Clare Valley-based Jim Barry Wines has produced Australia’s first commercial bottling of Greek grape variety Assyrtiko – 10 years after company MD Peter Barry first tasted the wine while on holiday.

Jim Barry Wines produces first Australian Assyrtiko

Now Barry believes that climate change and global warming could make Assyrtiko well-suited to the future of Australian viticulture and winemaking.

Just under 500 cases of the 2016 Jim Barry Assyrtiko have been given a limited on-premise release in Australia, winning listings in Peter Gilmore’s Bennelong restaurant at the Sydney Opera House, and at Dinner by Heston, among others.

The release of the wine last week came after a lengthy process of importation and quarantine of the vine cuttings from Greece, and a decade after Peter Barry and wife Sue first tasted the variety while holidaying on the Greek island of Santorini.

Barry said the wine immediately stood out as being suited to the modern Australian palate, and he identified the Clare Valley – the climate of which he said was broadly similar to that of Santorini – as the place to plant Assyrtiko.

‘The fresh, crisp, acidic qualities of the wine are perfect accompaniments to contemporary Australian food’

‘It is a natural partner for the Australian climate and cuisine,’ Barry said.

‘Santorini has an arid climate, with an average rainfall of 300mm. With the advent of climate change and global warming, Assyrtiko is a variety that is well-suited to the changing landscape of Australian winemaking.’