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General Wine
Bordeaux En Primeur and 6000 Tasters
Thursday, 2nd May, 2013  - David Farmer
Glug Australia Day Wine Award inaugural winner was Robert M. Parker Jnr

Once a year in Bordeaux, around about April, they hold the grand final of wine. It was reported in Bloomberg (Elin Mc Coy, 22nd April) that 6000 wine buyers, opinion makers and those learning the ropes gathered to taste what the wine makers made from the difficult 2012 vintage. This depresses me no end as I doubt Australia has been visited by 6000 wine buyers and opinion makers in the last 10 years.

I do not have firsthand knowledge of the 2012 vintage but get the impression it was tough and 30 years ago might have scored a 2/7. Things are very different these days as the wealth of Bordeaux creates its own solutions.

At Chateau Mouton Rothschild, managing director Philippe Dhalluin describes the complex weather software program he uses to track clouds and how he kept 750 pickers on standby.

To combat hydric stress at his top chateaus in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, Christian Moueix, owner of negociant Jean-Pierre Moueix, cultivated vines at night to keep moisture in the soil. "I had workers rinse the grapes, to refresh them with a shower on a hot day". Bloomberg, Elin Mc Coy, 22nd April, 2013.

If you can afford to send a swarm of pickers into the vineyards between the bad weather, and later pick out the bad grapes, bunch by bunch you can achieve just about anything.

What a wine powerhouse Bordeaux is and it sustains the livelihood of many wine merchants, wine writers and auction houses as the billions of dollars worth of stock passes from hand to hand. This is all good for the image of wine but highlights what a long, hard road it will be for Australia to develop a fine wine profile on the world stage.

Somewhere over the last 20 years a promising position was lost and in my view at least one of the culprits was the corporate shenanigans of endless power plays with the accompanying hubris which extended over decades and ended with Fosters buying Southcorp. Constant changes never impress wine buyers or opinion makers. I might add it also helps if you can remove your fine wine business from being handled by volume sellers like supermarkets which Bordeaux and Burgundy have achieved. Supermarkets are the kiss of death for fine wine.

If we date the development of fine wine in Australia from the experiments of Max Schubert in the 1950s you could say we have shown spectacular success. But the sad truth is that if all of the fine wine Australia makes was presented in a marquee next to the Sydney Opera House perhaps a hundred people would fly in for the tasting. While in quantity it would not sustain more than a day or two of trading by the merchants who handle these wines. Still as a country we are hardly alone in this respect.

In building the brand image of a country you have to grab the main chances. I think you can build an image for better wines off the back of selling volumes of cheaper wines. Thus I do not think for one moment that Yellowtail degrades brand Australia in the U.S. market. It does the opposite.

Australia had a great time when the currency was weak but it's very tough exporting now and we missed the chance to lay a better foundation for wines that are not price sensitive. It's where the money is and thus the future. Penfolds has just had a price rise so consider this: "Penfolds, maker of Australia's best-known luxury wine, Grange, has been estimated by Macquarie analyst Greg Dring to account for as much as 50 per cent of TWE's pre-tax earnings despite generating only 5 per cent of sales revenue." The Australian, 15th March, 2013.

I have watched from 1982 the rise of the great American wine writer Robert Parker. Parker is a most interesting critic as he made the big calls that broke down established convention. In the mid to late 1990s he turned his attention to Australia, liked what he saw, and told his readers. Several wines he nominated as being as great as any he had tasted. Most of these wines were from warm climate regions and he almost singlehandedly established a market for these in the U.S. Such a man should be celebrated in Australia.

Recently a Barossa wine maker told me a most interesting story. At the 2nd Shiraz Alliance, 2006, held in the Barossa he was sitting next to Philippe Guigal, from the Rhone Valley. During several presentations which led to panel and delegates discussing matters to do with shiraz, snide comments were made about Parker, which led to Phillipe whispering to our winemaker; "What! You should be building a statue to him". If there is a single lesson to learn from French wine people it's that they sure know how to work a crowd or a single journalist.

I had noticed Parker phobia developing in Australia for many years as there was and still is a lot of jealousy and resentment over his fame. So much so that we thought Mr Parker needed to know he had many supporters in Australia and in January, 2006 made him the inaugural winner of the Glug Australia Day Wine Award. The full story can be read a Robert M. Parker Jr. Wins Our Australian Wine Award.

The citation read; "At Glug we have come down clearly on the side of the American. We believe the Australian wine industry should be forever grateful that Mr. Parker emerged as the most influential wine reviewer in the world. It has taken the unprejudiced palate of an American to realize that great wines came from places other than France and that there was special merit in the big full bodied shirazes of the Barossa Valley".

We have not found a worthy second recipient.

Alas Parker has retired from reviewing Australian wines and we will not see his like again and we did not make use of the main chance.

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GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2014
Four Barossa Winemakers Talking About Mataro

Thursday, 27th March, 2014

Something Very Odd with Fabulous Bordeaux from 2009

Monday, 3rd March, 2014

GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2013
Supermarkets, Waffle, Plain Speaking, Grange 2008

Wednesday, 10th July, 2013

Bordeaux En Primeur and 6000 Tasters

Thursday, 2nd May, 2013

Mataro Girls Make a Debut

Friday, 1st March, 2013

Reflections on the Art of Wine Copywriting - Part 1

Wednesday, 23rd January, 2013

The Origin of Penfolds Koonunga Hill

Thursday, 17th January, 2013

GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2012
The Amazing 'Golden Scrumpy' Cider of David Franz

Tuesday, 27th November, 2012

New Glug Release P.B. Burgoyne Moscato

Tuesday, 27th November, 2012

A Millergram - Diana Genders recalls the 2008 Vintage

Thursday, 4th October 2012

A Millergram - Put a Cork in It

Wednesday, 12th September, 2012

Goodbye Wytt Morro 1922 - 2012

Wednesday, 5th September, 2012

A Millergram - "New Discovery - The Eighth Teaching of Harry Brown"

Monday, 20th August, 2012

An Appropriate Juxtaposition On The Perils Of Wine Investment

Tuesday, 29th May, 2012

The New Grange Release – A Fully Priced Wine

Sunday, 6th May, 2012

Wine and Martin Gardner - A Sceptical Science

Tuesday, 17th April, 2012

Restrictions, Competition, Deregulation and Consumers

Sunday, 26th February, 2012

Expanding The Wine Market

Sunday, 19th February, 2012

Rosemount Turning To Ammonium

Monday, 6th February, 2012

All Good Cons Come To An End

Monday, 6th February, 2012

Terroir Expands to Carrots and Oysters

Thursday, 2nd February, 2012

The Rise of Alcoholic Apple Juice

Monday, 23rd January, 2012

Goodbye Fosters as Beer Giant Takes Over

Sunday, 15th January, 2012

What Someone Else Can Drink Tonight

Tuesday, 10th January, 2012

Cease and Desist - Coles to Woolworths

Monday, 2nd January, 2011

Observations from a Few Weeks in the Golden West

Monday, 2nd January, 2011

GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2011
How Do You Make the First One?

Sunday, 18th December, 2011

Screw Caps versus Corks - Well Fancy That!

Sunday, 18th December, 2011

A Big Wine For China

Sunday, 18th December, 2011

A Pinot Noir Breakthrough

Sunday, 11th December, 2011

Comparative Advertising Can Be Brutal

Sunday, 27th November, 2011

They Wouldn't Do It Would They?

Sunday, 27th November, 2011

Replanting a Barossa Vineyard Poses Questions About the Future

Sunday, 16th October, 2011

A Day to Remember - 3rd October, 2011

Sunday, 16th October, 2011

A Beer Giant Buys Fosters

Wednesday, 5th October, 2011

An Industry Living In Hope

Thursday, 22nd September, 2011

Just Another Drink

Sunday, 11th September, 2011

A No Brainer or No Brains?

Wednesday, 17th August, 2011

El Bulli, Fragrances and Wine Innovation

Sunday, 31st July, 2011

And You Laugh at Wine Wankers!

Sunday, 31st July, 2011

Australia Looks on in Envy

Sunday, 24th July, 2011

Helping Thine Neighbour - Or Time to Move On

Thursday, 23rd June, 2011

New Terroir in France - Plant a Good Slope

Wednesday, 15th June, 2011

Blending and Blendered Wines

Wednesday, 25th May, 2011

Becoming a Wine Merchant

Sunday, 1st May, 2011

Fake Jacobs Creek - A Test Run for the Real Thing

Wednesday, 20th April, 2011

Good Food for the Family - Woolworths vs Coles

Saturday, 26th March, 2011

Oddbins U.K. - The Crowd Moves On

Monday, 14th March, 2011

Progress Revealing the Relationships of Wine Grape Varieties

Monday, 7th March, 2011

A Smarter Way for Restaurants to Sell Wine

Saturday, 29th January, 2011

GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2010
Sommeliers an Endangered Species

Wednesday, 20th October, 2010

The Mystery of Bio-Dynamics

Sunday, 3rd October, 2010

The Complexity of Wine Gives It a Marketing Advantage

Friday, 10th September, 2010

Reflections on Wine UK Retailing and Australia’s Role

Friday, 3rd September, 2010

Population Growth Places Pressure on Wine Regions

Tuesday, 31st August, 2010

What Else besides Warming is Making Grapes Ripen Earlier?

Thursday, 5th August, 2010

Brother Richard Reports Aldi Bargain

Wednesday, 28th July, 2010

Early Ripening and Climate Change

Friday, 9th July, 2010

Red Heads Confusion at Winepeople.com.au

Tuesday, 6th July, 2010

Decanter Gives the Barossa a Kick

Monday, 21st June 2010

Seppelstfield Changes Hands - Again

Friday, 11th June, 2010

Abusing the Good Name of Woolworths

Monday, 7th June, 2010

Bordeaux - Bubble Trouble or Flying Higher

Friday, 14th May 2010

Get Out of Business says a Former President of the Winemakers Federation

Wednesday, 12th May 2010

Corrections and Opinions on a Financial Times Wine Article

Friday, 7th May 2010

Checking Out the Back Label Copy

Friday, 30th April 2010

Cocktails at the Connaught, London

Tuesday, 27th April 2010

Unusual Labelling and Outright Fraud - An Update on the Wine Trade

Monday, 19th April 2010

Catching Up with AFWE

Tuesday, 13th April 2010

What a Load of Crap - Just Drink the Stuff

Tuesday, 6th April 2010

The Brian Miller View - Y Should They

Wednesday, 24th March 2010

Australia Trade Day

Monday, 8th March 2010

The English Press is Very Quiet About the 2010 Michelin

Thursday, 29th January, 2010

Vinderella and The Benevolent

Thursday, 29th January, 2010

GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2009
Martinborough Just Loves Te Muna

Thursday, 3rd December, 2009

More Wine Snobs and Know-Alls Detected

Wednesday, 25th November, 2009

The Two Buck Chardonnay

Wednesday, 4th November, 2009

Favourite Restaurants

Tuesday, 27th October, 2009

Is it Brett or Terroir - The Brian Miller View?

Tuesday, 27th October, 2009

Governments Picking Winners

Tuesday, 13th October, 2009

More About the 2009 Champagne Harvest

Monday, 21st September, 2009

Champagne - At All Costs Protect the Image

Saturday, 12th September, 2009

Leave it Alone Will Ya

Thursday, 3rd September, 2009

A Lunch with John Duval - Ex Grange Custodian

Saturday, 1st August, 2009

Power People in the World of Wine

Sunday, 28th June, 2009

Oh Dear! Customers Slip the Boot In

Wednesday, 24th June, 2009

A New Critter Label - Hello Kitty

Wednesday, 17th June, 2009

Making, Selling, Grange and Other Wine Business

Sunday, 7th June, 2009

Advanced Mumbo-jumbo Aplenty in the World of Wine

Friday, 22nd May, 2009

An Interview with Mark Lloyd

Wednesday, 6th May, 2009

2009 Vintage May Be A Cracker

Saturday, 11th April, 2009

Hermann Thumm of Chateaux Yaldara

Wednesday, 11th March, 2009

Winestate Wines of the Year - Surprises and Gimbletts Do Well

Wednesday, 11th March, 2009

The Gimbletts Shine a Light on a Difficult Problem

Friday, 13th February, 2009

A South Coast Surprise

Tuesday, 10th February, 2009

Cork and Other Closures

Monday, 26th January, 2009

GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2008
Further News on the 'Drop of the Gods'

Sunday, 9th November, 2008

The Missing Trophy at the Barossa Wine Show

Monday, 13th October, 2008

Robert M Parker Meets His Match

Monday, 13th October, 2008

On One Hand Terroir Gets Bigger - On the Other it's Taken Away

Saturday, 6th September, 2008

A New Meaning to Making the Numbers

Friday, 29th August, 2008

Oh to be a Tree Shrew

Sunday, 17th August, 2008

Who Wants a Winery?

Wednesday, 13th August, 2008

France the Birthplace of Sophisticated Wine Falls to Rosé

Wednesday, 30th July, 2008

Evil Aluminium Takes Over

Wednesday, 30th July, 2008

Where is the Harry Potter of Wine?

Wednesday, 30th July, 2008

Thoughts About Buying, Selling and Drinking Wines From Reading "Micro Economics and Behaviour" by Robert H. Frank

Sunday, 20th July, 2008

A Brilliant 30 Years - New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Sunday, 6th July, 2008

Where You See The Word Art Substitute Wine

Tuesday, 1st July, 2008

Simplistic Wines from Bordeaux

Tuesday, 1st July, 2008

Brands of Emptiness

Sunday, 22nd June, 2008

Specific Site or Blending?

Sunday, 22nd June, 2008

Thoughts from Reading the 2008 Gault-Millau

Friday, 2nd May, 2008

On Cats Piss and Fruit Bombs

Friday, 2nd May, 2008

Troubling Advice from London Sommeliers

Saturday, 26th April, 2008

Front Labels Help Sell Wine

Saturday, 26th April, 2008

Whatever Happened to the d' in d'Yquem?

Friday, 11th April, 2008

Alarming Ageing of Great White Burgundies

Friday, 4th April, 2008

Thoughts from a London Gastro-Pub Crawl

Friday, 28th March, 2008

Sparkling Wines that "Blew Us Judges Away"

Monday, 11th February, 2008

GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2007
Alternative Closures to Cork

Monday, 17th December, 2007

Alcopops and Smirnoff

Tuesday, 11th December, 2007

A Message for Pinot Noir Drinkers

Sunday, 9th December, 2007

Bo a Perfect 10 Out of 10

Thursday, 6th December, 2007

Troubles at National Leisure and Gaming

Thursday, 22nd November, 2007

What About a Little Genetic Tweaking to Improve Flavour

Saturday, 3rd November, 2007

Martha Stewart Wines

Saturday, 27th October, 2007

An Update on the Unfathomable Idea - Terroir

Wednesday, 3rd October, 2007

Free Up Liquor Licenses in Sydney

Friday, 21st September, 2007

Unusual Admirers of Mateus

Monday, 6th August, 2007

Rosé - the Giant Wine Fraud Expands

Tuesday, 17th July, 2007

Retailing in Port Augusta

Sunday, 10th June, 2007

How Many of These Have You Tried?

Tuesday, 22nd May, 2007

New Packaging for Wine - It Will Happen

Monday, 14th May, 2007

Retailing Becomes "The Artist Of His Own Life"

Wednesday, 2nd May, 2007

All Crushed Apart from Brandies and Bundy

Sunday, 22nd April, 2007

Now We Have Fortified Terroir

Sunday, 22nd April, 2007

Marketing, Old Whale Bones and Wine

Thursday, 5th April, 2007

A Case of Begging the Question

Tuesday, 27th March, 2007

The Origin of White Wine Varieties

Thursday, 15th March, 2007

France Rules in the U.K. Wine Press - O.K.

Monday, 12th March, 2007

When You Get To Close to the Job

Tuesday, 6th March, 2007

The Wine Glut Creates Problems But Do We Have Another Problem

Thursday, 1st March, 2007

Climate Change is Underway

Thursday, 22nd February, 2006

The Wine Wankers Club Adds Another Member

Thursday, 22nd February, 2006

GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2006
Tasting with Robert M. Parker, Jr

Wednesday, 15th November, 2006

The Making of Rolf Binder Heinrich

Monday, 14th August, 2006

Can't Tell Your Brett from Oak Flavours

Tuesday, 18th July, 2006

Starting Your Own Business

Tuesday, 27th June, 2006

I Find a Canberra Connection Running Georges in Adelaide

Wednesday, 26th April, 2006

Robert M. Parker Jr. Wins Our Australian Wine Award

Thursday, 26th January, 2006

A Note About the Winner

Thursday, 26th January, 2006

Australian Wine Patron of the Year Award

Monday, 16th January, 2006

GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2005
The Crystal Wine Enhancer

Wednesday, 21st December, 2005

Major UK Trend to Wine

Tuesday, 20th December, 2005

From Vintage to Vinegar

Monday, 12th December, 2005

Waiting for Parker

Sunday, 11th December, 2005

A Problem with Penfolds RWT

Monday, 5th December, 2005

Financial Troubles but the Wine's a Winner

Friday, 2nd December, 2005

Personally, I prefer the '27

Friday, 2nd December, 2005

Sharp Differences of Opinion Over Mount Mary

Monday, 14th November, 2005

Dasher the Dog Shows How

Monday, 14th November, 2005

...midnight's all a glimmer

Monday, 14th November, 2005

The Parker Influence

Friday, 11th November, 2005

The Good King Tut Was In To the Red

Thursday, 27th October, 2005

A Look at Langtons Classification from 1991 to 2005

Monday, 17th October, 2005

Langtons Classification - We Learn How It's Done

Wednesday, 12th October, 2005

Bowen, Balthazar and the Barossa Show

Friday, 23th September, 2005

About Oak Barrels and A.P.Johns

Tuesday, 13th September, 2005

An Own Brand Victory

Friday, 9th September, 2005

An International Gong for the Experienced Four Year Old

Friday, 9th September, 2005

A Winemaker's Thoughts on Stelvin Closures

Monday, 5th September, 2005

The New Taste of Wine

Friday, 2nd September, 2005

Parker and the Swiss Chasselas

Tuesday, 9th August, 2005

Drinking From Special Wine Glasses

Thursday, 4th August, 2005

En Primeur Update: A Jonathan is Appalled

Thursday, 14th July, 2005

A Lunch with Philip White

Monday, 27th June, 2005

A Little Madness or a Sign of the Times?

Wednesday, 22nd June, 2005

Does the Truth Lie in Numbers?

Sunday, 8th May, 2005

We Catch Up With Winemaker Colin Forbes

Sunday, 8th May, 2005

A Little Bit of Madness for Whisky Afficionados

Friday, 1st April 2005

The Black Hill and the Sydney Opera House

Monday, 28th February 2005

Glug Talks to a Major Importer of High End Australian Boutiques

Saturday, 5th February, 2005

Is Cabernet Like Cola or More Like Milk?

Tuesday, 18th January, 2005

GENERAL COMMENTS ARCHIVE 2004
Expensive European Wines - Are They Worth It?

Tuesday, 7th December, 2004

Do We Need Rosé?

Wednesday, 17th November, 2004

Yering Station In Distinguished Company

Friday, 29th October, 2004

Will there be Closure on Battle for the Bottle?

Saturday, 23th October, 2004

Red Herrings in Cowra Show

Tuesday, 19th October, 2004

Tyrell Gives Cork The Flick

Tuesday, 19th October, 2004

Koonunga Screw Cap Ups The Ante In Cork Taint War

Tuesday, 9th September, 2004

Watch for the Sparkling Jimmy Watson Winner

Friday, 27th August, 2004

On Lust, Envy & Greed

Friday, 27th August, 2004

Notes on Australian Winemakers and the Australian Character

Friday, 20th August, 2004

What the English are Drinking

Friday, 20th August, 2004

Rieslings, Ready for Their Laurels

Friday, 20th August, 2004

Aussies on Top

Thursday, 19th August, 2004

High Fruit, High Alcohol; A Lesson From History

Wednesday, 23rd June, 2004



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