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Granite Belt wineries drive Japanese wine tourism on their home turf

By Thursday 14 February 2019No Comments

Japanese students of the Granite Belt Wine School program presented in Tokyo by Wine Australia educator and Sirromet brand ambassador Minoru Numata have been touring the region this week.

The wine school is an initiative of Sirromet chief winemaker Adam Chapman and Mr Numata San in collaboration with fellow Granite Belt wineries Jester Hill, Ballandean Estate, Hidden Creek and Ridgemill Estate.

The program is designed to educate Japanese sommeliers on the unique terroir, climate and elevation of the region, showcasing the diversity of premium wines. Initial interest in the program has been strong with more than 140 Japanese sommeliers taking part in the program since it began in 2017.

“It’s so exciting to be able to physically show the students what they have learnt, touch the granite soils and boulders, taste the grapes straight off the vines and share the insights on how our wines are made and what makes our beautiful region so unique,” Adam said.

Sirromet, Mr San and Japan’s largest travel agency JTB formed a partnership in 2018 to design an experience where students from the Granite Belt Wine School have the opportunity to visit the region and gain a hands-on experience as harvest takes place, solidifying the knowledge gained through the program in Japan.

The five-day immersive experience includes winemaking activities such as crushing, pressing, winemaking demonstrations, 4WD vineyard tours and analysis of current vintage data and yields, as well as trial viticultural techniques.

A highlight for the students is the opportunity to learn about the Granite Belts Strange Bird varieties, from Mike Hayes, who joined Sirromet as director of vineyard and winery operations in 2018.

The tour concludes at Sirromet’s Mount Cotton headquarters, with Adam Chapman providing a winemaker’s tour of the state of the art facilities, tastings from tanks and barrels, in-depth premium wine tasting, and an indulgent food and wine matching experience in Restaurant Lurleen’s.

The students will spend their final night at Sirromet’s newly opened ‘glamping’ accommodation Sanctuary by Sirromet.

“Our focus on wine education, premium wine production and tourism development are core to growing the global reputation of the Granite Belt region, and thanks to our partners this program delivers exactly that,” Sirromet general manager Rod Hill said.

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