a holiday gathering and coerce non-beer types into liking it.”
 
Anderson highlighted Buzzerkeley, an ale from Walnut Creek-based Calicraft brewery. 
 
“It’s acidity, sharp carbonation and bone-dry finish call to mind Champagne, but it has enough subtle bittering hops to declare itself as beer,” she said. 
 
Calicraft head brewer Blaine Landberg said he believe the line between beer and wine was flexible, if not blurry.
 
“I believe there’s a space between beer and wine,” he said.
 

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