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A beacon for hope

By Saturday 9 December 2023January 19th, 2024No Comments

We’re all in need of positive news about Aussie wine, particularly on the international stage where it would be too easy to focus on falling market share and value.

So I thought I’d share a story of consistent, dogged work that is now bearing fruit.

Thistledown began, almost as a reaction to our frustration that internationally, Australian wine was generally perceived as being too big, too ripe, too alcoholic and too oak to be paired with the finest foods served in the world’s best restaurants.

We knew that didn’t have to be the case and set about making more subtle, balanced, aromatic and energetic wines that would change people’s perceptions.

It just so happened that this vision coincided with an opportunity to put old vine Grenache on the map.

The intervening years have required huge amounts of work both in Australia and in international markets and have benefited from the decades long commitment made by our growers.

So, it’s especially rewarding, and a beacon for hope, that we are now finally reaching some of those original aims.

Disfrutar, a 3 Michelin starred restaurant in Barcelona rated as No2 in Europe has just started pouring our Thorny Devil Grenache by the glass.

Spain is the home of Grenache so this really is the ultimate ice to eskimos moment!

We’ve also got wine listed at Copehagen’s 3 Michelin starred Geranium which has also been the world’s best.

In my native Scotland, there is an array of Michelin starred restaurants pouring old vine Grenache and the story is mirrored across our now 24 markets.

Our story should provide some much needed belief that it can be done and that a more nuanced, sophisticated message, that recognises the great viticultural resources that we have but includes them in a story that is relevant to our customers, will find ears willing to listen.

I do wish that more effort and investment was spent on amplifying this message to relevant buyers than the current navel gazing approach that currently afflicts the industry and seems to be asking the same people that got us in to this mess, to get us out.

Why are businesses with a strong international focus and expertise not being asked for their ideas on how messaging should be approached?

I’m sure I’m not the only one confused and frustrated that, despite positive evidence to the contrary, we still seem to be pinning our hopes on strategies, messages and people that perhaps ought to be refreshed.

Photo: Giles Cooke MW with Bernard and Wayne Smart.

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