On 26 June Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) put out a media release announcing the launch of a new brand, Samuel Wynn & Co. I was incensed, not only by the use of such a great name on a brand that I think is not worthy of it, but also by other aspects of the release that I read, which contained misinformation.
I had to retract my comments, as it wasn’t TWE that had provided all the information in the version of the release that I read. Someone who should have known better had decided to pep up the TWE release.
I still think this is it an appalling use of a great name, but let’s move on. Let’s forgive the uneducated and uninformed person that decided to use Samuel Wynn’s name, and turn to a part of the official release:
“The first wines to be launched in Australia under Samuel Wynn & Co will be ‘The Man From Nowhere’ Shiraz 2016 (RRP: $18.99) and the ‘Last Rites’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (RRP: $18.99), which will be available in leading national and independent retailers from late June 2017.”
A retail price of $19 bottle is impressive for what I think is a wine made from predominantly inland irrigated fruit. One hopes the growers are benefiting; they could do with a lift in prices. Less than a month after all the TWE hoo-ha, the Samuel Wynn brand hits the shelves at Dan Murphy’s at $12.90 a bottle or $12.50 in any six.
TWE has wiped $6 off the price on launch. I would say the $19 price never existed. I think this is misleading the media, trade and consumer. How can anything TWE says be taken seriously? I know I, or The Key Report, can’t take it seriously, as we now have TWE branded as lying. Prove you weren’t, TWE. Prove you haven’t let the idiots take over the madhouse.
Staying on the mighty Murray, but moving east from South Australia to Victoria, the Peace family land holdings are about 1600 hectares, with 270 hectares planted to vineyard. The driving forces nowadays are Andrew and Melissa Peace, who crush about 28,000 tonnes and produce a selection of brands under their own name and a selection of own-label brands. The Peaces are hardworking and inventive people, having just come up with a coffee-infused cabernet sauvignon. This sounds weird, but after two years of trials they reckon they have got it nailed and have a commercial product to take to market. Weird to some is wonderful to others. TKR wishes them well and looks forward to tasting the wine one day.
History came to the fore this week in the form of a slender volume titled Four Fine Palates, by Simon Seward. It’s the story of four generations of the Seabrook family and their contribution to the Australian wine industry. The book ties in neatly with the Samuel Wynn story, not that of today, but when Samuel was interested in establishing himself in the wine industry. According to Iain Seabrook:
“My Grandfather, Tom Seabrook, used to lunch at the Florentino [owned by Samuel Wynn in the 1920s] regularly and as you know the restaurant is at the top of Bourke Street. At some stage Tom and Samuel Wynn got together and Sammy asked Tom how to establish himself in the wine business. From that point Wynns Wines became a force in Australia. Tom and later on, my father Doug, would always encourage whoever asked and was genuinely interested, to pursue the particular area of the wine business. This may include students, those wishing to establish vineyards and wineries or just how to purchase wine to lay down. I do remember this history and I would like to think that Seabrooks helped Wynns establish themselves and become highly successful.”
The book is full of famous names from that period that were responsible for establishing the industry as we know it. Names I only know via descendants’ sons and daughters, who are elderly themselves, or grandchildren who may or may not be involved in today’s industry.
It’s a short book but a vital one for those who are really interested in the history of Australian wine. It’s a must-read, containing information not available on Wikipedia. I strongly suggest wine companies and those genuinely interested in Australian wine buy some copies. Contact Iain Seabrook at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good reading, drinking and karma