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Australian Wine Loses Its Personality – What Personality?

An oozing sore for the reputation of the Australian Wine Industry abroad is the UK’s Tesco requestingproducers of Australian wine to retain the personality it once had.

To me this is a little hypocritical, when the volumes Tesco’s require for many producers to be even listed is either impossible or impractical for many of the smaller producers who do make distinctive wines with personality and spunk. It’s one thing to create the perception of personality through marketing and promoting the wines, but it’s quite another to make distinctive and creative wines.

Tesco Stores Ltd UK beer, wines and spirits director Dan Jago commented,

“When Australia first started in the UK, the excitement that we (the UK) all bought into was the fact that there would be a whole lot of winemakers on a plane that would set off from Adelaide through to Sydney, they’d drink solidly for 24 hours, they’d fall off the plane at the other end (the UK), they’d talk and trade for six days, they’d be out every night ’til three, they wouldn’t sleep and then they’d be back on the plane back to Australia.”

Doesn’t this still happen????

There are too many characters in the Australian wine industry to ever allow it to be dumbed down. It may be an ideological point of view, but wouldn’t it be nice if wine producers could create distinctive wine with personality through the fundamentals of growing the right grapes in the right region, growing and managing the grapes in balance with the environment, only irrigating, fungiciding, herbiciding when needed, instead of following a strict regime that may not even be relevant to that particular grape growing region. Ask a vineyard manager how often he sprays fungicides, and the most common answer you’ll get is “every two weeks”, regardless of the season and climate.

Growing grapes it seems has become just another farm commodity in many regions. Maybe, having produced grapes that are characteristic and distinct for a particular region will ensure the winemaker can allow the true expression of the wine, not have to worry about excessive alcohol and create structure & balance, instead of having to manufacture a product that is lost in a sea of homogeneous wines on the retailers’ shelf space.

Maybe then Australian winemakers can once again jump on a plane to the UK and give them some real personality.

About Jono Farrington

Jono Farrington
Jono Farrington holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Oenology) from the University of Adelaide (formely the Roseworthy Agricultural College). He also holds a Post Graduate Degree in Business Management from Monash University. He worked in the wine industry for nearly a decade, completing vintages in Australia and Bordeaux, before setting up an equestrian training centre.

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