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Copyright © Ric Einstein 2009
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Current Articles 2009
Should it be Called Robert Parker’s Wine Hypocrite? (19 March)
This week article is, in some ways, a follow on to my last article (see below), but in some respects its completely different. One thing is for sure, Mr Miller and Mr Parker are not going to like what I have written. The Wine Advocate has more influence at the top end of the wine market than any other publication, and Parker has positioned himself as the champion who looks after wine consumers best interests. The front page of the print version of TWA makes some emphatic claims. But are those some of those claims just hyperbole? This article looks specifically at the actual tasting methodology, and the holes and shortcomings in the system, as well as the questions relating to the relationship between Miller and those in the business. This is a no holds barred story. It can be found here.
Jay Miller – The Wine Advocate on Oz Wines(5 March)
When The Australian wine category was hot in the US, people waited with bated breath for the release of the annual Australian Edition. Now, its not even the Australian edition. It kicks off with tasting notes from Bordeaux, the Southern Rhône, Spain, Austria; and then Australia, which represents about a third of the issue. The distributors and retailers phones are not ringing off the hook asking for the Oz wines; not even those at 97 points. Miller's introduction is titled, "AUSTRALIA 2009: Into The Abyss" and that about sums up the situation. Miller examines some of the reasons why the Australia segment found itself in this position, and whilst his comments are accurate, they conveniently miss one of the most most important parts of the picture. This article examines Millers comments and puts them into perspective, including the missing part; the influence of Robert Parker and The Wine Advocate. It can be found here.
More Shonky Wine Marketing(5 March)
All the top wine e-tailers have a few things in common, and using shonky marketing practices is not one of them, so its not surprising that Winelist Australia is not on the exalted list of highly respected online wine merchants. Any wine merchant that uses unattributed tasting notes, quoting tasting notes from highly questionable sources, and using notes that make a $10 red look look like its a top shelf, uber-premium wine, will always leave their credibility open to be questioned. This article doesn't just question it, it exposes, in detail, exactly how this e-tailer weaves their web. It can be found here.
A Titanic Wine Struggle (26 February)
Recently Fosters announced the findings of their in-depth examination of their wine business. Not to put to fine a point on it, Fosters paid way to much for Southcorp and then, in a text book case on what not to do, Fosters integrated Southcorp into their own business. The findings, whilst not surprising, are frank, but then they need to be. If you are not prepared to admit that you are on a sinking ship, it's hard to save it. This story examines some of the more pertinent findings, how they got into this unholy mess in the first place, and shows what a titanic job Fosters has ahead of itself in trying to turn the wine business around, before the damage they have sustained from the Southcorp Iceberg causes any more damage. It can be found here.
Two Tales of One Wine(19 February)
How can you write over 3,000 words about one wine, a wine that isn't even a classic or icon. In this case it was easy as this story takes an in-depth look at one wine that was sealed under both cork and screwcap, and the differences between them. It then looks at the possible reasons this wine won three trophies and four gold medals, when I, and a number of others, thought at best, it was worth the equivalent of a silver medal. Has there been jiggery pokery going on, or are their other reasons why this wine, to me, was way below trophy standard. Some of the answers and propositions, hopefully, will really make you think. It can be found here.
Problems and Solutions (5 February)
This is almost a continuation of the story below. It contains more background on why the Oz wine industry is facing challenging times, mostly from an industry perspective, as well as a couple of suggestions that may just be useful to the industry. But the big question is, does the industry have the leadership to get behind any concerted campaign at this time, or indeed at any time? The article can be found here.
Where To Now? (22 January)
The Australian wine industry is living in challenging times, and if anything, they will become even more challenging during 2009. This article examines how the industry got into its current position and where it is heading. It can be found here.