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The Aussie turning Bali wine into award winners

It may surprise you to learn that quality wine is being made in Bali. Here, we speak to JAMES KALLESKE, the Australian who is earning rave reviews and awards for the Hatten label.


Q: What attracted you to the position in Bali in the first place?

A: The opportunity to be involved with something so new and exciting in the international wine sector. Every day feels like we have achieved something groundbreaking. Also, the challenge of making tropical wine was very attractive to me as a young winemaker and viticulturist.


Q: What are some of the challenges of making wine in Bali?

A: The largest challenges are all climate related. First and foremost, the warm tropical climate does not allow the vines to go dormant as vines in traditional grape growing regions do once every year before pruning.

We therefore have three grape harvests and three prunings per year as opposed to just one. This allows for year-round wine production, which is incredibly challenging to manage in the vineyard and the winery. Hence, all our wines are non-vintage blends.



Q: Does the tropical climate limit what grapes you can grow?

A: There is no chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir! Instead we grow alphonse lavallee, belgia and probolinggo biru. These are varieties which have adapted to the tropical climate after many years of being in Indonesia, most likely brought by Dutch traders.

We have 32 common grape varieties from the new and old world under trial at any one time, with syrah and chenin blanc leading the way for new development of typical premium grape varieties. We will plant 16 more hectares of these varieties this year.

Being almost directly on the equator, we have around 12 hours of sunshine every day of the year. In comparison, traditional grape growing regions experience 16 or more sunshine hours in summer and autumn when they are ripening the grapes on the vines.

We therefore achieve lower ripeness of grapes, which equates to lighter bodied wines, lower in alcohol and higher in acidity.

This is in many ways a perfect scenario, as light-bodied fresh wines are ideal to drink in a tropical island setting.



Q: How would you rate the standard of the wine produced by Hatten Wines?

A: The wines of Hatten are made to a very high international standard, as the large collection of international trophies, double golds and gold medal awards suggest.

However, the style of our wines is vastly different to old world and new world wines, so comparing a wine made from probolinggo biru to a wine made from chardonnay, for example, is like trying to compare an apple and an orange.


Q: How proud are you to have been part of the team to put Balinese wine on the map?

A: I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this team! There is so much dedication and passion behind what we do.

A large team of more than 100 people is behind the grape growing and wine production side, many of whom have dedicated more than 20 years of work to Hatten Wines. Our international accolades and recognition are such a blessing and a real credit to our team’s commitment to quality and innovation.


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Published: 5 June 2018

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