More on the future of Australian Wine

In an earlier post I made comment as to my views on the sameness that Australian wine is increasingly being perceived as, by reviewers in our main export markets; a perception that I believe is ill-formed and ought to be countered more effectively by our governing bodies. I expressed an opinion that our governing bodies have a Big-company, South Australian-centric view of our industry and on the whole are not very open or encouraging to the small producer, and that they do not communicate nor help to communicate to our overseas markets the wonderful and diverse wine which is available across this nation from the very many small producers. I suggested that it seemed to me that policies like ‘Brand Australia’ seem to encourage sameness rather than individuality and that such a policy is short-sighted and counterproductive, especially when one looks at emerging competition from producers in the south of France, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, even Spain. My opinion was, and still is, that the future and the reputation of wine in Australia rests primarily with the small and medium, passionate producers, not controlled solely by bean-counters, but by producers who put their livelihood on the line each and every vintage. I was severely criticised, almost vilified for my opinion. It is, therefore, interesting to read an opinion on Robert Parker’s by Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, who is now the main reviewer of Australian wine for The Wine Advocate; I quote.

“And then there’s the wonderful collection of strong-willed characters that have migrated to Victoria and Tassie. It’s as if all the winemakers that could no longer adhere to corporate conglomerate life found their spiritual home in the cooler, wilder frontiers of the south. As such, while South Australia produces considerably more wine than Victoria by virtue of a handful of massive wine headquarters there, Victoria is in fact home to more wineries. Most of these are small to medium sized producers, focusing on forging wines that represent both their lands and individual visions.

Because Victoria and Tasmania are so all over the place in terms of grapes and wine styles, the region must be the bane of wine marketers grappling for a snappy, summarizing catch-phrase. Perhaps this is also part of the reason these areas have been pretty much ignored by many large importers. You can almost see bossy Miss Brand Australia wagging a finger at these rebels, telling them that they must find a stylistic focus and stick with it in order to be commercially successful. But that these regions can’t be so easily pigeon-holed is what makes them extraordinary. I must re-stress to readers that it is not so much that all these winemakers cannot agree – it’s more that there is such a vast range of soils and climates across these areas that a handful of one-size-fits-all wines would not work.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW –

One wonders if anyone is listening.