Tag Archives: australia

Best article yet debunking the wine shortage myth

I know, I know. Other articles are usually reserved for my Sunday Read section, but this week, I posted photos for the Sunday Read, so give me a break. And I really, really liked this article.

Lots and lots has been said and written about the wine shortage predicted by Morgan Stanley a week or two ago. Many have come out since saying that that is not true. But this post by Felix Salmon explains in detail why it is not true, and how Morgan Stanley tweaked its chart and information to garner a headline. Most interesting thing he points out is that the report was written by Morgan Stanley Australia, and it touts a company named Treasury Wine Estates as its “top Australian consumer pick”. Which is helped by the fact that it predicts soaring demand for Australian wines…

This article is a great read, and it makes a passionate plea for looking behind shiny graphs and motivations behind reports by corporations and analysts, who usually have a business reason for predicting what they predict…

Felix Salmon: There is no global wine shortage

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Sunday Read: When More is Less

My not-so-secret-anymore-crush Jancis Robinson published an article in the Financial Times recently exploring the pricing of wines, and its correlation – or not – to quality. A rather obvious non-correlation in my book (and it looks like hers as well), but she still takes on the topic from the perspective of newly emerging wineries that decide to go high-end price-wise right away. Yes, I understand that wine is a product and products are up for sale and that clever marketing can work miracles for some producers…Jancis’ point, as I read it, is that we need more education, and more educated wine drinkers to find out the difference between price and quality, a lesson that is as true for America as it is for Europe and Asia.

By taking Asia as an emerging wine consumer market, this also plays on a theme that came up in the discussion to the Reuscher-Haart article I posted.  My friend Ernest pointed out that he had watched the movie Red Obsession which details China’s rise as a wine consuming country and how it is distorting prices. My comment was that this is what the US market had done to Italian and French wines since the late 1970s and most importantly the 1980s…that this phenomenon is not exactly new, it is just a repetition of how some US buyers, who through Reaganomics were able to amass huge piles of money, distorted the market by paying incredibly high prices…

Most importantly, this struck me, because it rings true of what some of my winemaker friends in the steep hills of the Mosel have told me before:

“The joke is that wine is not very expensive to make. Production costs of even the grandest red bordeaux are rarely more than €10 a bottle, €30 at most if the château is run on bank borrowings.”

10 Euros, mind you, is $13. Many German Rieslings which are grown and harvested under extreme geographical conditions are produced for less than that, because they sell for 10 Euros in Germany…that is including a 19% sales tax.

Have a great Sunday!!

Jancis Robinson: When more is less

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The Wine Raconteur: Torbreck “The Factor” 2001

Somewhere, beyond the Sea...on Zanzibar.

Somewhere, beyond the Sea…on Zanzibar. 

This is the eleventh installment of my summer 2013 guest blogging series with the theme “Somewhere, Beyond the Sea”. Let me briefly introduce today’s blogger, who was most generous in sharing an earlier post with us. John “The Wine Raconteur” was new to blogging, like me, when I stumbled on his writing. We both had started our blogs in May 2012. His was actually one of the first blogs I came across and followed. We have since interacted on numerous occasions and met in person. I consider him a friend. In his blog, The Wine Raconteur, he explores restaurants, foods and wines. For John, wine and food is about moments and memories, not scientific analyses or tasting notes. With this approach, he covers an under-appreciated side of wine and food writing. His undying curiosity and vast knowledge in wine as well as the combination of fresh and old memories keeps me coming back to his blog again and again. Thank you, John!

Torbreck “The Factor” 2001

“Somewhere, Beyond the Sea”

Torbreck "The Factor" 2001

Torbreck “The Factor” 2001

It is my honor and privilege to make another appearance on the pages of this popular wine blog.  My name is John and I write about wines as “The Wine Raconteur” and I am guest writing another article for my good friend Oliver at his request, while he and his wife are on holidays.  The word “raconteur” is an old way of saying a story teller, and most of my articles are woven around a memory and a wine, as I do believe that wine should be enjoyed and there should be a great memory of the occasion.   As I stated in my other guest article, Oliver gave me the theme of “Beyond, The Sea” and I have presumed that he meant that I write about a non-domestic (American) wine.   Since my last article was across the pond about a French wine Chateau Latour 1961 a famed wine from the Commune of Pauillac of the Medoc, I thought I would traverse the other body of water and discuss a wine from the Barossa Valley in South Australia, Australia.

I was managing a clothing store, that was popular at the time, and we had plenty of customers that not only enjoyed quality clothing, but also quality wines.  This was a major “pro” for the store, but unfortunately there were a few more “cons” to this establishment, but that is not germane to my story.  There were always some beverages on hand for the customers, and there were times when the customers brought in their selection to share as well.  One memorable day a customer brought in two different vintages of Opus One wine from Napa Valley, suffice it to say that it was a great day, but not business wise per se.  Let me just add, that one of my unlisted duties when I was hired was the ability to wash and maintain a collection of crystal wine glasses, as we had both stemmed and stem-less wine goblets for the customers.   Thankfully most of the customers that drank beer did not require a glass.  Sometimes there were discussions about wine and other subjects, with the least interest in adding to one’s wardrobe at the moment, but that was a rare time.  I have found that the subject of wine is a great “ice-breaker” when meeting new people and it is popular discussion point and that some people have very strong opinions of certain wines and areas.

As I sit here looking at a wooden box which is my temporary muse, that at one time held a magnum of wine this is another story.  The marketing of magnums especially in individual wooden wine boxes, I think is a great plus, while it may add a small cost to the total package, I do believe it proclaims to the customer that yes, this wine should be taken seriously.  The wine was a Torbreck “The Factor” 2001 from the Barossa Valley in South Australia.  Torbreck Vintners, the winery was founded by David Powell in 1994 and he signed the back label of the magnum near the numbering of number 195 out of a count of 240 magnums that were bottled of this wine.  Mr. Powell named his winery after the Torbreck forest in Scotland.  The wine “The Factor” was his homage to the great old Shiraz vines of the Barossa Valley and one of the mainstays of most of the wineries of this area.  The manager on a Highland estate is referred to as “The Factor,” hence the proprietary name.  This particular varietal grows well in several parts of the world, but I must say that Australia has been a big promoter of this type of wine, and now other areas have also had great results with it as well.  One of the reasons that this wine is so full and rich in flavor is that it spent twenty-four months in French Oak barrels with thirty percent of them being new.  This is not a wine that was made for quick consumption, as the nuances and traits of these old vines were allowed to mature in the barrels properly.  Torbreck Vintners also produces several other varietals as well as some other “named” wines.

As my regular readers know, I tend to soak off labels and store them in scrapbooks as an easy way to remember wines that I have enjoyed.  Also many other labels have become the “wallpaper” on a couple of walls in my cellar as well.  This particular set, alas though empty now, has been kept intact as a curio in my cellar and a great talking point.  I guess my collecting interest goes beyond just cellaring and drinking wines with good friends.

“We’ll meet, I know we’ll meet.  Beyond the shore.”

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