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While reflecting on past sins during night shift at the winery David Pike contemplates the international successes of some of Western Australia’s wineries.

ONE of the most enjoyable things about working night shift in the winery is enjoying a beer from the six-packs that that the day and evening shifts have provided.

Six-packs are a fine payable for something you probably should not have done, such as blowing the end of a hose that is full of must or grape juice, or leaving the torch in the press after you have cleaned it, or something really stupid such as tipping plastic bins full of fruit into the hopper twice in succession. I was on a hat trick for a minute.

The current tally for day and evening shift combined stands at about seven six-packs.

Night shift, well the two of us, currently boast a six-pack tally of a very sympathetic seven, with most of those being added on the one very, very bad night.

On the international front some WA wine companies have been doing well.

Firstly Goundrey Wines announced a breakthrough into the Canadian wine marketplace with a recent shipment of wine.

I am led to believe that the Canadian market is a particularly difficult one to crack given its unusual distribution set up.

But if any Australian company should be able to get in then Goundrey being owned by Canadian company Vincorp is the perfectly placed winery to do so.

Hot on the heels of Goundrey Wines hitting the overseas market place comes speculation of Palandri Wines finally setting sail with a sizeable order to the US.

Palandri director Rob Broadfield stopped short of clarifying that it was the largest Western Australian shipment of wine into the US but said he was delighted with the confirmation of the order.

Palandri has, for some time, been struggling to make inroads into the competitive wine market here in Australia and the ultra-competitive UK market.

This 10-year contract will be certain to finally put a smile on shareholders’ faces.

The deal signed off by Palandri’s

US distribution network, is a 10-year contract in which 26,000 cases of red will be shipped in 2003, working up to a whopping 130,000 cases minimum by 2007.

The first shipment of 17,600 cases, worth $2.15 million, left Fremantle last Thursday in 16 containers, which I am assured contained no bonus DVD players or barbecues.

The containers were the first instalment of the 10-year deal.

Significantly, the deal seems to align itself with Palandri’s US prospectus that anticipated a selling price of $US72 per case, or $AUD122.

Palandri Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Merlot made up the shipment, no doubt easing the strain of wine stocks and finally giving some buoyancy to the Palandri ship which has been on an unsteady coarse since floating and aggressively hitting the market three years ago.

Another WA wine company making news overseas last week was Howard Park, winning  a silver medal at the Riesling du Monde.

‘Riesling of the World’ 2003 was held in Strasbourg, with more than 429 wines from 13 countries including France, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, South Africa and Australia.

A panel of 175 professional international judges were assembled for the tasting that awarded Howard Park’s 2001 Riesling the gong.

It was the only Australian wine to have achieved medal status in a field that contained many of the top riesling names from Germany and Alsace in France.

Of the 122 medals awarded only 10 were awarded to wines outside France or Germany.

It is a tremendous achievement for winemaker Michael Kerrigan and his team at Howard Park.

The wine, I can now say, is one of my favourite rieslings that they have released.

Michael Kerrigan made this wine in a style to age gracefully.

On release it had so much searing acidity that it made biting into a lemon a joy.

Having only just recovered from the last glass I had, I must once again pull out a bottle and see just how gracefully it is progressing.

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