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While vintage may be over and all roads lead back to the big smoke, David Pike still feels the pull of the South West and his work in the winery at Devil’s Lair.

WITH vintage officially over many of the wineries throughout our sunshine state have begun to get back to normality.

I have been finding it very hard to leave the winery and the pace of life down in Margaret River but as last week’s weather turned towards winter, shorts were packed away, the muscat was opened and I decided to take refuge in Perth for a few days.

Mind you the decision was made a lot easier as I stood at the top of the farm tank and watched the lighting and rain hurtling towards me.

My thoughts turned to long lunches and late starts to the day.

At Devil’s Lair only a few tanks of reds are left to press and put to bed in barrels.

Over the next few weeks, after the reds have had a chance to settle down and get to grips with their new home in barrel I will bring you a round up after tasting wines from the 2002 vintage.

A very demanding process for me to undertake, but after surviving vintage I feel I am up to the challenge.

My hot tip is semillon 2002 after a quick look at a few wineries late last week.

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Having had the opportunity to taste a number of wines from past vintages such as Coriole 1996 Shiraz, Grosset 1997 Riesling and an Chateau Brane Cantenac 1985 it was interesting looking over the recently released Sterling Auctioneers May Catalogue.

It contained a number of wines that I have taken a fancy to over recent years and also a number of wines that I would love to try.

The Australian auction scene can provide you with unique opportunities to obtain wines that you missed out on purchasing the first time round, or to collect some wines from older vintages that others have specifically recommended.

It also provides an ideal way to find some very unique wines such as Chateau D’Yquem 1968.

You shouldn’t expect to get a bargain every time you bid for a wine you desire. You should simply be looking to add the wine or wines to your cellar.

The other advantage of auctions is that you can sell off that case or two of wine that doesn’t suit your palate any longer. The process is very handy for swapping some wine around, losing some and gaining something you would prefer.

To have a look at the catalogue for the up coming Sterlings Auction on May 15th log on to www.sterlingauctions.com.au

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Strewth, we Australians continue to get more American each week.

I still can’t work out what half the statistics mean in the half time and full time wrap ups in the football at the weekend, and just what the purpose of wearing your hat backwards is about.

This week our hard-working Government officials have announced yet another ‘Hall of Fame’.

Federal Trade Minister Mark Vaile was on hand at Sydney University on May 7 to present the first recipients to the jointly sponsored Australian Trade Commission and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Export Awards Hall of Fame’.

Not sure of the value of these awards but for the fact that it recognises the role of Australian companies in the growth of Australian products overseas.

One of the inaugural inductees is wine company BRL Hardy, which, as a listed company, has been exporting for 10 years.

BRL Hardy has been acknowledged as a national winner of the Australian Export Awards in 1998, 2000 and 2001 and have shown growth in their exports for more than a decade.

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The WA Wine Industry Association’s fine wine show begins today with now more than 90 wineries represented in what is, without doubt, the largest gathering of WA wineries in one place at any given time.

Almost all wineries in Western Australia are represented with only a few notable exceptions such as Evans and Tate and Vasse Felix.

The exhibition is not only a show case of the industry but highlights its size and importance to our State’s infrastructure, including the massive amounts of tourist dollars which are spent in the various regions across the state.

It also highlights the increasing volumes of WA wine that finds its way overseas, the number of people employed in vineyards and wineries, and in the sales of wine.

The WA wine industry has developed rapidly over the past five years into a sector that is far removed from its boutique beginnings.

This week’s exhibition certainly has opened my eyes to just how big the wine industry in WA has become.

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There are a couple of wines that have I have been able to taste over the last few day from wineries that will be in attendance at the GPO tasting.

Voyager Chardonnay 2000 is very much worth seeking out.

It is a stunning wine that will enjoy plenty of accolades but I will leave you to taste it for yourself and make up your own mind (I don’t wish to spoil the movie so to speak).

Another wine I came across was a shining example of just how good the Sauvignon Blanc from 2002 is looking.

Winemaker Michael Kelly only bottled his Fermoy Estate 2002 Sauvignon Blanc wine last Friday, making it one of the first 2002 releases from wineries around WA.

It is an explosion of vibrant fruit that will liven up your day, so I suggest that you search it out from the Fermoy stand.

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