Josef Chromy Wines has once again made Gourmet Traveller- Wine Magazines Best Australian Cellar Door List. If you haven't tried Chef Nick Raitt's menu - time for a visit. Book HERE
20 Mar 2017 winery
There have been some great duos scattered throughout history. Two individuals that when working together far exceed the sum of their parts. Abbott & Costello, Simon & Garfunkle, Caesar & Cleopatra, Punch & Judy, Rudd & Gillard... maybe strike that last one...
Anyway, we have our own duo here at the winery that have been working together throughout the years, helping to craft our wines to precision. Paul (Skipper) Barron and Bernard (Bernie) Longshaw together have close to 50 years experience working in wineries, undertaking the daily activities that keep the winery and the wines going.
While these two have spent many years working together, they couldn’t be any more different in almost every aspect. One is tall, the other is not so tall. One is precise and methodical, the other is fast and spontaneous. One is affable, the other is a bit of a grump. One likes ACDC, the other likes Jethro Tull. One has a red beard, the other has a white moustache.
What they do have in common is a vast array of experience, which means they know their way around virtually any equipment or piece of machinery in the winery. Having good cellar workers makes the world of difference for winemakers, in that we can trust them with the wines, and if there is a better way for something to be done, they will find it. Here at Josef Chromy, we are lucky to have two such employees, and that is something that other wineries would be envious of.
So if you see Paul or Bernie around, make sure you say hi, as they both love to have a chat and tell a story... that is one thing that they do have in common.
- Winemaker Stew
Tasmanian Tourism is leading the way with the most medals at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards. Congratulations to all Tasmanian finalists and medal winners. To be in the top 3 establishments in the country for the second year in a row for the Restaurant & Catering Class is an honour - a great testament to the hard work of our staff and the vision of an inspirational boss- Josef Chromy OAM. Cheers Joe!
The two new tanks were produced by Kolmark, a stainless and mechanical fabrication company located in Rocherlea, Tasmania. Typically tanks of this size would be sourced from interstate, due to scales of economy. However, Kolmark has the facilities to build these larger scale tanks and when combined with their superior quality fabricating, it makes them the logical choice to undertake this work. Josef Chromy Wines is always looking to utilise local manufacturing companies, and having Kolmark here in Tasmania will be beneficial for the Tasmanian wine industry.
The new grape press is manufactured by German company Scharfenberger (they don’t make these in Australia yet!). It can press anything from 50kg to 18.5 tonnes of fruit. This is the first press of its kind to be able to operate as both an open slotted press (lots of oxygen), or a closed press (limited oxygen). This gives us greater options when pressing grapes to achieve the outcomes we want.
A South African, Israeli, Argentinian, Frenchman, New Zealander and Australian walk into a bar... it sounds like the beginnings of a bad joke, but hopefully not, as this will be a common occurrence come late February as our vintage crew arrives in Tasmania.
Vintage is a very high pressure time at the winery, so we require a highly skilled team to help us every year for eight to ten weeks. This year, there will be six people joining us from around the world. All of them have either qualifications in winemaking, or at least four years' experience working in high quality wineries.
The first weeks of March should see the first fruit of the 2017 vintage coming in. As you might imagine, it is all systems go here at the winery and in the vineyard, getting everything ready for another harvest.
The season so far has been relatively cool, especially in comparison to the past two years. The large volume of rainfall throughout Spring and into early Summer set the vines up for good growth, and filled the water storage capacity to a maximum, meaning water supply for irrigation should not be an issue for many vineyards throughout Tasmania.
Fruit set at this stage appears to be moderate, and when combined with some strong winds during flowering, it looks as though bunch weights may also be below average. This will in all likelihood result in a relatively small vintage in 2017. So we will be hoping for a quality over quantity outcome. The vineyard team are hard at work ensuring that this eventuates, by slashing, trimming, shoot positioning and leaf plucking to allow the optimum airflow and sunlight into the vines.
Here at the winery we are busy getting all of our remaining 2016 vintage wines into bottle, all the while waiting in anticipation for some new toys to arrive. Local stainless steel manufacturer Kolmark are building some new tanks for us, and we are waiting on a shiny new grape press to arrive from Germany. These are exciting times, but we have one eye on the clock in a race to get everything completed before the first fruit arrives. Then the real fun begins!
We get a lot of questions about the use of sulphur in wine, mainly along the lines of “Is there any sulphur in your wines?” and “Why is there sulphur in your wines?” So I thought I might take a little time to explain the role of sulphur in wine and when we need it.
Firstly, there is always sulphur in wine, even in wines that claim to be sulphur-free. This is because the yeast that convert the sugar from grapes into alcohol produce small amounts of sulphur as a by-product.
Sulphites are used for both their anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties. I don’t want to get too technical here, so I will simply say that sulphites scavenge oxygen to help keep wines fresh both during production and when in bottle. The anti-microbial action is a little more complicated. The effect here depends on the pH of the wine, which is a measure of the acidity. The lower the pH of the wine, the less sulphites are required to protect the wine, as sulphites are more active at lower pHs.
So what wines have the least amount of sulphites? Here are my general tips to avoid sulphites in wines:
Drink red and bottle fermented sparkling wine
Red wines will generally have less sulphites than white wines as red wines are protected somewhat by their tannins. Traditional method sparkling wines cannot have high levels of sulphites due to the requirement of undertaking a secondary fermentation in bottle. Sulphites would prevent this from occurring if too high, so these wines are generally low in sulphites (a small addition may be made during the disgorging process).
Drink wines that are dry
Sweeter wines generally need higher levels of sulphites to prevent bacteria or yeast from metabolising them.
Drink wines from cooler regions
Well, this is very convenient news for us Tasmanians. Wines from our State, generally speaking, have the lowest pHs in the country due to our cooler climate. So we in theory should need less sulphites in our wines to achieve the same level of protection as wines from other regions that have higher pHs.
Drink wines from high quality producers
Yes, this usually means that the wines are more expensive. However, fruit that arrives at the winery from the vineyard in excellent condition needs less or no intervention. Good producers also understand the science of wine, and know exactly how much sulphites a given wine needs for the type of wine it is.
Now for the kicker... the sulphites in wine are not really a big deal. No, they do not give you headaches, and no, you are not allergic to them. Sulphites cannot provoke an immune response, which is required for something to be an allergy. Moreover, the levels present in most wines are not even worth discussing from a health perspective.
It is possible that you are sensitive to sulphites (believed to be approximately 1% of the population), and to some people this is a serious condition. However, this manifests itself in ways more similar to asthma with symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. It is more than likely that you would have discovered your sensitivity to sulphites well before wine due to the comparatively small amounts in wine compared to other regular food and drinks. For example, at Josef Chromy nearly every white wine ever produced here has had under 150ppm total sulphur dioxide, and nearly every red wine has had under 100ppm total sulphur dioxide. French fries contain around 1900ppm! We have even produced wines that classify as preservative free (<20ppm).
So if sulphites aren't the villain...?
Now that we have determined that sulphites are not the villain, what is it in wine that can give you those big headaches, congestion, and feeling like you have been hit by a truck? Well, the answer is most likely biogenic amines. These substances do provoke immune responses.
A winemaking process called malolactic fermentation is a common source of amines. I won’t delve too far into the details, but all red wines go through this process, as do many Chardonnays and sparkling wines. Aromatic whites such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris are unlikely to have undertaken this process.
So straight away you can see the problem here. People are avoiding white wines, which they rightly believe have more sulphites, to avoid getting a headache. We now know this is not caused by sulphites. However, the red wines they are changing to contain high levels of these biogenic amines, which are more likely to be a cause of their headaches.
For those that love to read:
There are other reasons for experiencing a headache after drinking wine. However, what I can say for certain, is that it is not the sulphites!
*PS don’t waste your money on tablets or drops that you can put into wines that claim to remove the sulphites and reduce your headaches. As you are now aware, sulphites don’t cause headaches to begin with, and equally importantly, these products don’t even work. What they are adding is hydrogen peroxide (H202) - the same hydrogen peroxide that is a bleaching agent, disinfectant and oxidiser. The hydrogen peroxide does indeed react with the free sulphites and removes them, but after a short period of time, the wine re-equilibriates and releases more free sulphites from the bound sulphites in the wine, so you are back to where you started. You can keep on adding hydrogen peroxide until there is no sulphite left, but every time you make an addition, you will also be ruining the wine by oxidising all the flavours and stripping the wine of all aromatics.
Thanks for reading!
- Winemaker Stew
Our Josef Chromy Wines Restaurant is chuffed at being awarded a CHEF HAT in the 2017 Australian Good Food & Travel Guide. We were also awarded the 2016 READERS CHOICE Award for Vineyard Restaurants. Come see and taste for yourself - book NOW
Full Australian Good Food & Travel Guide 2017 winners list HERE
We are proud winners of the Tourism Restaurant & Catering Services and Tourism Wineries, Distilleries & Breweries Award from the Tasmanian Tourism Awards Night. We also made it into the Hall of Fame for winning Tourism Restaurant & Catering Services Award for the third consective year.
Well done team, keep up the amazing work.
There are a number of winemaking products derived from animals, including dairy, egg and fish products. These are winemaking aids rather than ingredients, but traces may remain in the finished product.
Over the past two years, Josef Chromy Wines have used a new means of clarifying some wines that involves a very small amount of gelatine (30-40 ppm), but yields massive savings in energy use. This means most of our aromatic whites are not vegan-friendly. Trials are underway with plant-derived gels instead of gelatine, but have been unsatisfactory so far.
Our Chardonnay doesn't go through this process, but in some years we use casein (milk product), and this rules out those particular vintages too.
During vintage 2017, our white wines were clarified with a product derived from pig skin. As a result, our 2017 white wines are not suitable for vegans.
Our Pinot Noirs - Pepik, Josef Chromy and Zdar - are vegan-friendly year in, year out.
The following current release wines ARE vegan-friendly:
2016 Pepik Pinot Noir
2016 Josef Chromy Pinot Noir
2015 Josef Chromy Cabernet Sauvignon
NV Ruby Pinot
These wines from last year's release are also vegan-friendly:
2015 Pepik Pinot Noir
2015 Josef Chromy Pinot Noir
2015 Josef Chromy Chardonnay
2015 Josef Chromy Fume Blanc
2010 Josef Chromy Vintage Sparkling
2012 Zdar Chardonnay
2012 Zdar Pinot Noir
2005 Zdar Sparkling
2014 Josef Chromy Merlot
A new Museum Wine Room is being set up at cellar door and is presently being stocked with Josef Chromy Wines back vintages. Wines dating back to our earliest vintages are being included, although very limited quantities will be available for sale. Guests will be invited to peruse the collection to select a bottle to enjoy with lunch in our restaurant. The Museum Wine Room will also provide an intimate location for small group wine tastings, with an adjacent room also offering opportunities for private dining and small meetings.We look forward to offering small parcels of Museum Wines for sale to our Gold Wine Club Members in the near future.
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Cellar Door - Open 7 days 10am - 5pm
Restaurant - Lunch daily 11.45am - 2.30pm
(Closed Christmas Day)
370 Relbia Rd
Relbia TAS 7258
03 6335 8700