Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mad Dog Spring offer

Well spring has sprung in the Mad Dog vineyards! Mad Dog has been busily cleaning up our cellar and we have come across some past vintages that we thought we had sold out of a long time ago! These we have put together in a vertical tasting of Mad Dog history. The pack includes our 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2006 Shiraz and 2006 and 2008 Sangiovese. Australian readers can get their hands on these very limited packs at the Mad Dog web site :

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Vineyard and Wine industry update

I thought it was about time I gave you all an update on the vineyard! We are currently in the last month of winter. We have had a (relatively) good winter so far. We are only approx. 15mm below our long term average rainfall for the year, and things are looking quite good. If this continues for the rest of the year it will be our first average rainfall year in about 5.

The cover crops are starting to grow more rapidly now (and so are the weeds). We are starting to think about when we should be mowing them down, as we want as much organic material as possible produced without using up all of the available soil moisture.

Pruning is beginning to wind up with only Chardonnay and Sauv. Blanc. blocks still to go. We look like getting finished in fairly good time, with the vines already starting to weep when cut (so tying rods down to wire is becoming a more urgent job to do). We have been pruning our vines fairly hard this year due to the severe surplus of wine in the Australian industry. We have pulled vines out (and left area bare), over the last few years. We are not expecting to be able sell all of the grapes we will produce in the upcoming vintage, we are going to limit our yields with heavy pruning (this should also have a positive impact on quality).

Prices we will be paid this year for our grapes will be well below our cost of production, the temptation is to produce more tonnes to offset these low prices, however this will not help the overall industry and if many growers adopt that kind of philosophy the wine industry will remain in the doldrums for a long period of time. Financial viability for grape growers in Australia is going to a major issue over the next few years. Our company requires a 30% lift in grape prices just to break even, if this does not happen in the next 2-3 years we will not be able to survive.

Ten years ago our family business supported 3 families - now it can not even support one (in that time we have expanded the area we farm and improved our mix of grape varieties). We are attempting to value add to our grapes with our label Mad Dog wines, but we have a long way to go before that will make much contribution to our financial bottom line.

Anyway enough doom and gloom, the answer is for everyone to drink up! Cheers!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mad Dog wines web site

After 4 generations of growing grapes and 10 years of making their own wine under the label of ‘Mad Dog’, Matthew Munzberg director of Mad Dog announced today that Mad Dog wine is now available direct to customers over the Internet. The newly developed web site has a history of Mad Dog, reviews of the wine, an online shop where Australian customers can get Mad Dog wine delivered to their door and a membership area so that people can be kept informed about Mad Dog.

Mad Dog was started by the Munzberg family in 1999. Mad Dog uses only selected grapes grown in the Munzberg families vineyards at Vine Vale in the Barossa Valley. The family vineyards cover approx. 35 hectares of premium Barossa floor area, from which Mad Dog selects the best Shiraz and Sangiovese fruit. ‘We select the best fruit from our vineyard and combine traditional winemaking methods, minimal handling and top notch French oak to produce a Shiraz that is undeniably Barossa, with its rich fruit flavours and ample structure’ Matthew said.

Mad Dog currently produces a flagship Shiraz product (the 2006 vintage is for sale right now) and an exclusive Sangiovese, which comes from a very small 14 year old trial planting that produces small parcels of exceptional wine. The Shiraz comes from several blocks of old vines (some more than 100 years old). ‘Mad Dog plans to introduce several new products in the next few years. So I would advise anyone wanting to hear more to sign up to our Mad Dog club on the web site at’ Matthew said.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mad Dog UK Review

Jamie Goode has written a review of the last 2 Mad Dog Shiraz releases (2005 & 2006) and it can be read on his web blog here:
For those in the UK our 2005 is available from Corney and Barrow for 15.99 here (Corney and Barrow have not yet imported any 2006):
In the meantime we are currently working on a web site that will enable our Australian customers to buy wine directly from us - this should be going live in the next 2-3 weeks. I will post a link when it is ready.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Mad Dog update

One of the reasons that this blog has not been updated as regularly as it should have been over the last few months, is that I have now taken over the day to day running of Mad Dog wines. I have been busy harvesting our next vintage and at the same time bottling our next exciting releases. We have now finished bottling and will be releasing our 2006 Shiraz and 2008 Sangiovese shortly. I will let you know how to get hold of them in a future post. One big change for this year is that our Shiraz is now packaged under a screw cap to ensure the wine gets to you exactly as we intended it to with none of the TCA issues that some of you have experienced in the past. We have our normal small volume of Shiraz and only a very, very small volume of our Sangiovese.

2006 Shiraz
This year is probably more typical of Barossa shiraz'. It is a little more full bodied and packs even more of a punch than previous releases. It has spent 18 months in a French oak. It will cellar for up to 10 years and will go really well with virtually any red meat dishes.

2008 Sangiovese
A very refreshing spice and fruit laden offering this year, with subtle hints of cherry. It has spent 6 months in quality French oak. Drink it soon - while it is at it's best! A lighter wine than our Shiraz but will go well with most meat dishes.

Nuffield report.

My Nuffield report has now been published and is available here:

It is titled 'Regional branding and marketing as a tool for improving returns to agricultural producers'. It tells you about the places I visited and some of the things I learnt while travelling on my scholarship last year. I will be travelling to Cairns to give a formal presentation to Nuffield on my report after Easter. If anyone has any comments or questions about my report please feel free to contact me at

Friday, January 30, 2009

Heat wave in Southern Australia

A period of extended extreme heat has hit the southeastern corner of Australia. Nuriootpa here in the Barossa Valley is now into it's 4th consecutive day of more than 40C (104F) temperatures. The maximum on Wed. 28th reached 44.1C (111F). We have another 5 days out of the next 7 forecast to be at or above 40C.
We are already seeing signs of scorching of our grapes, with Riesling being the worst affected variety. We are irrigating continuously at present (each block will be getting a drink about every 4th-5th day), as this is the only thing we can do to help our vines cope with the heat. Sugar levels are climbing and we will be starting harvest this coming Mon. night. We will be harvesting all of our Sauvignon Blanc this coming week and I would expect that some Chardonnay will also be picked next week.