FANCY a glass of apera?
What about a sip of topaque?
These are the new recommended names for the Australian fortified wines sherry and tokay, which have been given up to their European origins.
The Fortified Sustainablity Project Committee, part of The Muscat of Rutherglen group, researched, developed and chose the names from 200 suggestions on behalf of the Winemakers Federation of Australia.
Committee project manager Kevin Bascomb said the idea was to select sophisticated names that were appealing, would relaunch the fortified wine category in Australia and reach new consumers.
“This is an opportunity for fortified wine producers, including those in Rutherglen, to create greater prominence of their products and generate sales,” he said.
Among the ticks behind the selection of apera as a replacement for sherry included its play on the word aperitif, a small alcoholic drink most commonly drunk as an appetiser.
“Sherry will be relaunched as a trendy, fun wine to drink when the sun goes down,” Mr Bascomb said.
The name topaque, to replace tokay, was considered sophisticated and refined.
Mr Bascomb said detailed research, including focus groups and seeking opinions from current and potential consumers, helped develop the names.
He said an education process would ensure consumers were not confused about the new names.
If approved, wine lovers should start seeing Australia apera for sale this year, with the name sherry to be phased out next year.
There will be a 10-year phase out period for tokay.
Morris Wines manager and winemaker David Morris said he liked the name apera as soon as he heard it and he had “warmed” to topaque.
He said the challenge would be to get consumers used to the changes.
Chambers Rosewood Winery winemaker Stephen Chambers said he was “not a fan” of topaque but he was happy with apera.
He said he could see topaque was close to tokay but questioned what the name meant.
Cofield Wines general manager Damien Cofield said the names were appealing and had a “nice lightness”.
He said the key would be to make consumers aware of them and at his winery customers had been told of the upcoming changes for some time.
“It’s very important to have a uniform approach otherwise we’ll be sending mixed messages,” Mr Cofield said.
New names for sherry descriptors, fino, oloroso and amontillado will be chosen by the end of next month.
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