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Wineries Are Brewing Down Under

July 6, 2007 - A new breed of beer drinkers is replacing chardonnay sippers in vineyards across Australia as wineries jump on the booming boutique beer bandwagon.

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In wineries around Australia, winemakers are busily brewing craft beers to offer them at their cellar doors.

University of Southern Queensland's wine industry liaison Rob Learmonth said there is talk among the state's wine tourism association about the growing market for boutique beers.

"At the cellar door, some people would prefer to have a beer than a wine," Associate Professor Learmonth said.

But Winemakers' Federation of Australia chief executive Stephen Strachan said the breweries pose little problem to the wine industry.

"It (beer) might be an area of some growth, but not a significant growth," Mr Strachan said.

He said that while there were some technical similarities between brewing and winemaking, there were other factors that helped in testing the different brews.

"It takes an awful lot of beer drinking to make a good wine," he said.

Otway Estate owner Janine Rose said it was a lot cheaper and quicker to make a perfect beer than it was to make a perfect wine.

"(With beer) you have got to follow market trends," Ms Rose said.

"But with wine, you have to wait five years to find out if there's a strong market for it."

Brewing expert at the University of Ballarat Peter Aldred said having brewers working alongside wine-makers would create some interesting flavors in their products.

"When you get brewers and wine-makers together there are definitely some interesting conversations," Dr Aldred said.


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