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Upcycling wine waste to a tasty tipple

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Paragon Wine Estates, Endeavor Group’s premium wine portfolio, has launched its version of a 19th Century tipple called Piquette.

It is made using pomace, the leftover grape skins from the wine making process. The pomace would be mixed with water to create Piquette, which is a low-alcohol wine-like beverage with a light spritz.

The name Piquette comes from the French word for “prickle” due to the drink’s slight fizz. It is also unfiltered and vegan friendly.

Senior winemaker for Chapel Hill, Bryn Richards.

Paragon’s wineries Oakridge Wines and Chapel Hill collaborated to create two options, Garden Gris Piquette and Escape Room Piquette.

Chapel Hill senior winemaker Bryn Richards said, “Our reinvented Piquette is like a wine-flavored sour beer or seltzer. It is a blend of Sangiovese skins, botanicals, wild yeasts, water and a whole lotta love.

“The fizz is caused by the second fermentation that happens in the can, so I had to apply all of my winemaking knowledge and a little bit of finger crossing to make it happen.”

The Escape Room Piquette has been fermented on grape skins for seven days using wild yeast, then pressed and canned while still fermenting to maintain its spritz. It is hazy in appearance, has a natural fizz and is best stored and enjoyed chilled.

Endeavor Group head of fine wine Andrew Shedden said Piquette is an on-trend product that is both lo-fi (lower intervention) and lower in alcohol (around 3-5 per cent ABV), characteristics customers are increasingly asking for.

“It’s a delicious, sustainable option that also comes in a can, which enables a wine-based product to play in what have traditionally been spaces owned by beer and premix,” Shedden said.

That said, Shedden added while it is made by a winery using grape skins, it isn’t a wine and nor is it trying to be.

“It’s really important to approach Piquette as a fun, refreshing beverage rather than viewing it through the prism of wine. We hear people trying it for the first time saying it doesn’t taste how they expect a wine to taste and that is the point,” he said.

Chapel Hill winery is an organically certified winery that also has achieved certification under the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA) Program. The winery and vineyards are supported by solar power and are sustainably farmed using low-impact techniques. This includes the use of reclaimed water for irrigation, the minimal use of synthetic fertilizers and herbicides as well as on-site composting of all grape stems and grape marc.

Paragon Wine Estates includes award-winning brands across six premium key wine regions in Australia and New Zealand; Oakridge Wines (Yarra Valley), Chapel Hill, Shingleback Wine (both McLaren Vale), Krondorf (Barossa Valley), Riddoch (Coonawarra), Josef Chromy Wines (Tasmania) and Isabel Estate (Marlborough, NZ). Paragon Wine Estates is part of Endeavor Group’s products and services arm Pinnacle Drinks.

Escape Room Piquette

A thrifty blend of Sangiovese skins, botanicals, wild yeasts, water and a whole lotta love. Canned hazy without filtration, the ferment finishes in the can for a natural spritz. Notes of blood orange, raspberry, cherry and cranberry with hints of sage.

Price: $7.99 per can (330ml) or $29.99 for a 4-pack

Stockist: Dan Murphy’s

Garden Gray Piquette

Produced from rehydrated Pinot Gris skins from the Upper Yarra Valley, it is dark pink in colour, showing flavors of pomegranate, red cherry and exotic apples with notes of freshly picked spices.

Price: $7.99 per can (330ml) or $29.99 for a 4-pack

Stockist: Dan Murphy’s