Thursday, November 09, 2006

Australia vineyards offer more than 'critter wines'

The problems that Australian wineries have in educating drinkers of inexpensive ‘critter wines’ have been acknowledged by Francine Bryan Brown, public relations director of Wine Australia USA, an industry-funded promotional board. From an article by Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune (November 2nd, 2006) Brown said Australian winemakers are attempting to sell the concept of regionality.

Some sections of the article bear quoting.
Brown said the cheaper wines, nicknamed "critter wines" by some, serve as a "very good introduction" to Australian wines. From there, it's a "natural evolution" upward in terms of quality and price.

Brown said the Australians want to educate Americans to think of the country as something other than an enormous monolith churning out critter wines.

These comments are interesting even if they do state the obvious, but they also include this. "We're not overly concerned," she said. "There are so many good wines out there, and the winemakers are so terribly committed."

The winemakers have to do all the work? No Francine Brown, they make the wine. You have to do the work of selling regionality to the wine drinkers in the USA.

How is that being done on the Wine Australia USA website? It includes promotional materials, listing of wine events (there was a Wine Australia Festival, San Diego on September 12 which was news to me), and sections on the industry, wine styles and regions. Its all pretty basic stuff, but it’s a start.

How about a section that highlights a varietal wine style from a particular region with tasting notes from known critics (both American and Australian) followed by a summary pointing out the regional characteristics for the varietal? What about a comparison of wines between regions? Give wine drinkers a real sense of the differences that exist within the sea of Australian wine. Make them want to go out and look for these different wines and experience the differences for themselves.

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