Mission Estate selected for major wine tasting

Jewelstone Syrah 2013, from New Zealand’s oldest winery Mission Estate, has been selected to appear at Wine Explorers’ Grand Annual Tasting 2016.

The event is a unique four-year project to take an inventory of all of the wine producing countries of the world.  Now in its third year, the task has seen the Wine Explorers travel to 92 countries, visiting 250 winegrowing regions, surveying a total of 1500 vineyards and tasting over 15000 wines.

The Grand Annual Tasting 2016, held in Paris, was the culmination of the Wine Explorers 2015 travels.

The tasting was intended to showcase the Wine Explorer’s favourite wines from their travels in 2015. Only 35 wines, including two from New Zealand, were selected to appear.

120 professionals from the wine industry joined the tasting, where wines from 14 countries were represented. The idea was not to judge the wines, but to assess the potential of each of the selected wine regions and discuss the notion of terroir.

“This event was particularly poignant for us given our French heritage. It was French Marist Missionaries who established Mission Estate back in 1851. I’m sure these men never considered that their pioneering efforts would ultimately lead to a wine bearing the name Mission being showcased at such a grand event in Paris some 165 years later,” said Peter Holley, Mission Estate CEO.

Jewelstone Syrah 2013 is a single vineyard wine from Mission’s Mere Road vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels. The wine has a floral spicy nose with very sweet ripe fruit elements.

Australian Wine Industry Trade Exhibition returning to Adelaide

The Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference (AWITC) & Trade Exhibition (AWITE), is returning to Adelaide this month, six years since it was last held in the region.

Fair Events Managing Director, Gary Fitz-Roy, says this year AWITE is building an impressive portfolio with the industry’s best set to showcase the latest wine technology, equipment and services.

“We’ve secured industry leaders, niche and new suppliers for AWITE 2016, many of who plan to give attendees a first-look of their latest products.

“Attendees will have the chance to perfect their grapegrowing, winemaking and wine storing processes by meeting with industry leading suppliers,” Fitz-Roy said.

A sneak preview of what suppliers will be showcasing is as follows:

– Seguin Moreau Australasia will be launching its new product which reduces oak contact time up to two weeks, the Oenofirst Finisher

– Greenstream Systems will be launching its new product, the stainless steel Optima Steamer

– Sphere Foods will be launching its new product into the Australian market, Natural Crystal Red, and is flying in its CEO from Washington State, USA to be at the show

– Director of Wine Barrel Cleaning, Murray McDonald will be showing how steam deep cleans, rehydrates and sterilises barrels through the ‘barrel window’ on-stand demonstration

“Visitors have the opportunity to network, keep abreast of the latest industry trends, find solutions for increased productivity and become inspired to implement new innovative technology,” said Mr Fitz-Roy.

AWITE, AWITC and the WFA Outlook Conference, set to take place from Sunday, July 24 to Thursday, July 28, will collectively provide a comprehensive education program of plenary sessions and workshops for grapegrowers, winemakers and management.

Treasury Wine Estates divests 12 US wine brands

Treasury Wine Estates has sold 12 non-core commercial US brands which account for one million cases of wine.

The company said in a statement that the move fits with its strategy of the past two years and that the divestments were made at approximately book value.

“The divestment will have nil impact on TWE’s earnings in F16 and beyond as the contribution from the divested brands is covered by Cost of Goods Sold savings from the Company’s Supply Chain Optimisation initiative and continued strong earnings growth from TWE’s Luxury and Masstige portfolios, globally,” the statement said.

In addition, Treasury reiterated its 2015/16 earnings guidance to be between $330 million and $340 million, a figure which the company says reflects improved performance across all regions.

UK’s biggest selling wine set for release in Australia

Wine supplier Treasury Wine Estates will launch the Blossom Hill range, which is the UK’s highest selling white and rose brand, in Australia on May 16.

As AAP reports, Treasury Wine purchased the brand as part of its acquisition of the Diageo wine business in January. The company will initially release four varieties on the Blossom Hill label, rose, moscato, sauvignon blanc and shiraz.

“It’s been a phenomenal success in the UK, and when we look at the opportunity that it presents in Australia, we get really excited,” Treasury Wine’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand Angus McPherson said.

“It’s targeted a little bit at the millenial consumer (aged 20-plus), and a little bit female biased.”

According to the SMH, to minimise the ‘cannibalisation’ of Treasury’s other brands, the release will initially focus on independent retailers. In other words, it will not be available from Liqourland, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and so forth.

“It’s just the first phase of the launch. We’re using the same model that was used in the United Kingdom,” McPherson told the SMH.

“The strategy is make sure we see it well established in the independents first.”

While the UK version of the wine is sourced from US grown grapes, the Australian version will be made locally from local grapes.

Greek winemakers to visit Australian shores

Following the success of their 2015 visit to Australia, a contingent of winemakers and educators from the world’s oldest growing region are making their second pilgrimage to our shores.

Showcasing innovative styles and native varietals, 23 wineries will visit Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide from 19-25 June to host a range of sessions including trade tastings, highly educational master classes, and intimate dinners and lunches.

Well known as some of the most passionate characters in the European industry, the wines they bring will be as robust and diverse as the personalities. A number of familiar faces from 2015’s events will be joined by some first-time visitors to the country, all highlighting exciting varietals in that Greek signature eternally modern style.

From the Peloponnese region to Santorini and the islands, winemakers, educators and grape-growers from all over the country look forward to sharing more than 70 wines, ranging from zesty assyrtikos to vibrant xinomavros with Australian trade and media.

New Wines of Greece President, Yannis Voyatzis said he was looking forward to returning to Australia with the group of producers.

“We are so excited to return to Australia and reconnect with the great friends and colleagues we met on our last trip,” Voyatzis said.

“We know there is growing intrigue around our famous wines in Australia and we have plenty of new information about varieties, techniques and exciting developing regions to share with Australia’s industry representatives.

“Australians love food, just like the Greeks, and this is the perfect opportunity for us to highlight the perfect pairing wines for rich flavours and textures that we share an appetite for.”

The travelling contingency is also running private master classes for retail, hotel and restaurant groups throughout their time in the country.

Screw cap innovation removes wine preservatives at the push of a button

AN innovative bottle closure with the potential to significantly reduce wine allergies is being developed in Australia’s most famous wine region.

Barossa Valley brothers Joshua and Simon Schmidt started their South Australian company Vinnovate in 2012 and have developed a bottle closure that releases a solution to reduce the impact of preservatives or add subtle flavours to wine.

When activated, by pressing a button on top of the screw cap, the solution is mixed with the wine and binds to free sulfites, removing their preservative properties and reducing their ability to cause a reaction.

The Vinnovate invention has beaten more than 100 Australian and New Zealand industry innovations to take out the Brancott Estate Winexplorer Challenge.

Co-founder and chief innovation officer Joshua Schmidt said the award – a $35k cash prize plus the opportunity to work with Pernod Ricard to bring the product to market – was a huge thrill.

“We believe that the Winexplorer Challenge has validated our idea and it now gives us a springboard from which to go forward,” he said.

He said it would be up to the consumer as to whether they activated the solution or not.

Sulfites, or sulphur dioxide, is a preservative widely used in winemaking because of its antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Common reactions to sulfites include headaches and red, itchy skin.

Vinnovate Managing Director Simon Schmidt is a winemaker while Joshua’s background is in marketing, with a particular focus on the pharmaceutical industry.

The Schmidt brothers have developed prototypes and have commenced discussions with a number of wineries around trials.

Joshua said he hoped for a commercial release towards the end of the year.

“It’s our vision to see this as the next generation screw cap closure for wine,” he said.

“We currently are talking to some wineries about this and it’s our goal that this would be inclusive wine packaging.”

“We believe this has tremendous widespread appeal and application just like how the Clare Valley was an early adopter of the screw cap 40-odd years ago.”

China takes WA’s drop to invest in the wine industry future

A new report released by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre at Curtin University outlines major considerations for wine producers when exporting Western Australian wines to China.

The report, titled WA Wine Exports: Building an economic future with China, was completed in consultation with six key industry stakeholders and 26 wine producers across all WA wine regions to gain insight into expert issues and the Chinese market.

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Jeremy Galbreath, said the report identified five key themes: the growing market for Australian wines in China; distribution; packaging and product development; marketing and branding; and a business model innovation.

“There is a perception that WA’s wine production volume is too small to make any significant penetration into the Chinese market,” Associate Professor Galbreath said.

“Our research, however, determined that there was a definitive market for premium wine in China and that WA was well poised to meet a slice of that demand, providing wine producers consider a few key aspects when exporting their wine.

“Successful exporters must be creative around labels, colouring and wine descriptors, while investigating the value of creating new wine brands specific to the Chinese market.

“Producers should also be aware of the language differences and how terminology is understood when using descriptors of their wine on labels. This will ensure Chinese consumers understand the messages in the same way.”

The importance of precise marketing and branding of Western Australian wines was also highlighted as the impact of WA’s isolation presented additional challenges.

“Outside of some knowledgeable wine consumers, even regions like Margaret River have little global recognition. This needs to change in order for Western Australian wine producers to successfully increase exports to China,” Associate Professor Galbreath said.

“Several participants in the research expressed that regional producers should investigate more thoroughly how they can collaborate or cooperate to increase the volume of their exports to China,” Associate Professor Galbreath said.

“This would help overcome some concerns about too many small producers acting alone, encouraging participation towards a common goal, and keeping individual brands intact.”

“The reality is that the majority of wine producers in WA are unprofitable and new business models are needed to restore profitability and to secure a sustainable future,” Associate Professor Galbreath said.

Babich Wines celebrates centenary year

Babich Wines, one of New Zealand’s oldest family-owned wine brands, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

To mark the milestone, the Babich family has dusted off the archives and is sharing 100 never-before-heard stories from its history. 26 stories were posted on babichwines.co.nz/100stories before Christmas. 30 more stories will be added soon. The remainder will be added throughout the year.

“We are throwing the doors open and sharing the most intimate parts of our history,” said Babich Wines Managing Director and second-generation winemaker Joe Babich. “These stories touch on every emotion. A few will have you laughing out loud, some give an interesting glimpse at what winemaking was like in New Zealand in the 1900s, and others are simply hard to believe!

“They really demonstrate that deep personal connection we have had with the vines, the land and the wine since that first bottle was produced by my father, Josip Babich, in 1916 – when he was just 20 years old.”

Babich has also unveiled a centennial Cabernet Sauvignon, the most exclusive wine in its history, using a small parcel of grapes from its 2013 Hawke’s Bay Gimblett Gravels harvest. Only 100 magnums and 330 bottles of special edition wine are available.

In addition, a tribute book, titled The Next Vintage, has been released. It traces Josip’s journey and the 100 years since 1916, when he made his first wine from his own grapes, to the large West Auckland family winery that is now a well-known international brand.

The Babich Wines cellar door – at the family’s very first vineyard in West Auckland – will be given a complete makeover this year, and is expected to be very popular with tourism operators and media. The launch date will be announced later on in the year.

Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, agrees that the centenary is an important milestone, not just for Babich but also for the New Zealand wine industry as a whole.

“Babich Wines and generations of the Babich family are exemplars of all that has made New Zealand wine such an inspiring international success story,” says Philip. “From humble beginnings, with hard work, with enormous dedication and with great vision they have built a highly successful wine business. Their individual enterprise has always been coupled with unwavering service to the wider New Zealand wine industry, for which they are applauded and recognised by their peers.”

Chinese wine makes its mark at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Visitors to the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival will have the opportunity to taste quality wine from somewhere they may not expect, China.

The ABC reports that an event to be held at the Langham Hotel will compare Australian made wines with their Chinese counterparts.

Judy Chan, chief executive of Grace Vineyard wines, an award-winning vineyard in the Shanxi province, is in Melbourne for the event.

She told the ABC that Australian wine drinkers tend to express surprise when they encounter Chinese wine.

"Most of the time it's shock. 'What? China produce wine? Really?'," she said.

Chan explained that wine drinking is something new for most Chinese people.

"Even when I started 14 years ago, and I asked people to taste the wine, they'd ask me what it is," she said.

"Many people have never drank wine before.

But she added that things have changed since then and wine drinking is becoming more accepted.

While Grace Vineyard wines are not currently available in Australia, Chan said she would like to sell them here.

The Chinese wine industry is growing rapidly, so much so that a Chinese wine Changyu Noble Dragon is now the most popular brand of wine in the world.

As Olive Press reports, Marques del Atrio, one of the five biggest bodegas in the Spanish region of Rioja, will import and distribute China’s Changyu Noble Dragon wine from the end of March.

Riojia is seen as the heartland of the Spanish wine industry.

Treasury Wine Estates ‘retiring’ 30% of its products

Treasury Wine Estates is in the process of ‘retiring’ 30 per cent of its 3000 product lines, though the company has no plans to sell any of them.

The company’s chief executive told the SMH that he is aiming to have the task completed by half way through this year.

The idea is to hold onto the product lines with the option of re-introducing them at tactically advantageous times in the future instead of selling them.

The large number of product lines stretch across more than 100 brands which Treasury Wines now owns. That number increased by 25 after the acquisition of Diageo’s US wine business of British which came into effect at the beginning of this year.

Last week, Treasury announced that its first-half earnings increased 72 per cent to $146.8 million; and that its net profit after tax increased 42 per cent to $60.6 million.

Australia & New Zealand reported Earnings Before Interest, Tax, SGARA and material items (EBITS) growth of 6 per cent to $46.7m, driven by solid volume growth in a flat overall wine market in Australia.

Wine Solutions from Spray Nozzle Engineering

Spray Nozzle Engineering, a leading Australian spraying solutions company, has a long history of providing solutions to the wine and beer processing industries in Australia and New Zealand.

From stainless steel washdown and tank cleaning systems, to wine racking equipment, Spray Nozzle Engineering’s support of local industry expands more than 30 years.

Strahman washdown guns are certified with the Smart Approved WaterMark. Their washdown solutions are powerful and water-saving. Add their stainless steel hose reels, and food grade hose for a complete washdown solution.

Spray Nozzle Engineering’s CIP solutions for the wine industry combine exclusive Gamajet Alfa Laval tank cleaners, and their own innovative, engineered products.

Gamajet tank cleaning machines, such as the GentleJet™, are powerful, yet gentle on toast, making them ideal for larger vessel and tank sizes. For smaller sizes, Spray Nozzle Engineering has designed and patented their M Series tank cleaning heads. Originally designed as a replacement for spray balls, they are fast, efficient and effective.

The Rack-it-Teer™ is a precision stainless steel spear wine racking solution, with patented locating finger and ‘positive-seal’ system that allows filling, decanting and oxygen purging without wasting gas. Rack-It-Teer™ adapts to all barrel sizes, making it extremely versatile.

In addition to supplying equipment to the wine industry, Spray Nozzle Engineering also repairs and services tank cleaning equipment in their Centre of Excellence service centres in Melbourne and Hamilton. This allows for fast local service that minimises downtime and costs, with loan heads available to approved customers.

Australian wine exports increase by 14 per cent to $AUD2.1 billion

The Wine Australia Export Report for December 2015 shows that the value of Australian wine exports jumped 14 per cent to $AUD2.1 billion in 2015, reaching its highest value since October 2007.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said “Pleasingly, our latest Export Report shows that the value of Australian wine exports grew in each of the top 15 export markets in the year ended 31 December 2015.”

“This export growth should be warmly welcomed by the Australian grape growing and winemaking community as it is largely a result of their hard work.”

This is the first time that there has been growth in each of the top 15 markets in a calendar year, with the strongest growth being in China, which grew 66 per cent to $AUD370 million.

The value of exports increased at each price point and the largest increase was in wines with a free on board (FOB) value over $10 per litre. Sales of these wines grew by 35 per cent to a record $AUD480 million. They now make up 23 per cent of the value of Australia’s wine exports.

Bottled wine has been the key driver of the export success. Bottled exports increased by 17 per cent to $AUD1.6 billion and the average value increased by 7 per cent to $5.20 per litre. This is the highest value since 2003 on a calendar year basis.

There were 1,517 active exporters in 2015 (up from 1,395 in 2014) and Australian wine was exported to 122 destinations. 

The top five markets by value are:

1. USA, which increased by 4 per cent to $443 million
2.   UK (Australia’s number one market by volume), which increased 0.2 per cent to $376 million
3.   China, which increased 66 per cent to $370 million
4.   Canada, which increased 7 per cent to $193 million, and
5.   Hong Kong, which increased 22 per cent to $132 million.

Alcohol companies target the 20% of Australians who drink 75% of the alcohol

Researchers have known for a long time that alcohol consumption is quite concentrated in a small part of the population. They argue about the exact distribution, but there is substantial agreement that, so long as alcohol sales are not heavily restricted, consumption is distributed in a quite predictable way. That is, there are many light and moderate consumers, along with a long tail of those drinking at heavier levels.

In Australia, the top 20% of the drinking-age population in 2013 consumed around three-quarters of all the alcohol consumed. The top 5% consumed more than a third.

The concentration of alcohol consumption among the heaviest drinkers has actually increased in recent years. The top 10% of consumers accounted for 49% of the consumption in 2001, and this had increased to 53% in 2013.

The heaviest-drinking 20% of the population reported consuming a daily average equivalent to 43 grams of pure alcohol – a bit over four standard drinks. This is a substantial underestimate of their actual drinking.

The total amount of drinking reported in such surveys is calculated to be about 55% of the alcohol sold in Australia, so their actual daily average is likely to be about 7.8 drinks. This is nearly four times the low-risk limit of two standard drinks per day recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The dangers of alcohol

If you drink enough alcohol, you get intoxicated, making you unfit for a lot of everyday activities. This includes, for instance, driving a car, most kinds of work or looking after children. Apart from these issues of injury and social functioning, alcohol also carries longer-term health risks.

At an average of four drinks per day, the chances of dying of an alcohol-related cancer or other chronic disease are four in 100 for men and 4.5 in 100 for women. At 7.8 drinks a day, the chances are about five in 100 for men and eight in 100 for women.

Adding in risks of dying from alcohol-related injuries more than doubles the risk for men, and increases the risk for women by more than 50%. Just considering the risks of health and injury harms, alcohol is by far the riskiest commodity that a majority of us regularly consume.

The current guidelines “to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol” set upper limits calculated on lifetime death risks from drinking. These are around four times the rate National Road Safety Strategy aims for as an upper limit of lifetime rate of deaths from traffic collisions. They contrast, for instance, with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines on water safety, which aim to keep the risk of death from contaminated drinking water below one in a million.

Alcohol marketing

Those in the business of selling alcohol have long known about the skewed distribution of alcohol consumption in the population. In meetings among people in the industry, those at the top end of the distribution are called the “super consumers“, and they are vital to maintaining or increasing sales.

If all the “super consumers” reduced their drinking to the two-drinks-a-day average recommended by the NHMRC as an upper limit, it has been calculated, based on self-reported consumption, that alcohol sales would fall by 39%.

In its public face, the alcohol industry takes the line that it is only seeking to protect and promote “responsible drinking”: how to “drink properly”, minimising risks of harm.

But, in its internal discussions of the need for retailers to “identify and target super consumers”, the industry is acknowledging a large part of its sales are to drinkers who are taking substantial risks with their own lives and the lives of those around them. If all drinkers in Australia were to drink within the government guidelines for low-risk drinking, the alcohol market would shrink substantially.

If governments want to reduce alcohol-related harms, they can’t rely on the industry’s commitment to responsible drinking. It’s directly against the industry’s interests for the heaviest drinkers (who make up the majority of their sales) to drink less.

Given this inherent conflict, policymakers should focus on well-evaluated policies such as reduced late-night trading hours for pubs and nightclubs and smarter taxation of alcoholic products. Most importantly, governments should be sceptical of working in partnership with an industry whose interests are diametrically opposed to public health.

The Conversation

Robin Room, Professor and Director, Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, La Trobe University and Michael Livingston, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at The Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, La Trobe University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Sassy Cider – L’inimitable

Product Name: Sassy Cider – L’inimitable

Product Manufacturer: Maison Sassy

Launch date: Late Dec '15- Early Jan '16

Ingredients: 22 Varieties of Apple Juice (Fermented), Sulphites

Shelf Life: 18 months

Packaging: 330mL & 750mL glass bottles

Product Manager: Noble Spirits

Country of origin: France

Brand Website: https://www.maison-sassy.com/

Describe the product: L’inimitable shows a perfect balance between the dry of a dry cider and the fruit of a semi dried cider. Characterised by an aromatic complexity and delicacy, this cider, served at 8°, is a perfect match for an aperitif or to go with meat, cheese (Camembert, Pont l’Evêque) or an apple dessert.

Contact Email: info@noblespirits.com.au

New Scotch whisky rolled out in Australia

Launching in Melbourne this month ahead of its global rollout, Pure Scot is the first Australian-owned whisky distilled traditionally in the southern Lowlands of Scotland.

Pure Scot Blended Scotch Whisky is the perfect balance of provenance and progression. Contemporary and fresh – combining unique Bladnoch Single Malt, robust island malts, aged Speyside and Highland malts and select grain whiskies.

The expertise and passion of Pure Scot’s master distiller Ian Macmillan is reflected in every drop – delivering a crisp, smooth, authentic taste – adaptable to many drinks and occasions. Evoking 200 years of heritage, Bladnoch Distillery – home to Pure Scot – has resided on the Bladnoch River since 1817.

Pure Scot is the vision of successful Australian businessman David Prior, bringing a modern interpretation to a category steeped in provenance, but in a younger and more accessible way.

"It's a highly adaptable, versatile, contemporary-tasting product, not smoked, it's really for the younger consumer,” Prior said.

Former CUB boss John Murphy, who has teamed up with Prior says Pure Scot hopes to lure new consumers – mainly in the 25 to 30 year bracket – into the Scotch whisky category by reinventing Scotch as a social drink, rather than a elitist beverage.

"The beauty for us with Pure Scot is we don't have to be protecting and defending. We can come in and actually blow the hell out of this thing. We don't have to worry about those rules. We can play with any rules. We can talk to customers and consumers differently," Murphy said.

Fruity, with a hint of gobbledygook: it’s time to give up on wine wankery

Barnyardy. Herbacious. Unctuous. Chewy. Hedonistic. Ponderous. Shallow. Backward. The wine industry has been using evocative descriptors to characterise the taste and aroma of its products for generations. But how does the industry justify such precise language to describe such a subjective experience?

Especially given empirical research, which has demonstrated that the average consumer struggles to recognise descriptions of the wine that experts identify on the label, it is likely the wine industry alienates consumers more than it attracts them.

Furthermore, although wine experts use a larger vocabulary to describe wine, and discriminate between two wines more effectively than novices, a body of evidence suggests that wine expertise is a questionable label with respect to the degree of rating variability in wine judging.

This plight of wine label irrelevance afflicting wine consumers is typically met with the response of a need for wine education, according to the wine sector. Is it that such consumers are simply out of touch with the wine industry, or is it that the wine industry is out of touch with itself?

We believe the evidence clearly points towards the latter. Welcome to the concept of Wine Wankery.

Previous studies (such as these, by Spawton, Hall & Winchester, and Geraghty & Torres) have suggested there are three to four types of wine consumer:

  1. Connoisseurs or enthusiasts – those who know a lot about wine
  2. Enjoyment-based or casual wine consumers – those who enjoy quaffing their wine and are not too fussed on impressing anyone with it
  3. Risk averse or value seeking wine consumers – those who do not know a lot about wine and look for special offers
  4. Image conscious or aspirational wine consumers – those who are not experts in wine and are insecure about their lack of knowledge.

While there is limited evidence on the proportions of the population that make up each of the above groups, the limited evidence available suggests that fewer than one in five wine drinkers are connoisseurs. It is clear that most wine drinkers are not particularly sophisticated, suggesting that overly complex wine labels are irrelevant to most of the market.

The reality of the market is that most wine consumers are likely to seek a more simple explanation of what they drink. Most people are interested in wine being cheap, and tasting reasonably good. The UK’s biggest selling wines are big brands, and these are mainly sold through the major supermarkets.

Brands such as Yellowtail, Jacob’s Creek and Hardy’s show that the majority of consumers are not into expensive wines nor are they enthusiastic oenologists. Moreover, consumer purchase patterns that hold true in FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) markets also hold true in those where consumers purchase wine. It may be a surprise to many that bulk wine brands are likely to get more consumer loyalty than boutique, expensive brands.

Given that wine operates in a market just like any other consumer product, why does this industry put so much effort into Wine Wankery?




When you read wine magazines or a wine industry journal, ironically much more page space is dedicated to the premium and boutique end of the market. This segment actually represents a disproportionately smaller portion of the wine market in sales volume.

The proportions vary by sales format, but somewhere between 1% and 20% of sales volume is attributed to the premium end of the market. On the other hand, the high volume brands get almost no coverage in wine magazines and journals, yet these brands are responsible for most of the sales. Most people appear happy to describe wine in one or two words. But those who write about wine need to fill space in a wine magazine, so two words isn’t nearly enough detail.

Perhaps wine that’s made to a formula is just not as sexy … Or is it simply that at the high volume end of the market, the consumer isn’t interested in wine descriptions? The appeal of wine is in its diversity and nuance, which attracts people to the category.


Ula Peiciute


Even across social media, the wine industry works toward the few customers who are enthusiasts or connoisseurs. This year, successful wine apps Vivino, and Delectable, which have millions of subscribers, began releasing data on users’ behaviours. Both of these apps use label recognition from the user’s phone to reveal information on the wine being photographed, as well as reviews from other users. These are game changer apps because the user doesn’t need to put the data in manually, unlike previous wine apps.

These millions of consumers may sound like a lot of users on which claims on wine market trends can be made. The problem with these app owners releasing data on their users’ behaviours is that their users aren’t “typical” wine consumers. A recent example from digital trends, on the Delectable app illustrates the situation.

If the industry was to use customer profiles and data on usage from these apps, it would be easy to believe that Growers Champagne and Loire Valley reds are the big trends in the wine market. Given that most subscribers on delectable reside in the US, you’d be forgiven for thinking that small producers of lesser-known wines were storming into households all over the country.

But, the latest Impact data on the US market shows that sweet red wines are still a fast-growing category, also that New Zealand Sauvignon blanc has grown almost 20% over the past year, and Prosecco sales being the big increase in the segment of foreign sparkling wine category.

What these results show is that these app users are more likely to resemble the small proportion of connoisseurs, and that any analysis from these apps will encourage the industry to be more out of touch with their assertions with respect to real wine drinkers.

Most consumers have probably had enough of wine wankery, and it’s probably time the wine industry got to terms with the fact it’s just another consumer product like any other.

The Conversation

Maxwell Winchester, Discipline Leader, Marketing , Victoria University and Damien Wilson, Programme Director, MSc in Wine Business, Burgundy School of Business

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Taylors sweeps the awards at Great Australian Shiraz Challenge

Family-owned, Clare Valley winery Taylors Wines has stolen the show with its 2014 Taylors Estate Shiraz, taking top prize for Best Australian Shiraz as well as Best Australian Shiraz under $25 at the nation’s premier shiraz competition, The 2015 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge.

Receiving a score of 19.5 from the esteemed judging panel, the trophy-winning Estate Shiraz is one of The Challenge’s highest scoring wines in the competition’s history.

This is the second time in The Challenge’s history that a single wine has received both trophies on offer at the competition.

Third generation Managing Director Mitchell Taylor is proud to be receiving such a prestigious accolade.

“We are thrilled with the result. These award wins are a credit to the hard work and dedication of our vineyard and winemaking teams who craft top quality wines across our entire portfolio,” Mitchell said.

Now in its 21st year, The Great Australian Shiraz Challenge has become Australia’s pre-eminent and valuable single class wine competition. 

The Challenge was established by the winemakers of the Nagambie Lakes region who laid down a challenge to determine Australia’s best shiraz producers. Wines entered are classed and tasted based on climate and regional points of difference, ensuring all entries are judged fairly and objectively.

The Challenge has proven to be a very successful show for Taylors Wines. It first received the People’s Choice Award in 2000 for the 1997 St Andrews Shiraz, taking the top trophy for Best Australian Shiraz the following year with the 1998 St Andrews Shiraz. Taylors also received the trophy for Best Australian Shiraz under $25 in 2011 for the 2010 Promised Land Shiraz.


Passionfruit Pink Lady – Cheeky Rascal Cider

Product Name: Passionfruit Pink Lady
Product Manufacturer: Rebello
Launch date (must be in the last 3 months to be eligible): new product labelling in last few months
Ingredients (as listed on the packaging): Pink Lady Apple Juice (Fermented), Fermented Passion Fruit
Cane sugar, Sulphites
Shelf Life: 18 months
Packaging: 500mL amber bottles in 15 bottles per case
Country of origin: Australia
Brand Website: https://www.rebellowines.com.au
Describe the product: Made with Victorian grown pink lady apples and real passionfruit, Passionfruit Pink Lady was created as a limited edition range to the Cheeky Rascal Cider family on the back of Cheeky Rascal’s loyal followers who it canvassed asking them to identify fruits they’d like to see blended with cider.

Diageo loses its love of wine amid sale rumours

Alcohol giants Diageo, owners of Jonnie Walker and Ciroc vodka are looking to offload their wine division.

“Diageo fell out of love with wine following the great recession of 2008-09 when it saw that the category could not offer the returns it was looking for,” Jeremy Cunninton, senior Alcoholic Drinks Analyst at Euromonitor International.

Brands including Blossom Hill and Piat d’Or will likely be sold off to Australian wine maker Treasury Wine Estates.

The deal for Diageo to sign with Treasury has not be confirmed as of yet but if Diageo signs that dotted line they will join Treasury wine brands Penfolds, Wolf Blass, Lindermans and Matua.

“The main benefit for the buyer (Treasury Wine Estates) will be Diageo’s US wine assets with the premium and brands such as Sterling Vineyards, which will greatly improve Treasury Wine Estates generally low value US portfolio” Cunninton said.

The CEO of Diageo has been under some pressure to offload the wine sector of the company, as it is estimated to only make up around five per cent of the global revenues.

“The fact there is a sale now may in part be due to some pressure to sell, but it is more likely there was someone willing/able to offer a suitable price,” Cunninton said.

BDC launches the Master Distillers’ Collection rum

The Bundaberg Distilling Company (BDC) has released the Master Distillers’ Collection (MDC) Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 rum. 

This premium rum celebrates the Bundaberg Black legacy, exhibiting the richness, depth and character that are the staples of the Bundaberg Rum Black Barrel range and is set to launch at The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival in October.
MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 rum has spent the last decade ageing in American White Oak and was finished in small, heavy charred barrels. The result is an enticingly sweet rum that has been barrel matured for longer than last year’s MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2004, making it smoother whilst retaining a deep red lustre that is reminiscent of the glow of burning cane fields of yesteryear. 

The result is a premium, full character old aged dark rum featuring notes of deep caramel and sweet raisins, making this a well balanced treat for the palate.
The type of barrel is key to the rate at which a rum matures and the number of different barrels used by the BDC, results in the Master Distillers’ Collective (The Collective) regularly undertaking checks of the ten year old reserves on site to assess which batch is maturing best.
Senior Brand Manager for Bundaberg Rum, Duncan Littler, comments; “The Collective is dedicated to creating premium rums that embrace and celebrate the rich and diverse history of rum. MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 has been barrel matured for longer creating a delectable rum, even smoother than its predecessors in the range.”

Available in 700ml bottles, each MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 (40 per cent ABV) also carries a unique number.