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McLaren Vale plans wine to rival Penfolds

Winemakers in McLaren Vale have moved one step closer to producing a collaborative blend which they believe could rival Penfolds’ Grange in quality.

The glass amphora that will house Valo. Credit: Pippy Mount Photography

Earlier this year The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) and the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association came together to launch VALO – a project to produce a collaborative blend of the region’s finest 2014 reds.

Speaking to Australia’s, Oliver’s Taranga Vinyards’ winemaker Corrina Wright said the wine’s quality would compare to some of South Australia’s most celebrated wines, including Penfolds Grange.

“I don’t think we will have too much trouble with (reaching the quality of Grange) – we have got some pretty strong vintages,” she said. “VALO will be a wine that will lift the reputation of McLaren Vale as one of the finest wine destinations in Australia.”

While Penfolds is a multi-regional blend, Valo will be made up of the “best of the best” wines made from the 2014 McLaren Vale vintage.

Wineries have already been invited to submit their best 2014 red vintage. A panel of judges made up of industry experts will then select up to five barrels to blend together to create Valo.

The project will give 50 members of the public the chance to take part in the year-long project, at a cost of AUS$8,800, receiving an insight into the making of Valo, the chance to attend tastings and a three-litre amphora of the wine at the end of the process.

The project ties in with the country’s recent efforts to raise the profile of Australian wines by promoting the country as a region capable of competing on the fine wine world stage. More recently, Australian winemaker and international consultant Brian Croser hailed changes to the country’s wine industry within the last two years as “an evolution – almost a revolution”.

CEO of McLaren Vale Grape and Wine Tourism Association (MVGWTA), Marc Allgrove, said at the time of the project’s launch that Valo would showcase “the innovation and passion that are the hallmarks of the McLaren Vale region”.

“VALO guests will gain a unique understanding of the science, the art and the people behind our wines, as well as exposure to our exceptional food and landscapes”, he said. “This is not just about the wines, it’s about sharing our devotion to the vineyards, the soil, our tools of trade, and the joy of discovering new approaches to our craft”.

The amphora that will hold Valo has been designed by Australian glass craftsman Nick Mount and industrial designer John Brooks.

Any profit raised from the project will go into a trust fund to support winemaking initiatives in the region.

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