Chateau blunder offends

The wine industry is not happy about the title of a documentary on ABC1 at 8.30pm on October 30. Chateau Chunder: A Wine Revolution is purportedly a history of Australian wine. Like many others, I was interviewed, but have not yet seen it. Written, directed and produced by Stephen Oliver for the BBC, it will be titled Chateau Chunder: When Australian Wine Changed the World when screened in Britain. Apparently, Oliver has been taken to task about the title. The film opens with an old Monty Python skit that refers to an Australian wine called Chateau Chunder, but Oliver says this was intended to show how far Australian wine had come since the days it was widely mocked by Britons. The Australian version has been selected for screening at the Napa Valley Film Festival in California next month. The DVD will be available after the show's television broadcast; see www.epindependent.com.

Hamiltons mark 175 years

One of the quiet achievers of South Australian family-owned winemaking, the Hamilton family, has celebrated 175 years since arriving in the state and establishing the first vineyards. On October 17, 1837, Richard Hamilton arrived. Exactly 175 years later, his great-great-grandson Dr Richard Hamilton, an Adelaide surgeon and winemaker, threw a party in McLaren Vale at what is now known as Leconfield - the home of Richard Hamilton Wines. Leconfield is now the name of the company's two cellar doors in McLaren Vale and Coonawarra. The wines are all made in Coonawarra, by Paul Gordon and Tim Bailey.

Champs off to Champagne

Dan Buckle and Matthew Stutsel, winners of this year's Vin de Champagne Award, have started their two-week study tour of Champagne, part of their prize. The awards are held every two years by Champagne Bureau Australia, the local arm of the French Comite Champagne. Buckle, who won the professional section, is a Yarra Valley winemaker. Previously the chief winemaker at Mount Langi Ghiran, he moved to sparkling winery Domaine Chandon recently. Stutsel, a Sydney lawyer, won the amateur section. The fact it's been one of the worst grape-growing seasons in recent memory is unlikely to put a dampener on their trip. Spring frosts and early-summer hail slashed the region's grape yields by up to 40 per cent. The summer was cool and wet, but the sun returned in the critical month of August and some houses are reporting excellent quality.