The Big M Speaks!

Picture of Mayer Bram


My name is Mayer Bram and I have been involved in the Victorian Wine and Spirit Industry since before Christ was born! How do you think he got the "water into wine" idea? I have spent over forty years in retail liquor stores and during that time it has been my pleasure witnessing the legend of modern day wine making.

On this site I will present you with my thoughts and analysis on the Wine Industry and the changes that affect it. I will bring you news about new products and stories from my own work place. Please feel free to respond to any of my posts with your thoughts or suggestions or general feeback. Ask me for information on Wine, Spirits and Liquors - or ask me about Australian made Liquors and traditionally brewed beers!

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Non Alcoholic Verjus Plus Gamay from Tisdall.


This was first posted on my old web site on Wednesday September 26th, 2001.


Low or non-alcoholic drinks


Sometimes in my role as a wine retailer I will be asked for non alcoholic beverages. On some occasions, I have had younger store members come to me saying that there is a customer asking them for lemonade or milk products! They ask "Surely, we don't sell non alcoholic products, here, do we?"


I will ask them to take me to the client and introduce the client to a range of non-alcoholic tonics and sparkling grape juices, either of sweet or dry finishes, or a tart citrus based non-sparkling beverage (lime and lemon). I also have at my fingertips a range of low alcoholic wines (6% to 8%). Some are blended with fresh fruit pulp with a slight spritz to the finish.


Verjus - non-alcoholic pinot noir from Dromana Estate


A new product has been brought to my attention. From a prestigious vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula, comes a vintage 2001 Verjus.


What is Verjus?


The pure non-alcoholic juice of freshly crushed semi-ripe pinot noir grapes.


 Garry Crittenden, the winemaker of Dromana Estate, has found a use for the Pinot Noir grapes removed from the vines prior to vintage, through the viticultural practice of thinning. Thinning involves removing bunches of grapes from the vine, thus allowing the remaining fruit on the vine to ripen, fully, without causing stress to the vine. It does give lower tonnage per acre, but delivers a better quality fruit. Normally, the discarded fruit would simply be ploughed back into the soil after vintage as mulch, but Garry Crittenden directs his workers to gather up the semi-ripe grapes in March to have them crushed, pressed and then bottled ready for sale.


The result is Verjus - a pure non alcoholic juice. Its vibrant translucent pink colour offers up a delightful blending of tartness and sweetness. This drink comes into its own in adding flavour to summer salads and sea-food dishes. However, be sure to try this as a refreshing drink over ice!


This product retails for about $8.00 to $12.00 a bottle. Product knowledge from the shop floor must be complete if the retailer can make the claim of being fully conversant with the product on offer to them! I have always been willing to go just that little bit further for my retail clients before sending them away from my store, without being given every chance of a choice of goods to contemplate buying!


Find out more about Verjus at biziworks. Find out more about Dromana Estate at the Dromana Estate Website.


Introducing The Grape Varietal: Gamay from Tisdall.


Gamay is the red wine varietal propagated in two main wine districts of France. In the Loire valley, in Anjou it is used to create many styles of Rose. In the Beaujolais district it makes a delicious, light, fruity wine which is best consumed when young, although some of the more robust Beaujolais (crus) improve with cellaring. Gamay in Australia has been propagated in New South Wales, South Australia and in many regions of Victoria.


From the Vineyard estates of Tisdall, sourced from their Rosbercon vineyard at Picola comes this Gamay Vintage 2001.Viticultural techniques include early picked grapes, ensuring elegant fruit flavours and high levels of acidity and free run juice, removed from skin contact after only 72 hours. The wine is bottled with minimum levels of sulphur. The colour displays a light vibrant raspberry/crimson, with a lifted aromatic Gamay fruit aroma and flavour that lingers long after the clean steely crisp acid finish. The wine has been fermented to complete dryness but has layers of flavour that give it the appearance of "sweet musky" flavour.


The finished wine has a relatively low level of alcohol (11.5%), making it the perfect match for fresh fruit, soft cheeses, dried fruit platters or with an entrée of shell fish. Serve chilled as an aperitif or as a palate cleanser at the end of the meal. Look for a price of approximately $18 to $20. This product should be available from product orientated retailers or enquire from the Tisdall vineyard direct.


Did you know? In 1993 Mildara Blass purchased the Victorian producer Tisdall Wines. Reported at


Thanks for reading!

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