Rumball Sparkling Wines

Techniques
Peter Rumball is an Australian specialist Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Winemaker who led the 1980's renaissance of sparkling red wines. His style has made him famous in Australia. Peter Rumball loves this style so much, Sparkling Red wine is now the majority of sparkling wine that he produces.
 
Style
The wine is heavy in varietal character. Shiraz and Merlot are used. Big, full basewines are made from these grapes; they have great depth of colour and fruit character, exclusive of high alcohol. The resultant sparkling wine has a very full palate. The palate is a sumation of fruit, tannin, sweetness and bubbles. Great emphasis is placed on these four characters of the wine, and to this end the interaction between the disgorged wine and the expedition liqueur is of great importance. A special formula expedition liqueur is added at the disgorging stage.
The wine will age and improve in the bottle for another three years, although the wine palate is set up for maximum balance at the time of purchase and therefore would be slightly out of balance at greater than three years bottle age.
A Vintage Sparkling Shiraz is made in good years.
The Vintage wine is designed for a long life and therefore is made with the best Coonawarra Shiraz basewines from most years.
Vintage Sparkling Shiraz (much like Vintage Champagne) will live for 50 or 60 years on the yeast lees. When the wine is disgorged after this time, it is fresh and beautiful.
 
Viticulture
The Sparkling Shiraz is made from base wines sourced from Coonawarra in the south of South Australia. Expert contracted growers grow all grapes. All vineyards that are on high, double wire trellises. The winter seasons are cold and wet; spring and summers are cool.
The grapes are generally picked in late April each year, almost into the southern hemishere autumn (fall).
 
Harvest
Typical analysis at harvest is: pH 3.60, TA 6.50 g/L, Be 13.0 to 13.5.
All of the vineyards are machine harvested at night to protect the delicate nature of the berries. The grapes are allowed to reach normal maturity levels. Harvest begins generally in the 3rd week of April, well into the Autumn season in Australia.
 
Oenology
Primary fermentation
The basewines are made as a normal dry red: crushing, destemming, fermentation on skins to approximately 4.0 Be, with the pressings added back to the free run juice. There is no extended maceration or lengthy fermentations. The acid and tannin levels may be adjusted depending on vintage. The wine is encouraged to undertake malolactic fermentation in the tank. After malolactic fermentation completion, SO2 is added to 50 ppm total. The wines are earth filtered, then transported to Adelaide for blending to develop the cuvee. Cross blending usually occurs to maintain the non-vintage Sparkling Red. Vintage Sparkling Red is from one vintage only.
 
Secondary fermentation
Pure yeast is used exclusively to establish an active yeast culture. Inoculation occurs at a rate of 4.0 x 10 x 6 cells/mL. The wine is brought to approximately 15°C at inoculation. At this point the acid is generally adjusted to 6.50 g/L. tannin adjusted, and finings added. After additions, the basewine is filled into heavy weight bottles for secondary fermentation. Fermentation is completed after approx three weeks. The wine spends a minimum nine months on yeast lees prior to disgorging. Time on lees depends on the final product. The Peter Rumball SB Sparkling Shiraz wine is a non-vintage wine and spends less time on lees than the Vintage Sparkling Shiraz. A specially prepared liqueur is added at disgorgement to give a final sweetness level of approximately 25g/L. The wine is then bottled aged for one month prior to labelling and dispatch.
 
Marketing
Premium branding and image building is used to sell the Sparkling Shiraz.
As only the best quality grapes are used, the Sparkling Shiraz is promoted to go with food: generally at dinner with friends, or for specific occasions such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. As Sparkling Shiraz is a big style, the wine is promoted in association with game meats such as turkey, duck, kangaroo or goat. etc or strong cheeses (Stilton, blue vein, Gorgonzola). The labels are of a distinctive nature. The label is a brightly coloured burgundy, gold and white. Rumball Sparkling Shiraz is distributed in Japan, USA, UK, and every state of Australia - see ordering page.
Advertising and promotions consist of cut case displays and cross product buys in retail stores, limited advertising in newspapers, restaurant table talkers, stoppers, and aprons, Christmas wrapping, and extensive in-store tastings.
 
The future
Sparkling Shiraz has a great future for the world. The style is uniquely Australian and is extremely appealing to all ages of people. The full-bodied style is very popular and this is achieved by using the traditional variety, Shiraz. The Australian image and style of Sparkling Shiraz can rightly take its place on the world market. This has been achieved because the wine style is truly named as Australian. The ability to export Sparkling Shiraz to world markets has been based on the Australian image of the product. Education of export consumers to the style will continue.